After winning their last four games, three of them on the road, the Kansas City Chiefs are set to host the Denver Broncos Thursday Night at Arrowhead. It’s a quick turnaround for the team, but facing an AFC West rival certainly has its benefits. Though Denver is struggling this year with a new coaching staff that hopes to wash away a disappointing season a year ago, the short week of preparation won’t affect Kansas City.
Familiarity with an opponent is always a benefit. In the case of Thursday’s Prime Time contest against division rival, Denver, the Kansas City Chiefs don’t care about the current 15-game winning streak over the Broncos, nor do they expect anything less than a dogfight with a division foe.
Last season the Broncos played two of their better games against the Chiefs. Both games were decided late in the fourth quarter with Kansas City winning both. Then again, a bounce of the ball in a different direction in either contest could have easily seen the Chiefs lose both.
In other words, Kansas City isn’t taking the Broncos lightly considering they’ve started the season with a 1-4 record. Adding further to the familiarity of one another and the battles these two always play out on the field, Kansas City will travel to Denver in two weeks for the rematch.
I said it before the season began, I have doubts Kansas City can win both games so close to one another. However, I’m confident, the Chiefs will be ready Thursday night for whatever the Broncos throw at them.
As the top seed in the AFC, the Chiefs have faced a trio of teams that have struggled this year. Dispatching the Chicago Bears at home and finding ways to defeat the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings on the road, shows the toughness and resiliency this Chiefs team possesses.
Further, it demonstrates how well they are coached, how diligently they prepare for games and the assortment of plays necessary to execute to win against lesser opponents.
Make no mistake about it the Broncos are just that, a lesser opponent. Quarterback Russell Wilson and new Head Coach, Sean Payton are trying to solve the complexities of their relationship and the new offensive scheme that Drew Brees ran so well when Payton was the Saints head coach.
For the most part, Wilson has been a big disappointment in Denver. He’s grossly overpaid, and many in league circles including me, believe he’s already played the best football of his career. Still, the man has won a Super Bowl, so he’ll always get the benefit of the doubt.
However, with a big contract in hand, the draft capital, and players it took to pry him away from Seattle, remain a black cloud over the struggling franchise.
With all the negatives, they can defeat the Chiefs on Thursday Night. It’s something Head Coach, Andy Reid understands as well. Though the winning streak is great for the fan base, this team doesn’t care about the number rising or ending, they just want to win the game.
For teams that are in desperation mode, and that is the position the Broncos find themselves in for their first match-up with the big dog in the division, they will either pull out all the stops to win or simply begin to dismantle the franchise and rebuild for the 2024 season after another disappointing loss.
Unless Denver goes on a massive win streak, what changes? The defensive mishaps that have led to their 1-4 record and the offense still in search of an identity their task is far greater in a short week that elevates them back to respectability.
After all, if not for a Chicago Bears second-half meltdown two weeks ago, this Broncos team could be winless entering their game with the Chiefs.
There’s always an extra element to the game when you play a division rival, but during this 15-game win streak, different individuals for the Chiefs have stepped up to make the big play to turn a loss into a win. The Chiefs have those players on both sides of the ball, the Broncos at this stage simply do not.