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The 6-5 Denver Broncos are on the AFC wildcard playoff bubble after taking care of the favored LA Chargers, 28-13, and now the challenge gets even bigger for QB Teddy Bridgewater (shin) who must figure out how to stay healthy and outscore the Chiefs, a job he’ll get plenty of help with from his team’s 9th ranked defense starring playmaking LB Bradley Chubb.
The Kansas City Chiefs are back, now 7-4 and on a four game winning streak after a scary 3-4 start to their season, but lately QB Patrick Mahomes, who has already thrown double-digit interceptions, is following head coach Andy Reid’s simple game plan which is to take what the defense is giving them instead of forcing the big plays, a recipe that could help them win here.
These two AFC rivals have faced each other 122 prior times (including 1 postseason game), with the Kansas City Chiefs winning 67 of those games and the Denver Broncos winning 55 of the games.
The Chiefs’ defense has noticeably improved lately, but after a slow start to the season they are ranked 23rd in the league and that is something that Denver’s 20th ranked offense led by QB Teddy Bridgewater will most likely attempt to take advantage of all game.
The Broncos post an average of almost 340 yards of total offense per game, with 223 of that coming from Bridgewater’s passing attack and 115 of it coming from the run game, a combination that has equated into almost 21 points on the scoreboard each game.
So watch for WRs Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy to have big games with Bridgewater’s help, and if rookie running back Javonte Williams and veteran Melvin Gordon can be effective out of the backfield, the combination of that air and ground attack could take the Chiefs by surprise.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw eight of his eleven interceptions in the first eight games of the season and only three in the five games since, so he is apparently figuring out that defenses were counting on him forcing the big plays and were taking advantage of his forced passes.
Mahomes and his Chiefs are 5-1 in their last six games and are currently on a four-game win streak, so whatever adjustments that he and coach Reid have made have obviously worked, the main one being to throw simpler passes when the defense gives them to you and win that way.
The Broncos’ 9th ranked defense is slightly better at stopping the pass than they are the run, so Mahomes must watch how they play him in the box and use WRs Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce only when they’re left in single coverage and let RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire do the rest.
This is Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s seventh NFL season and his fourth team in that time, the journeyman veteran with a 32-28 career record as a starter now tasked with the job of getting this 6-5 Broncos team into the postseason.
Tough ask against these Chiefs, but they are beatable, and Bridgewater has the talent when healthy to do it, though he has been nursing an injured shin of late, so his mobility is bound to be affected even if his accuracy (69.7 completion percentage) has not been.
This year Bridgewater has completed 233 passes for 2,518 yards and 15 TDs and 5 INTs, and at times he looks like the franchise player that the Vikings once thought he could be, so watch for how he plays against this Chiefs team to see if he could be that QB answer in Denver.
Last season as a rookie, Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was incredible, the dual-threat posting 1,100 total yards from scrimmage off 217 touches for five touchdowns, production that had heads turning and head coach Andy Reid and Chief fans frothing at the mouth.
Edwards-Helaire has been hampered by a knee injury he suffered in the team’s October 10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, and he missed playing from Week 6 through Week 10 and his absence was felt by the offense and the team in general.
In Week 11 Edwards-Helaire returned to the field and carried the ball 12 times for 63 yards and a touchdown while making 2 catches for another 13 yards, a big factor in this Week 13 matchup as he will force the Broncos’ defense to split their attention between him and Mahomes.
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|Broncos vs Chiefs Information
|Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs
|Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO
|Sunday, December 5, 2021; 8:20 PM ET
|How to watch
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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