The last time the Denver Broncos beat the Kansas City Chiefs, Peyton Manning was quarterbacking the team. Will the 2023 season finally be the year that the Broncos beat KC in the regular season?
The Chiefs have beaten the Denver Broncos a whopping 15 times in a row dating back to their second matchup in the 2015 season. So, from 2016-2022, KC has gotten the best of Denver in each game. There have been some fireworks in a few matchups between the two teams, but each time Denver has lost, the main culprit does appear to be the inept offense, obviously.
Patrick Mahomes taking the franchise over in 2018 has also complicated things. He seems like he plays his best against the Broncos. Could 2023 be the year that the Broncos finally beat the Chiefs and put an end to this miserable losing streak?
Well, for one, I do think if Denver wants to make the postseason this year, they'll have to be KC at least once. They'll likely need to win 10 games to make the playoffs, and winning double-digit games means Denver will have to win a few against their top opponents.
Sean Payton is now the head coach and brings some much-needed stability to the franchise. The Broncos have cycled through Gary Kubiak, Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio, and Nathaniel Hackett during their losing streak to the Chiefs. While there are a couple of good head coaches in that bunch, none of them come close to Sean Payton.
So, already, Denver is that much closer to beating KC because of Payton now being the head coach. You could argue that Sean Payton and Chiefs' head coach Andy Reid are the two best offensive minds of this generation, so if there's any offensive mind that could go toe-to-toe with Reid, it's likely Payton.
Another reason Denver can beat Kansas City this year can be found in looking back at the team's prior matchups during the Broncos' losing streak. Of the 15 losses, eight of them have been within one score. In fact, the last three times the two teams have played, the Chiefs have only won by four, six, and three points.
It's not like Denver is constantly getting blown out. Yeah, they have gotten blown out by the Chiefs during this slide, but they are keeping it within one score most of the time, which is huge. It's even more huge when you consider the absolute clown show the team was last year. The Broncos were arguably the most dysfunctional team in the NFL last year, and they lost to the Chiefs by just six points during their first matchup in 2022, when Nathaniel Hackett was still the head coach.
Then, after he got fired, the two teams played again with Jerry Rosburg as the interim HC. The Broncos were still a dysfunctional team but managed to only lose by three points. In many of these close games, it took the Chiefs well over 55 minutes of game time to actually ice the game.
I think another thing worth mentioning goes back to Vance Joseph, who was the head coach of the Denver Broncos in the 2017-2018 seasons. In those four matchups during that two-season span, the Broncos lost to the Chiefs by an average of just six points, so it's safe to say that Joseph's defenses were able to limit the Chiefs' offense in keeping it a close game.
Moreover, there's been reports that the Broncos' defense will have elements of Ejiro Evero's scheme and Joseph's scheme. Evero was the DC in 2022 obviously, and Denver lost both games in 2022 by an average of just 4.5 points.
There are a lot of encouraging statistics over the last eight years to indicate that the Broncos do have enough to finally take down the Chiefs this year. I think the defense will do just enough to keep the Chiefs' offense at bay as much as possible, and I think the additions the Broncos made on offense, including an improved offensive line, hopefully better health, and a competent offensive scheme should allow them to take down the evil empire in 2023.