Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos: Will Chiefs' struggles continue on Thursday night?
Watch Chiefs @ Broncos live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event from 12.30am on Friday morning; kick-off is at 1.20am
By James Simpson - @JS_Football
Last Updated: 18/10/19 6:13am
The Kansas City Chiefs visit the Denver Broncos on Thursday night hoping to avoid a third straight defeat. Here is what to expect...
Seasons so far
Last year's AFC runners-up Kansas City (4-2) were in fine form in the first three weeks of the season, cruising to wins over Jacksonville, Oakland and Baltimore, before they had their first tough one in Week Four.
The Chiefs overcame Detroit 34-30, but it took a miraculous last-minute drive to do it after the Lions had matched them over 59 minutes. In the two games since - losses against the Colts and Texans - the Chiefs have been dominated in time of possession and quarterback Patrick Mahomes has struggled with an ankle injury. Will he be ailing again after a short week?
The Broncos (2-4), meanwhile, are on the opposite trajectory. After four straight defeats to kick off the season (at Raiders, vs Bears, at Packers, vs Jaguars), they have rebounded with two strong defensive performances and wins.
They went into LA and topped the Chargers 20-13, before shutting out the Titans at Mile High 16-0, ultimately leading to Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota being benched.
Players to watch
Even after the two games in which he has struggled, Patrick Mahomes is on pace for 5,610 passing yards, which would beat Peyton Manning's single-season record of 5,477, per NFL Research. He may be struggling with his ankle, but he still has an arm that can make any throw. He's worth staying up for.
Tyreek Hill came back from injury last week and immediately returned to his big-play ways, hauling in two touchdowns on five catches. He has been the NFL's best deep threat since entering the league in 2016, and the Chiefs will need him to create space against a stingy Broncos' D.
Tight end Travis Kelce continues to set the bar for tight ends, and he leads the position with 497 receiving yards - he is on pace to become the first tight end in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving yards in four straight season.
Despite a poor start to the season (2.5 sacks), Broncos linebacker Von Miller is a disruptive force when on his game. The 30-year-old is a seven-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro, and has 100.5 sacks since entering NFL in 2011 (most of any player in that span).
Denver corner Chris Harris is one of the best in the game. He is the NFL's only player with 20-plus interceptions, 80-plus passes defended and 20-plus tackles for losses since 2011. Although their offense leaves much to be desired (with Phillip Lindsay and Courtland Sutton the bright spots), this defense could cause KC plenty of problems.
- On the all-time list, Mahomes ranks first in passing yards per game, passer rating, pass touchdowns per game, and TD-INT ratio (minimum 500 attempts).
- Mahomes has more TD passes (64) in his 23 career games than all Broncos QBs collectively in the 54 games since Manning retired (63)
- Mahomes' 64 touchdowns would already put him on the top 10 career pass TD lists for all 32 active NFL franchises
- Mahomes is 2-5 in his career in primetime games, 15-1 in non-primetime games
- Hill has 18 receptions of 40+ yards since 2017, six games with multiple TD receptions since 2017, 13 deep TD receptions since 2017 and 16 career 50+ yard TD since 2016 (all most in NFL)
- Kelce has 12 straight games with 50-plus receiving yards (longest active streak in NFL)
- The Broncos have allowed a 50.8 opponent passer rating since Week Five (third in NFL)
- The Broncos rank in the top 10 in scoring (17.7 points per game) and total defense (307.8 yards per game) this season
Watch the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Denver Broncos live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event from 12.30am on Friday morning; kick-off is at 1.20am.