When the Broncos (6-5) travel to face the Chiefs (7-4) in the penultimate game of Week 13 on “Sunday Night Football” (8:20 pm ET, NBC), they will look to make the tight AFC race. of the West is a tie. Kansas City entered the week with a one-game lead over Denver, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The Chiefs have gotten over their early defensive woes and offensive setbacks in the middle of the season with Patrick Mahomes. They hope to get fully back on track to take over the AFC down the stretch with their eyes looking far beyond the division, toward a third straight trip to the Super Bowl.
Kansas City lost to Los Angeles but beat Las Vegas in the first few games. Taking care of the Broncos will be key for the Chiefs to create some separation. Mahomes will duel Teddy Bridgewater, who has relied heavily on his running game and defense to win games.
Here’s how Sporting News sees the whole showdown unfolding in prime time:
Chiefs vs Broncos odds for Sunday Night Football
- Spread: Heads by 9.5
- Below: 47.5
- Moneyine: Broncos +350, Bosses -250
The Chiefs have been floating close to double-digit favorites from the opening lines. That’s a pretty big spread for “SNF,” especially for a flexible game the latter of the season. The Broncos are coming off a good win against the Chargers, but the mystique surrounding Andy Reid’s success after goodbye is great.
(Betting Odds by FanDuel Sportsbook)
Chiefs vs. Broncos all-time series
The Chiefs lead the long-standing rivalry 67-55. Mahomes is 7-0 against the Broncos. He’s started an 11-game winning streak overall for Kansas City, incredible in the same division. The Broncos last won in September 2015, at Arrowhead Stadium. That’s the season Denver won the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning.
Three trends to know
—53 percent of spread bettors prefer that the Chiefs take care of their huge number at home, given the history of bye and the Chiefs’ recent overall dominance over the Broncos.
—62 percent of bettors over or under the limits believe that the total of less than 50 points is too high despite how the Chiefs can pass and the Broncos can run.
—The Broncos are 5-5 against the spread and 5-5 directly against the spread in their last 10 games with the total exceeded in just two of those games. The Chiefs are 4-6 ATS at 6-4 SU with just four of those 10 games going.
Three things to see
How long will the Chiefs run with the ball?
Denver’s defense is No. 12 against the run. But the Chiefs should feel more confident in their rushing attack with their healthy offensive line and Clyde Edwards-Helaire ready for plenty of second-half touches. They need to correct the need for balance from week to week and that will take a lot of pressure off Mahomes as gains in the passing game will come over time.
How much will the Broncos spend the ball?
Kansas City’s defense is 24th against the pass. But the Broncos tend to get too conservative with Bridgewater, hoping to run to score and win with veteran Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams. While it has worked against minor teams or when it all fell into the game’s script, they have weapons that cause problems for wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick and tight end Noah Fant. Bridgewater, battling a shin injury, must have a great game for the Broncos to have thoughts of a big surprise.
Which Mahomes will appear?
Mahomes has endured the first crisis of his young career in terms of not feeling or looking like himself as a passer. But you need to remember that your star was born when he started against the Broncos first and then led a big comeback against the same team during his MVP appearance. Expect Mahomes to face his highest level as he comes out of a necessary mental break.
Statistics that matter
19-3 and 7-1. The first is Reid’s overall training record in games played after his team’s bye week. The second number is specific to what he has done with the Chiefs. Reid says there is no secret or magic formula for success, but that downplays how organized, prepared and adjusted he and his staff are from game to game, season to season, first half to second. half. The Chiefs aren’t afraid to make key changes in personnel or philosophy to get better results.
Chiefs vs Broncos Prediction
The Broncos on paper should have more offensive firepower with Bridgewater, but they can’t keep their receivers engaged enough to win a shootout like this. They will expect Gordon and Williams to perform well with help to stay close with ball control and that their defense can continue the performance that contains Justin Herbert and the Chargers. The Chiefs, however, can complicate things at Bridgewater and will adjust to take advantage of the correct gaps in the Broncos’ coverage. Mahomes is unwilling to give up to Denver when his team needs to beat that opponent more.
Chiefs 31, Broncos 23