Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos: Predictions and Odds (NFL Week 7)
This game goes to the Kansas City Chiefs – because no matter how tough the Broncos are starting to look, it’s too tough to bet against Mahomes and Hill back together again.
How to Watch: Chiefs vs Broncos
What: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
When: Thursday Night Football, October 17 at 8:20 pm ET
Where: Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado
How (TV): NFLN
Chiefs vs Browns – Latest Point Spread
Chiefs -3.5, Broncos +3.5
The AFC West is getting interesting these days, with the 4-2 Kansas City Chiefs coming off a scary two-loss run, while the 2-4 Denver Broncos have been victorious in only their last two outings.
This divisional race comes to a head on Sunday when a slightly banged up Patrick Mahomes (ankle) and his hungry Chiefs travel to the higher altitude of Denver to hopefully beat up the Broncos, but their defense is superior and their Joe Flacco led offense is starting to come together.
Both teams could use a win here to solidify their position in the division, so we take a quick look at how they have set themselves up for Week 7.
The 4-2-0 Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have lost two in a row at home in Arrowhead so they must be happy to get on the road and out of dodge to play in Denver, where the air is as thin as (hopefully) the competition because Kansas City could really use a dominant win right about now.
Last year’s league MVP Patrick Mahomes is still looking special – he completed 19-of-35 for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Chiefs’ loss to the Houston Texans in Week 6 – but his sore ankle has been slowing him down to wear he finally threw his first interception of 2019.
The good news is receiver Tyreek Hill is back in the Kansas City lineup (did you see him fight and win for that touchdown pass in Week 6?) but the bad news is their defense is still bottom of the barrel, so it will be up for Mahomes’ offense to keep their guns-a-blazin’ against a powerful Broncos’ defense if they expect to come out on top this Sunday.
Be sure to also check out the Kansas City Chiefs Biggest Offseason Moves
The 2-4-0 Denver Broncos
Just when everybody gave up hope on the Joe Flacco reclamation project, the former Super Bowl Champion and Baltimore Raven turned John Elway hopeful started winning football games with his new Denver Broncos and suddenly they are starting to look a bit interesting.
Receivers Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders are solid enough targets for Flacco, while running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman have been doing well establishing a 14th ranked rushing attack.
The real jewel in the Broncos’ cap is their defense, ranked 4th overall right now, but injuries could hurt them on that side of the ball this Sunday, especially with fierce linebacker Bradley Chubb (knee – ACL) now on injured reserve and out for the foreseeable future.
Want more on the Broncos? Check out this article on the Denver Broncos Biggest Offseason Moves
What’s at Stake for Chiefs vs Broncos?
These two teams have met 118 total times (including 1 postseason game), with Denver winning 55 of those times and Kansas City winning the other 63 games.
The last time these two teams played was in October of last season, when the Chiefs beat the Broncos by a touchdown, 30-23, in Kansas City.
If the Chiefs win this matchup, they’ll move to 5-2-0 and stay atop the AFC West by at least a game over the Oakland Raiders, who are going into Week 7 with a 3-2 record.
But if the Broncos come out winners in this one, they’ll be 3-4 and stay within a game of the Chiefs in the AFC West, a sure sign that this Denver team is finally beginning to gel.
Questions to Answer
Who’s favored to win this Week 7 Chiefs-Broncos matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Chiefs and the Broncos next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Offensive Stats Comparison
Kansas City Chiefs Overall Offense
- Ranked 1st overall in 2018
- Ranked 3rd overall in 2019
Passing attack: The Kansas City Chiefs have the number one ranked passing offense in the league right now, averaging a whopping 339.3 yards per game through the air after six weeks.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is currently ranked the most productive passer in the league having completed 147-of-230 passes for 2,104 yards and 14 touchdowns with just 1 interception and a completion percentage of 63.9.
The Chiefs’ leading receiver after six weeks is tight end Travis Kelce, who is currently 7th in the league with 32 catches for 497 yards and 1 touchdown, but give a healthy Tyreek Hill just a few weeks on the field to eventually catch up to that kind of production.
Be sure to check out our article covering most NFL passing yards!
Rushing attack: The Chiefs’ rushing attack is ranked 24th in the NFL after averaging 82.7 yards on the ground per game.
LeSean “Shady” McCoy is the Chiefs’ best runner and he is currently the 26th best in the NFL with 48 carries for 258 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
Kansas City has scored 172 total points this season, or 28.7 per game, which is the 4th best total in the NFL.
Kansas City Offensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 7: offensive guards Cameron Erving (groin) and Andrew Wylie (ankle) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring).
Injury notes: offensive tackle Eric Fisher (groin) is listed as out, while quarterback Chad Henne (ankle), wide receivers Felton Davis (shoulder), Davon Grayson (knee) and Marcus Kemp (knee) and tight end David Wells (undisclosed), offensive tackle Andrew Wylie (ankle), fullback John Lovett (shoulder) and quarterback Chad Henne (ankle) have been placed on injured reserve.
Denver Broncos Overall Offense
- Ranked 19th overall in 2018
- Ranked 25th overall in 2019
Passing attack: Denver has the 23rd best passing attack in the league right now after averaging 220.2 yards through the air each game.
Quarterback Joe Flacco is the 17th best passer right now after completing 130-of-196 passes for 1,435 yards and 6 touchdowns with 5 interceptions and a completion percentage of 66.3.
The Broncos’ best receiver is currently Courtland Sutton, who has caught 30 passes for 477 yards with 3 touchdowns in six weeks, ranked 9th among NFL receivers.
Rushing attack: Denver has the 14th ranked rushing attack, so far averaging 116.0 rushing yards per game.
Phillip Lindsay is the Broncos’ best runner and now he is the 13th most productive in the NFL with 84 carries for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
Denver has scored 106 points in 2019, averaging 17.7 per game, which is the 24th highest average in the NFL right now.
Denver Offensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 7: wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (knee), offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee) and offensive guard Ron Leary (shoulder).
Injury notes: quarterback Drew Lock (thumb), running back Theo Riddick (shoulder), wide receiver Tim Patrick (hand), tight ends Jake Butt (knee) and Austin Fort (knee – ACL) and center Nico Falah (Achilles) have been placed on injured reserve.
As long as Patrick Mahomes can stand (and even with a sore ankle he can do way more than that), the Kansas City Chiefs have the offensive advantage, especially when you throw deep threat receiver Tyreek Hill into the mix.
Defensive Stats Comparison
Kansas City Chiefs Overall Defense
- Ranked 31st overall in 2018
- Ranked 27th overall in 2019
Pass coverage: The Chiefs have the 19th best pass defense in 2019 so far, allowing opponents to throw for 244.3 yards through the air per game.
Kansas City’s defense has 6 team picks and they have 11 sacks total.
Run coverage: The Chiefs are the 30th best NFL team against the run right now (or 3rd worst) after allowing opponents to run for 161.8 yards per game.
Kansas City has allowed their opponents to score 144 total points, or 24 per game, which is 21st lowest in the NFL right now.
Chiefs Defensive Players to Watch
The best tackler on the Chiefs so far this season is outside linebacker Damien Wilson, who has 40 of them (1 for a loss), half a sack plus a quarterback hit and a forced fumble.
Big Chris Jones is a Chief worth looking for, the defensive end so far with a couple of sacks and recovered fumble along with 11 tackles (2 for a loss).
Roaming the Kansas City secondary is talented cornerback Charvarius Ward, who already has 2 interceptions, 6 passes defended, a forced fumble and 36 total tackles.
Chiefs Defensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 7: cornerback Kendall Fuller (thumb), linebackers Anthony Hitchens (groin) and Dorian O’Daniel (hamstring), defensive tackles Chris Jones (groin) and Derrick Nnadi (elbow).
Injury notes: defensive end Tim Ward (knee – ACL) and linebacker Darius Harris (undisclosed) are listed as NFI and defensive tackle Chris Jones is listed as doubtful, while defensive end Breeland Speaks (knee – MCL), defensive tackle Xavier Williams (ankle), cornerbacks Michael Hunter (groin) and Keith Reaser (Achilles) have been placed on injured reserve.
Denver Broncos Overall Defense
- Ranked 22nd overall in 2018
- Ranked 4th overall in 2019
Pass coverage: The Broncos’ defense is 4th best against the pass, allowing their opponents to throw for an average of 196.6 yards per matchup.
Denver’s defense has 5 interceptions on opposing quarterbacks and they have 12 total sacks after six weeks.
Run coverage: The Broncos are 18th best against a rushing attack, allowing opponents to run for an average of 111.8 yards per game.
Denver has allowed their opponents to score 106 total points this season, or 17.7 per matchup, which is 7th fewest in the NFL.
Broncos Defensive Players to Watch
Free safety Justin Simmons is fun to watch in the Broncos’ secondary, so far with 30 tackles, 2 interceptions and 8 passes defended.
The sack man on the Broncos this season (so far) is defensive end DeMarcus Walker, who has 3.0 quarterback sacks, 3 quarterback hits and 12 tackles (4 for a loss).
Mahomes better keep his eye out for Denver’s free safety Justin Simmons, who has 2 picks this season plus 8 passes defended on top of 30 total tackles.
Broncos Defensive Injuries
Listed as questionable for Week 7: defensive end Derek Wolfe (hip), defensive tackles Shelby Harris (ribs) and Mike Purcell (knee).
Injury notes: cornerback Bryce Callahan (foot) is listed as OUT, while defensive end Billy Winn (triceps), linebacker Bradley Chubb (knee – ACL) and safeties De’Vante Bausby (neck) and Horace Richardson (back) have been placed on injured reserve.
Even all banged up, the Denver Broncos have the defensive advantage over the Chief by a long shot, to where it could be the difference in the game.
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Special Teams Stats Comparison
Kansas City’s veteran punter, Dustin Colquitt, is in his fifteenth NFL season, all with the Chiefs, and this season he has punted 16 times for a net average of 40.1 yards per punt, which is the 29th best in the league.
Denver’s punter, Colby Wadman, is in his second NFL season, and in 2019 he has punted 29 times for a net average of 40.1 yards per punt, T-30th best in the league.
Kansas City’s placekicker, Harrison Butker, is in his third NFL season, all with the Chiefs.
Butker has made 11-of-13 field goals this season, his longest a 46 yarder, and so far, he has missed one extra point attempt (19/20).
Denver’s placekicker, Brandon McManus, in his 6th NFL season, all with the Broncos.
McManus has gone 12-for-14 this season, his longest a 53-yarder, and he has missed one extra point attempt (8/9).
Kansas City’s punt returner, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, should be back in the lineup this week, but it’s doubtful that he’ll be returning punts for a while.
While Hill was injured, wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas filled in, his rank 39th in punt return average this year after returning 10 punts for 41 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per return.
Denver’s punt returner, wide receiver Diontae Spencer, is ranked 18th in punt return average in 2019.
So far this year, Spencer has returned 13 punt for 118 yards and 0 touchdowns, averaging 9.1 yards per return.
Special Teams Advantage
Since this offensively centered game will most likely come down to a last-minute score, the team with the more experienced place kicker should have the special teams advantage, and that’s the hometown Denver Broncos for this one.
Final Game Analysis
Why Will the Chiefs Win this Game?
The Kansas City Chiefs will win this game because there is no way a team as talented as this one is can lose three games in a row, especially with Patrick Mahomes under center.
If Mahomes is still slightly hobbled by his tender ankle, hopefully at this point after two losses head coach (and offensive guru) Andy Reid has learned his lesson and will game plan around his key playmaker’s temporary handicap with quicker passes and more of a running game.
The key to a Chiefs win (as with most of them) is for their sub-par defense to step up and shut down the opponent, specifically by putting pressure on Flacco and keeping Lindsey from running away with the game.
Why Will the Broncos Win this Game?
The Denver Broncos are finally looking like the team that football fans thought they might be, which is a solid defensive squad with a functional offense run by former Super Bowl Champ.
Flacco hasn’t exactly been impressive – he completed 18-of-28 for 177 yards with zero touchdowns and a pick in the Broncos’ win against the Tennessee Titans in Week 6 – but all he needs to do is facilitate his offense and make sure Sutton and Lindsay get their share of touches.
Denver will win this game because they have a way better defense than the Chiefs, and in the high altitude of Mile High with its thinner air, expect that to make a huge difference in the fourth quarter when the visiting Chiefs start to get thoroughly winded.
This Game Goes to the
Kansas City Chiefs – because no matter how tough the Broncos are starting to look, it’s too tough to bet against Mahomes and Hill back together again.
John Breech of CBS Sports predicts the score as Chiefs 23, Broncos 20.
My prediction for the final score is Chiefs 27, Broncos 24.
Chiefs vs Broncos: Odds
|Sportsbook||KC Chiefs||DEN Broncos|
|Sportsbook||KC Chiefs -3||DEN Broncos +3|
|Sportsbook||Over 48.5||Under 48.5|