The Denver Broncos host the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football. Here are keys to ensuring a Broncos victory.
The red-hot Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) come to town to face the Denver Broncos (2-1) on Monday Night Football in week four.
Kansas City exited week three with their third victory of the season, while Denver put out an embarrassing performance on the road in Baltimore against the Ravens.
There were plenty of things the Broncos did on Sunday to shoot themselves in the foot. If they do the same things against the Chiefs, their chances of sending their division rivals home with a loss becomes even slimmer.
They are already five-point underdogs at home according to OddsShark.com. Over the last five years, the Broncos have lost every matchup to Kansas City, by an average score of 29.6-18.6.
What do the Broncos need to do to beat their divisional rivals?
1. Don’t commit dumb penalties.
Last weekend against the Ravens, the Broncos committed 13 penalties for 120 yards.
At least two of those penalties were extremely dumb decisions by the players who committed them: cornerback Isaac Yiadom was flagged for pushing a Ravens player down as he was trying to get back up from out of bounds.
Yiadom was not even in the field of play. The Broncos were enforced a 15-yard penalty for the shove.
Running back Phillip Lindsay jumped into a pile after the Ravens sacked quarterback Case Keenum and caused a fumble. Unfortunately, the refs saw Lindsay kicking his legs and throwing a punch at a Ravens player in the pile.
Lindsay was ejected for the punch.
Whether you agree with the officials’ decision to kick Lindsay out of the game or not, it still happened. The Broncos need to stay focused so that no more players receive those crucial penalties and ejections.
Near the end of the game, the Broncos were called for too many men in the huddle. That is one of the dumbest penalties a team can be called for. The coaches and players need to know what they are doing. It was unacceptable.
2. Stop turning the football over.
Case Keenum is near the top of the league in interceptions through four games. He already has five, two less than he had all of last season with the Minnesota Vikings.
Keenum is on pace for 25.6 interceptions on the season. Sure, that statistic is bound to be lowered, but it goes to show that something really needs to be fixed in order for the Broncos’ offense to maintain possession of the football and have success.
After the sack-fumble Keenum committed against Baltimore, he looked dazed, sitting on the ground while everybody else was fighting for the loose football behind him. It was a very weird thing to watch.
3. Better play-calling.
On a 2nd-and-1 with just over six minutes left in the game and trailing the Ravens 27-14, the Broncos called a pass play in Ravens territory. Keenum dropped back and found nobody open, throwing the ball away.
The next play, fullback Andy Janovich got the handoff for a first down.
Offensive lineman Connor McGovern was called for a penalty on the next play, making it 1st-and-20 for the Broncos on the Ravens 40-yard line.
Immediately after, Keenum threw a short pass (five yards) to running back Devontae Booker.
At that point, there was just 5:10 left in the game, still down 27-14. The next play was a five-and pass to tight end Jake Butt.
Anyways, you get the point. Where’s the urgency?
There was none.
The Broncos cannot continue to perform this way, especially against a playoff-caliber team such as the Chiefs. If they do, they are going to be looking at a 2-2 record heading into week 5.
4. Get pressure on Patrick Mahomes.
Broncos pass rusher Von Miller recorded just two tackles against Baltimore. He is going to need to be a lot better against Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes.
He, along with rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb, and other members of the team’s linebacker position, need to get through the Chiefs’ offensive line and stop Mahomes in the backfield.
Getting pressure on Mahomes will limit the chances of tight end Travis Kelce torching the Broncos’ defense, which is extremely bad against opposing tight ends. If they are able to do that, it creates the bigger opportunity for interceptions.
Through three games, Mahomes has recorded 13 touchdowns and zero (yes, ZERO) interceptions. That is going to need to change on Monday night.
If the Broncos don’t force turnovers, they are very unlikely to come out victorious against one of the hottest teams in the league.
5. Broncos 12th man.
I have witnessed the effect of the Denver Broncos’ 12th-man (the fans). Each game that I have been to is extremely loud. This needs to continue against Kansas City.
The crowd noise at games can be very problematic for visiting teams. If the crowd is loud enough, it will cause the visiting team’s offense to struggle hearing play calls from the quarterback, as well as audibles and checks.
It can also be in the benefit of the home team because of false start penalties.
I look forward to seeing how Broncos Country affects the Chiefs and their young quarterback.
Will they be able to get into his head? Let’s hope that is the case.