The NFL is officially back in our lives after Thursday night's Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs game. Of course, the Lions walked away with a big upset win over the defending Super Bowl champs. But the Denver Broncos, despite not having a game until Sunday, also walk away from Thursday Night’s game as winners.
The Broncos should be able to take what they saw from the Lions and put it to use in their two matchups with the Chiefs this season. The Lions were playing a weakened version of the Chiefs due to them missing Travis Kelce and Chris Jones, but a win is a win.
Can the Denver Broncos take anything from the Detroit Lions?
Lack of Weapons
It’s clear that without Kelce in the lineup, the Chiefs offense is significantly worse. No one was able to get open with ease since Kelce wasn’t there to take so much attention. Even if Kelce was playing, it’s hard to imagine their inexperienced receiving core causing many issues anyway. While it can be assumed that Kelce will play against the Broncos in weeks six and eight, if the Broncos are able to slow him down, there isn’t a gamebreaker that can take over like they’ve had in the past.
Of course, it’s hard to believe that Andy Reid, being the offensive mind he is, doesn’t figure out a way to make use of players like Skyy Moore or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Even then, the Broncos' secondary is well-equipped to deal with a Chiefs offense that could finally be slowing down. In other words, there isn't a player on that offense that Patrick Surtain wouldn't be able to handle.
Time of Possession
Both the Lions and Chiefs had a total of 11 drives in their matchup. The difference is that the Lions had the ball for a total of 32 minutes and 38 seconds, while the Chiefs had it for 27 minutes and 22 seconds. In past years, the “formula” to beat the Chiefs was to dominate time of possession and keep that offense off the field for as long as you could. That strategy could hold true in 2023-2024, and the Lions just proved it.
Detroit was able to use its dominant offensive line to run the ball 34 times. The Lions essentially closed out their win against a tired Chiefs defense with an extremely effective run game. This is easily something that the Broncos can emulate against the Chiefs, or anyone, with their new pieces on the offensive line. Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers are both excellent run blockers and will prove vital late in games when defensive linemen are already tired.
Chris Jones would make this a lot more difficult, but definitely not impossible. Plus, his contract situation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, so it is possible he will remain out until week six.
We are only one game into the season, but it feels like the Broncos will be able to match up nicely with the Chiefs this season. Hopefully, they will be able to snap that 15-game losing streak against their AFC West rivals while taking advantage of the same things the Detroit Lions did.