Following another disappointing and narrow loss in Week 7, the Kansas City Chiefs return home to face the Denver Broncos. With two consecutive losses after starting the season 5-0, the Chiefs have clearly established a pattern that other teams can follow if they want to take down what used to be the best team in football. However, that doesn’t make Kansas City a certain victory for Denver. If either team wants to win on Monday night, they will focus on their opponent’s pressure points.
Kansas City Chiefs
For the umpteenth week in a row, Kansas City’s big weakness is going to be their big men up front. Specifically, their interior offensive line, which consists of three backups, is a liability in pass blocking. In run blocking the Chiefs have functioned well enough to enable rookie Kareem Hunt to have a league-leading year thus far. But if Kansas City can’t keep quarterback Alex Smith protected from interior pressure and blitzes then Denver’s aggressive front seven will eat him alive and stifle Tyreek Hill‘s ability to impact the game.
Few saw this coming, but the Chiefs’ defensive coverage unit has become a liability. The loss of Eric Berry in the season opener and Steven Nelson‘s continued absence due to injury has taken its toll on the field. Big plays have been surrendered by just about every player the Chiefs put on the field at cornerback or safety. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton needs to find something to stop the bleeding, and fast.
For a team that prided itself over the last several seasons as being a run-first offense with play action bootlegs as the pass-enabling concept, the Broncos have been behind the curve this year with only 687 yards on the ground through six games. To be fair, the Denver offensive line is in a rebuilding year. Of all position groups, the line’s coordination is both most important and hardest to develop. But the Broncos can still be defended handily on the ground.
It seems that all of the Broncos’ woes stem from its offense. The Denver squad ranks third and first in the league in passing and rushing yards allowed, respectively. However, starting quarterback Trevor Siemian has thrown six interceptions for six touchdowns this season. It doesn’t matter how good your receivers are if you fail to get the ball to them. Siemian is completing around 63% of his passes this season, but the Broncos have fewer than 250 air yards per game. This tells us that Broncos receivers are not catching passes with open space in front of them. If any week gives the Chiefs’ secondary a chance to return to their old standard of play, it is against this quarterback.