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Scouting the enemy: Kansas City Chiefs Rivalry games

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Scouting the enemy: Kansas City Chiefs Rivalry games
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Scouting the enemy: Kansas City Chiefs Rivalry games are always the best ones , especially due to the memories they create. Over the years, the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs have given fans of both franchises something to remember. The Chiefs dominated the Broncos in the 1960’s, but in every decade since the Broncos have had an advantage in the head-to-head series, albeit a slim one. Every Broncos fan knows about Steve Atwater’s hit on Christian Okoye. They will also never forget how Clinton Portis gashed them for over 200 yards and five touchdowns. It’s also well-established that most of Broncos Country despises Eddie Kennison for quitting on the team nearly two decades ago. Not to mention it’s always a blast to always remind the good folks loyal to the Chiefs that their franchise hasn’t won anything worth recognizing in nearly five decades.In the hundred plus gridiron battles the two teams have embarked on, there certainly hasn’t been a lack of fireworks — and I would expect no differently in tonight’s match-up on Monday Night Football with an early lead in the AFC West on the line. But the truth of the matter is, the Chiefs have had the Broncos’ number for the past several seasons. Dating back to 2015, they have reeled off five-straight wins which is a streak Denver hopes to end tonight in front of a roaring hometown crowd. However, it will be tough task, as the Chiefs are one of the best teams in the league and have shown early on they are contenders.Chiefs Kingdom has rejoiced knowing the dink-and-dunk days of Alex Smith are over and are giddy about the advent of the Patrick Mahomes Era. The second-year gunslinger has taken the league by storm leading the Chiefs’ offense to its most successful heights in nearly fifteen years. Most certainly, he is an early favorite for Offensive MVP honors for his play to date. In three games, Mahomes has thrown for 896 yards and 13 touchdowns with zero interceptions. Teams have only sacked him four times, which is a testament to their offensive line’s quality play and his ability to get the ball out fast.Without question, their offense is loaded with extremely talented and dangerous skill position players. Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt are still the most well-known weapons on offense, but the addition of wide receiver Sammy Watkins has proven to be a significant boon for their franchise. Those four players have the ability to take it to the house any time they touch the ball, so the Broncos’ defense needs to be at their best if they want a shot at winning tonight’s prime time affair.This year’s Chiefs squad reminds me of several incarnations they had in the early 2000’s, when their offense featured Trent Green, Priest Holmes, Tony Gonzalez, Dante Hall and the aforementioned Kennison. Those teams were incredibly productive on offense with everyone getting a slice of the pie, but the overall success of those teams were hampered by poor defenses. Oddly enough, that happens to be the most significant concern the Chiefs have in 2018. Quite frankly Cheap Denver Broncos T-Shirt , their defense hasn’t been able to stop anybody, which is the major silver-lining giving Broncos Country some modicum of hope in respect to the game.Can the Broncos get back on track and defeat the Chiefs this evening? Most definitely, but it’s going to take their best effort of the season to make that happen. Here are some of my keys to the game which I believe are critical for any aspirations of ending the night with a victory.Keys to the GameWho will keep Travis Kelce in check?I’m beginning to sound like a broken record constantly harping on the Broncos’ inability to cover tight ends successfully, but this week they are going up against an All-Pro in Kelce, who has destroyed the Broncos in recent memory. They have weapons galore, but nobody has had the type of success against the Broncos’ defense like Kelce has — therefore he is the player on the Chiefs I’m the most worried about. In the last three games versus the Broncos, Kelce has been on fire and has hauled in 26 receptions for 394 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Broncos’ secondary and linebackers have to find a way to limit his impact, because if they don’t, the game might could into a Mile High blowout relatively quickly.Offensive efficiency and establishing the runSometimes the best defense is a good offense. As I wrote about several days ago, one way the Broncos can limit the offensive assault of the Chiefs is to keep Patrick Mahomes and his multitude of weapons off the field. That starts by having a ground first rushing attack that is efficient and helps control the pace of the game, and also allows to defense to be as fresh as possible.The Chiefs’ defense is one of the worst in the league and allows more than five yards per carry. With that in mind, tonight would be a prime opportunity to showcase rookies Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay to a national audience. Run it early and run it often. Not only that, but the Broncos can’t afford to mismanage drives or turn the ball over. They need to be efficient — that means touchdowns on a consistent basis, not settling for field goals or even worse — turning the ball over.Put the pressure on Patrick MahomesAs my colleague Adam Malnati mentioned, one significant key to this week’s game is the Broncos’ defensive line and their pass rushers getting to Patrick Mahomes. As noted earlier, the Chiefs’ offensive line has done a tremendous job protecting the second-year signal caller and have only allowed four sacks on the year. Mahomes isn’t a scrambler by any means, but has top-level talent at extending broken down plays and making things happen when virtually all hope seems lost.Putting pressure on Mahomes is paramount. If the Broncos want to win tonight, the defense needs to dial up some creative blitzes and force the quarterback into some questionable decisions. If the Broncos can get a turnover or two by doing so, their chances at victory will tick up a bit higher.Hart’s PredictionThe Chiefs boast the league’s most potent offense, yet have a defense that has struggled significantly through three games. On the flip-side, the Broncos have an offense capable of great achievement, but have failed to reach their potential due to self-inflicted wounds via turnovers or costly penalties. Can the Broncos’ offense get back on track? Tonight’s game provides them with a prime opportunity to do so — and it’s a task I believe they will rise to.However Cheap Denver Broncos Hats , if the team were to struggle against one of the league’s worst defenses, that would be a tremendous setback not only this week, but moving forward as well.The major aspect of this game comes down to whether or not the Broncos’ defense can limit the offensive onslaught the Chiefs have battered their opponents with all season long. The Frequent Fly Zone will have to perform much better than they have early on this season for the Broncos to have a legitimate shot at winning. While I hope for the best, tonight’s affair concerns me given Denver’s questionable depth and injury concerns at cornerback. In the end, I expect a shootout, but I don’t believe it’s going to be one where Denver comes out on top.Chiefs 34, Broncos 27. Patrick Mahomes finally experienced some adversity on Monday night in Denver, when the offense had grown stagnant and the Chiefs trailed by 10 points with about 12 minutes to go.He answered with a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback.There was the grinding, 12-play, 75-yard drive that Mahomes capped with a short touchdown toss to Travis Kelce to give Kansas City a chance.Then, there was the audacious left-handed throw while Von Miller was bearing down on him during the go-ahead drive, which Kareem Hunt capped with a touchdown run in the final minutes to give the Chiefs a dramatic 27-23 victory."I didn't think at all. I was just kind of scrambling to my left, I felt Von on my back and I knew I couldn't throw it with my right hand," Mahomes said. "I knew we needed a first down, so I kind of shot-putted it to Tyreek (Hill), he got the first down and made a great play."Sure, his wide receiver made a great play.But Mahomes had made a spectacular one.It was the first time he'd truly faced adversity — the Chiefs had jumped out to early leads in each of their first three games, giving Mahomes a certain level of comfort. And while he rallied them to victory in his Week 17 start in Denver a year ago, there was nothing on the line that day.This was different in several ways.The Chiefs' dynamic offense had been held in check all night, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins had gone down with a hamstring injury, depriving Mahomes of one of his top options.Throw in the tough road environment and the fact that the Broncos could have forged a tie atop the AFC West with a victory, and that's some heady stuff for Mahomes to deal with."He's a confident kid. He was confident before that Cheap Denver Broncos Hoodie ," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "He's not going to get overconfident from it. I think it tells you, it tells everyone: You're within striking distance you have the opportunity to make plays. The guys around him made plays too. This wasn't just Patrick."But it was Mahomes who was getting most of the credit Tuesday for his late-game heroics."He's pretty fast. He'll run all day, buy time and especially to the right, deep," Miller marveled after the game. "I'm talking like, 20 yards deep, and then he'll throw the ball 40 yards. He's a great quarterback. He did a great job tonight."Mahomes' ability to extend plays while constantly looking downfield may have been the biggest reason the Chiefs managed to rally late.In fact, the length of time he made Denver's defensive backs work in coverage left cornerback Chris Harris Jr. downright exhausted."He made us cover for a long time. I had to go inside and get an IV. I had to get two IVs and I was just done," Harris said. "Just playing those extra times, he made us scramble in coverage the whole game. We couldn't sack this man. He's a hell of a player. He's a hell of a quarterback. He made plays with his feet and I can't wait to play him again."Well, the Jaguars' stingy defense gets that treat next when it visits Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.Already, the Chiefs could be facing some adversity when they play just their second home game this season. Kelce got banged up against Denver, and Watkins and pass rusher Dee Ford (groin) did not return to the game after leaving with injuries.All three of them have been crucial to the Chiefs' early season success."We just keep on battling, man. NFL football, there's going to be a lot of games that come down to the end," cornerback Kendall Fuller said. "So each drive, you've got to be locked in. Each play, locked in. You've just go to keep on finishing."Notes: Reid said during a conference call Tuesday he's confident in Demarcus Robinson filling in should Watkins be unavailable this week. Robinson had two catches for 31 yards against Denver. "D-Rob had a couple nice catches and actually had a chance for another, a touchdown," Reid said.


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