Broncos vs. Chiefs: NFL Week 17 Preview

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos conclude their regular season on Sunday when they host the Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos beat the Chiefs back in November and will try to close out a perfect 6-0 record versus the AFC West. Despite their records, the game in Kansas City was fairly competitive although the Broncos were never in danger of losing. The contest on Sunday features one team with everything to play for and one team who is playing just to get the season over with.

The Broncos can clinch a first-round bye with their 11th straight win and they still have a chance at the number one overall seed. If the Broncos win and the Houston Texans lose to the Indianapolis Colts earlier in the day, then the Broncos would be home for the duration of the playoffs.

While Peyton Manning and the offense struggled with their consistency in the November meeting; they are coming off of two solid games and should be able to move the ball versus the Chiefs. Knowshon Moreno continues to run the ball well and has also added something in the passing game. The Chiefs are having a rough season to begin with and are now dealing with numerous injuries on both sides of the ball. Defensively they might be without Tamba Hali who was named to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday, and is probably the Chiefs best defender. As well as the Chiefs played the Broncos in their first meeting, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker still had solid days. The Broncos moved the ball on the Chiefs; they just struggled in the red zone and missed a couple of field goals. Those things are unlikely to repeat themselves and the Broncos will score 30+ points again.

The Chiefs primary issues have been on the offensive side of the ball; mainly at the quarterback position. Brady Quinn will start again on Sunday but he just doesn’t strike fear into too many defenses. It doesn’t help that Quinn is missing his best receiver in Dwayne Bowe and might be without his tight end, Tony Moeaki. The other receiver for the Chiefs are pedestrian at best and will have a tough time getting open versus a very good secondary of the Broncos. The Chiefs are also likely to be without a starter or two on the offensive line which is not good when Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil are on the other side.

The one and only chance that the Chiefs have to keep the game close is with their running game, which is very good despite their record. They ran for over 300 yards in a loss to the Colts last week and ran it well versus the Broncos in Kansas City. Jamal Charles was also named to the Pro Bowl as one of the AFC’s best running backs and is having a terrific season. He did miss practice on Wednesday due to illness, but he should be ready to go on Sunday. The Broncos, outside of that game versus the Chiefs, have been outstanding against the run during their winning streak, and will be anxious to redeem themselves from the last meeting. If the Chiefs are unable to run the ball or get behind early, then Charles becomes less of a factor.

The Broncos have a lot to play for and they have shown a razor like focus all season; there’s no chance that they take this game for granted. It was an eight point win for the Broncos earlier this year and the Chiefs led for most of the first-half, but that’s unlikely to happen again on Sunday. There’s a reason that the Broncos are 12-3 and the Chiefs are 2-13; the Broncos are a much better football team. They close out the regular season with their 11th straight win with another blowout. Broncos-34 Chiefs-13.

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