How The Broncos Can Upset The Chiefs on Thursday Night Football
The thought of the Denver Broncos upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football seemed unfathomable just two weeks.
But with Kansas City (4-2) coming off back-to-back losses and the Broncos (2-4) off back-to-back wins, could an upset be in store?
Vegas has the Chiefs as road favorites. Kansas City has beaten Denver seven straight times in the AFC West rivalry.
However, the Broncos head into the home game with some optimism and a newfound blueprint on how to beat the vaunted Chiefs.
Kansas City has already ruled out five key players due to injury — wide receiver Sammy Watkins, cornerback Kendall Fuller, defensive tackle Chris Jones, offensive tackle Eric Fisher and guard Andrew Wylie.
The Chiefs own the league's third-worst rushing defense and have been gashed for a combined 372 total rushing yards in its back-to-back losses. A Denver upset would likely come through the ground game of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman controlling the clock.
While the Broncos defense failed to record a turnover during its four-game losing streak to open the season, the unit has recorded six total turnovers in the current winning streak.
Vic Fangio's defense has also come to life with 12 sacks over the past three weeks — it would go a long way if the defense could keep up that pressure Thursday. The Chiefs allowed five sacks in their loss to the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago.
The biggest key to a Denver upset will be slowing Kansas City's top-ranked passing offense.
While Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes has yet to be tamed by Denver, each of his three career games against the Broncos has been decided a touchdown or less. Denver will counter the reigning MVP with the league's fourth-ranked passing defense.
HOW THE BRONCOS & CHIEFS STACK UP
When The Broncos Pass The Ball: Denver offense averages 220.2 passing yards per game (23rd in NFL) vs. Kansas City defense 244.3 average passing yards per game (19th in NFL).
When The Chiefs Pass The Ball: Kansas City offense averages 339.3 passing yards per game (1st in NFL) vs. Denver defense 196.0 passing yards per game (4th in NFL).
When Broncos Run The Ball: Denver offense averages 116.0 rushing yards per game (14th in the NFL) vs. Kansas City defense averages 161.8 rushing yards per game (30th in the NFL).
When Chiefs Run The Ball: Kansas City offense averages 82.7 rushing yards per game (24th in NFL) vs. Denver defense averages 111.8 rushing yards per game (18th in the NFL).