The Denver Broncos are starting to pull it together. They’ve been one of the best pointspread performers in the league this year going 8-5 ATS and have been particularly good as an underdog covering 7 of their 10 spots in that role. They’ll face a tough test on Sunday as they head to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs who have already clinched the AFC West title with a 9-4 record. This will be Drew Lock’s third professional start at quarterback and he’s coming off an exceptional showing last week as he went 22-27 for 309 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INT in the Broncos 38-24 win over the Houston Texans.
The Chiefs are back in good form as well and coming off arguably their biggest win of the year. Kansas City has won 3 straight and 4 of their last 5 and beat the New England Patriots at Foxboro last week 23-16 as a +3.5 road underdog. The rest of the schedule looks manageable for Kansas City as they’ll face the Bears at Chicago on 12/22 and finish up the season hosting the LA Chargers at home on 12/29. They’re not going to catch the red hot Ravens for the best record in the AFC though they’ve got a good shot of keeping pace with 10-3 New England and ended up with the #2 record which will be very helpful during the postseason.
As you’d expect given the trajectory of these two sides during recent years the Chiefs have dominated head to head play of late winning the last five SU going 4-1 ATS. This includes a 2-0 SU/1-1 ATS record at Arrowhead Stadium. The teams played earlier this year and Kansas City had no trouble at all in dispatching Denver 30-6 as -3 point road favorites. Patrick Mahomes is expected to play although he’s been on the injury report all week with a hand injury. He’s upgraded to ‘probable’ in the last update.
Denver doesn’t do anything fancy and their style of play that makes them effective against most opponents probably won’t help them much against Kansas City. They’ve got a solid defense though probably not ‘solid enough’ to do much to slow down the Chiefs’ potent offensive attack. On offense, they’ve got a capable rushing game and keep things conservative for rookie QB Lock hoping to minimize chances for mistakes. That’s not going to get it done against Kansas City. Few teams have been able to shut down the Chiefs defensively in recent years and even fewer have been able to ‘shorten the game’ by keeping the clock running. The only way to beat KC is to do so at their own game matching their offensive assault with retaliation in kind. Some teams have that ability but Denver isn’t one of them.