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Five things to know for Chiefs-Broncos ‘TNF’ game

Patrick Mahomes
Sep 22, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) signals to the crowd during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos head into Week 7 with a real opportunity to make it interesting in the AFC West. After losing their first four games, the Broncos sit at 2-4. A win here would pull them to within one game of the Kansas City Chiefs.

As it relates to the Chiefs, reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and Co. have lost two consecutive after starting the season 4-0.

This is an absolutely huge mid-week game in the division. It’s in this that we give you five things to know for the Chiefs-Broncos Week 7 “Thursday Night Football” matchup.

Chiefs historically bad run defense

Through the first six weeks of the season, Kansas City is yielding 161.8 rushing yards per game at a clip of 5.2 yards per rush.

That average rush total would represent the highest mark since the Chicago Bears back in 2013 and the second-highest per-rush average of the past 15 seasons. It’s been downright disastrous for the Chiefs.

  • Week 1: Jaguars (81)
  • Week 2: Raiders (129)
  • Week 3: Ravens (203)
  • Week 4: Lions (186)
  • Week 5: Colts (180)
  • Week 6: Texans (192)

As you can see, the Chiefs are yielding an average of 191 rushing yards over the past four games. For their part, the Broncos head into Week 7 ranked 14th in the NFL in rushing offense. Phillip Lindsay is averaging 6.1 yards per rush over the past three games.

Broncos’ pass rush has finally returned

It was an absolute shock to see Denver record a grand total of zero sacks in its first three games. That’s especially true given the presense of former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on the roster. Once Chubb went down with a season-ending torn ACL in Week 4, it seemed this unit was doomed to fail.

That has in no way been the case. Denver recorded seven sacks of Titans quarterbacks in a shutout win last week. Miller has returned to form with seven quarterback hits and 2.5 sacks over the past three games. Taking on a Chiefs offense without left tackle Eric Fisher Thursday night, this is certainly something to watch.

The injuries

In addition to Chubb being out for the season, Denver is dealing with some other minor injuries. Free agent signing, cornerback Bryce Callahan, remains out with a foot injury. Meanwhile, starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James has been out since Week 1 and is questionable to go in this one.

However, it’s the Chiefs’ injuries that remain the question mark heading in. As noted above, left tackle Eric Fisher has already been ruled out. He’s joined on the sideline by top cover guy Kendall Fuller, leading receiver Sammy Watkins and stud defensive lineman Chris Jones. That could very well impact Thursday’s game at Mile High.

The history

Kansas City City is a surprising 3-5 on “Thursday Night Football” since it premiered back in 2006. It has also lost four of five mid-week games. That’s somewhat surprising given the success we’ve seen this team have recently. On the other hand, Denver boasts a tremendous 8-4 record during this slate. That’s something to keep an eye on.

In terms of this series, the Chiefs have won seven in a row since a Broncos win back in Week 2 of the 2015 season. Interestingly enough, that came on “Thursday Night Football.” For his part, Patrick Mahomes is a perfect 3-0 with nearly 300 passing yards per game in his career against Denver. His first NFL start came against the Broncos back in Week 17 of the 2017.

Betting lines (via DraftKings)

Line: Chiefs (-3)

Over/under: 48.5

First touchdown: Phillip Lindsay (+750)

First touchdown: Travis Kelce (+850)