For Week 17’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals, every one of Arrowhead Pride’s contributors picked Kansas City to win — and only a third of them thought the game would be close. So our aggregate prediction of a 33-23 Chiefs victory was 26 points removed from the team’s 34-31 loss to the Bengals. Our readers largely agreed — although to their credit, 7% foresaw a close loss in Cincinnati.
For the final week of the regular season, the Chiefs are traveling to Colorado, where they will play the Denver Broncos in a game that has been rescheduled to Saturday. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kansas City is favored by 11 points. Let’s see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
The Chiefs can win (and most likely will) win if the offense can carry on from where they left off. This game will be a good measuring stick of where the Kansas City offense is in their return to form — especially considering the struggles that the Chiefs previously had against Denver. Either way, I highly doubt it matters — because the Broncos aren’t scoring many points. Chiefs 27, Broncos 10
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
It would be easy to just take the point spread in this game, but the usual rule for division games still applies: anything can happen. I also think the Broncos would like nothing better than to ruin Kansas City’s chance for the AFC’s first seed — and break the Chiefs’ 12-game winning streak against them. But I also think that after Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Chiefs players will be well-motivated to make a statement. Chiefs 27, Broncos 20
Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)
Against the Bengals, the Chiefs had one slip through their fingers — but that won’t be happening against the Broncos, who have already been eliminated from playoff contention. Since their season is over after Week 18, Denver could be resting some guys to avoid injuries. Kansas City still has an outside shot at the top seed in the AFC playoffs — but first, they have to take care of business in the Mile High City. Chiefs 31, Broncos 14
Kristian Gumminger (@kgumminger)
The NFL added an extra game to the season — but that doesn’t mean that it added extra motivation to the schedule. The Broncos will be hoping to end their season without embarrassment or injury — while the Chiefs will want to secure the win and stay healthy, remembering that in the past couple of seasons, they had major injuries to Juan Thornhill and Willie Gay Jr. in the season’s final week. Mahomes and the offensive unit come out fast and try to put the game away by halftime, going into the locker room leading 17-3. Mahomes gets another drive to start the third quarter before putting on the visor and enjoying the rest of the game on the sidelines. The second half is bad football and time-wasting. Chiefs 24, Broncos 17
Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)
After Sunday’s crushing loss, I fully expect the Chiefs to come into this game with a business-like mentality. This Denver team just isn’t very good — and they haven’t beaten the Chiefs in six years. With a win on Saturday, all the pressure will be on the Titans to secure AFC’s first playoff seed. This will be a perfect tune-up game before the Chiefs attempt to reach the Super Bowl for a third consecutive year. Chiefs 31, Broncos 13
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
As disappointed as you are that the Chiefs dropped the ball while attempting to secure the one seed against the Bengals, the team’s feelings are double or triple yours. They didn’t want to lose that game — and the potential for missing out on the bye week has to tick off some of the veterans who could have used it. That’s why I think we’ll see a focused team fly out of the gates on Saturday, building a big lead on a very banged up, playoff-eliminated Broncos team before retiring to the bench early in the second half — and hoping that Sunday’s results go their way. Even if they don’t, it’ll be a confidence-building performance for both sides of the ball heading into the playoffs. Chiefs 34, Broncos 14
Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)
There is no getting around it: Sunday’s game was a disappointment. The Chiefs are still in the hunt for the AFC’s first seed — but beyond that, they don’t want to head into the playoffs on a two-game losing streak. Kansas City needs to come out clicking on all cylinders. Just like the Bengals, the Broncos have an elite group of wide receivers: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick. The difference is that Drew Lock is no Joe Burrow. Under pressure, Lock has shown a tendency to make questionable throws and turn the ball over — so on Saturday, the Chiefs' front four needs to dominate the Broncos' offensive line. I have a feeling that in this one, the Chiefs will jump out to an early lead. Then — led by Darrell Williams, who is on the verge of securing his first thousand-yard season from scrimmage — they’ll lean heavily on their running game to take us down the home stretch. Chiefs 27, Broncos 13
Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)
This Week 18 matchup against the Broncos has huge implications — and is a must-win for the Chiefs; we all know the Tennessee Titans need to lose in order for Kansas City to retake the AFC’s first seed. The Chiefs also need to make this a statement win to gain momentum into the first round of the playoffs - and what better way to do it than against the defeated Broncos? With all the yards it gave up against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, I can see the Kansas City defense playing mad. factor in that Chris Jones needs one more sack for his bonus incentive and it’s a recipe for disaster for the Broncos. Kansas City should be able to get out in front early — and up by three scores before halftime — so Patrick Mahomes and most of the starters can rest. Chiefs 37, Broncos 10
Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)
Against a very familiar foe — and with the AFC’s first seed still a slight possibility — the Chiefs will deliver a dominant performance. If nothing else, Kansas City will take this opportunity to build some momentum going into the playoffs. This game will likely play out much like the Dallas Cowboys game. The Chiefs will take advantage of some early mistakes by Drew Lock — who is trying to work through an injury to his throwing shoulder — and once a lead is built, Kansas City will attempt to shorten this game by playing smart defense and running the ball. Likely facing a playoff game next weekend, the Chiefs will try to take care of this one in the most efficient way possible. Chiefs 24, Broncos 10
Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)
The Chiefs have won 12 games in a row against the Denver Broncos — and that streak continues against Drew Lock. After last week’s performance against the Bengals, Kansas City will be motivated — and the only chance they have at a first-round bye is taking care of business in Denver. In the regular-season finale, the Chiefs won’t mess around. Chiefs 27, Broncos 13
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
This should have been a game that didn’t matter at all — and it almost was. But alas, the Chiefs are heading into Denver with plenty on the line. The Broncos won’t make the playoffs — and they’re missing one of their quarterbacks and two of their cornerbacks. This should be a chance for the Chiefs to take care of business, get tuned up for the playoffs and get some of their depth players some work. It might make sense for Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill to have smaller roles — or even sit out much of the game —to allow Byron Pringle, Derrick Gore, Mecole Hardman (and others) to get some more reps and show they can be consistent in their roles. As he’s one sack away from an extra payday, Chris Jones will be motivated to get to the quarterback — and the defense will want to prove that last week was a bit of a fluke. This game should be over by halftime. Chiefs 42, Broncos 17
Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)
Regular season finales are tricky. Against teams like the Broncos — who will be finished after Saturday’s game — it seems like they either give you a really strong effort that makes for a tough game, or they totally roll over so they can pack it in early. For Kansas City, escaping with the win — and avoiding serious injury — are just the only things for which you can ask. Hopefully they can build up a lead and get some critical players rest in the second half. I think Andy Reid will want to run the football a lot, keeping the scheme simple and challenging the Denver defense to play a physical game — which they almost certainly won’t want to do. On the other side, it’s a great opportunity for the Kansas City defense to regain some confidence against Denver quarterback Drew Lock. Chiefs 27, Broncos 10
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
After a disappointing game on Sunday, the Chiefs have a get-right game against the Broncos to close their season. The Broncos know what this game is — they added three players to injured reserve Wednesday and won’t take any chances — and I expect them to show added caution when it comes to other key players for 2022. It would be nice for the Chiefs to not only win the game handily, but also show four-quarter efficiency as they head into the postseason. In two wins against the Las Vegas Raiders and one against the Pittsburgh Steelers, there have been glimpses of that — and it would be good to see it again as the team is likely headed towards a Wild Card Weekend game. Patrick Mahomes (obviously) outduels Drew Lock — and the Chiefs feel good about themselves heading into a tough matchup next week. Chiefs 31, Broncos 10
Ethan Willinger (@ecwillinger)
There are reasons to believe Saturday’s game will be close. Despite having little left to play for this season, the Broncos could remain tough against a divisional rival. But if they have a comfortable lead, the Chiefs could also take their foot off the gas. Yet after an underwhelming second-half performance by the Kansas City offense against Cincinnati — and an even worse game by the defense — I expect the Chiefs to prioritize putting forth multiple quarters of efficient football. Patrick Mahomes and the offense face a depleted Denver secondary, while Chris Jones and the defense square off against second-string quarterback Drew Lock — whom the Chiefs have intercepted five times in his three starts against them. The game plan may be conservative, but I expect Kansas City to remain diligent and execute into the second half. Chiefs 31, Broncos 10
Who wins Chiefs (11-5) at Broncos (7-9)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
Chiefs in a close game (7 or fewer points)
Broncos in a close game
Broncos in an easy win
Broncos in a blowout
|14||14||Ron Kopp Jr.||9||7||0.5625||36.0|
Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.
In Week 17, AP staffer Rocky Magaña’s call for a 38-34 Kansas City victory came the closest, carrying 14 points of error. His second win of the season moved him into fifth place in the season standings. Kristian Gumminger and Stephen Serda tied for second place. Their 30-24 and 34-27 predictions both missed by 20 points.