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Chiefs brace for the challenge of playing the Broncos twice in 18 days

On Wednesday, Kansas City’s Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones discussed playing Denver twice in 18 days.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

In Sunday’s Week 8 game, the Kansas City Chiefs will play the Denver Broncos for the second time in just 18 days. But despite the recency of their Week 6 matchup — in which Kansas City ground out a 19-8 victory over their divisional foe on “Thursday Night Football” — head coach Andy Reid says there is still plenty of work to do.

“We know the battle that we had with them,” Reid said of the Broncos on Wednesday, “and they’re a good football team. They’re coming off a big win against Green Bay — where they played well — and we’ve got to make sure that we get our work done these next few days here before we head up there. We started that today with the walkthrough — and we’ll keep building on that.”

While the Week 6 game wasn’t the Chiefs’ best offensive performance, they were able to generate just enough points to get the victory. But it wasn’t part of the plan; Reid denied holding anything back for the second matchup.

“You start saving things in this business,” declared the longtime NFL coach, “and you’ve got problems. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it: whatever stuff you have for the game, you put it out there and you go. [And] then [when] you play them again, you put your best stuff out there and go. That’s what I’ve always felt.”

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes knows how tough divisional opponents can be. Mahomes actually believes the extra familiarity from the recent game — the 12th win of his career against Denver — adds a new wrinkle to this one.

“Obviously, when you play a divisional opponent, you know each other already,” explained Mahomes. “You prepare against that team — and they prepare against you — all season. Then being able to play them two times in three weeks — a little less than that, honestly — it’s a challenge because there’s so much familiarity. They know what we want to do. We know what they want to do. Now how can each team execute at a high-enough level to have success?”

During that Week 6 game, the Chiefs’ offense struggled to find a rhythm against the Broncos’ defense. Although Mahomes finished with 306 yards of passing and one touchdown, he also threw an interception — and the offense struggled mightily on third downs, converting just four on 13 attempts. These poor third-down results led to Kansas City settling for four field goals.

“They did a great job against us with their defense this last game,” admitted Mahomes. “Now how can we adjust — I know they are going to make adjustments as well — and have success this next game?”

In the last matchup, Kansas City’s saving grace was its defense. The unit held the Broncos to 197 total yards (and just eight points), shutting them out for the first three quarters of the game. It also recorded four sacks — one of which was credited to defensive lineman Chris Jones.

Despite his success in the last matchup, Kansas City’s defensive captain knows not to underestimate a divisional rival — even if it has a 2-5 record.

“It gets harder,” said Jones. “The [other] team knows what you excel at — and [it] knows where you kind of had a problem with the first game.”

Jones believes the Broncos are dangerous not only because of quarterback Russell Wilson, but also because of their new head coach.

“I think they have a heck of a quarterback, an amazing coach — Sean Payton — and [a] great supporting staff around them.

“I think last year, they had one of the top defenses. A lot of guys on the defense still remain there, so I think this is a tough outing.

“This is a nice group [of players]. Unfortunately, their record doesn’t show that — but I think they’re still a great team.”

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