TNF: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos Pick
Kansas City Chiefs (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date/Time: Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 8:20PM EDT
Where: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
Point Spread: KC -3/DEN +3 (BetNow))
Over/Under Total: 49
The Kansas City Chiefs come to Mile High for a Thursday Night Football matchup with the Denver Broncos in week 7 AFC West action from Colorado. A few weeks ago, if someone were to fathom this matchup, they likely wouldn’t have figured that it would be the Broncos who are hot, while the Chiefs are searching for a good development. A few weeks ago, the Broncos were looking frayed after an 0-4 start, while the Chiefs were looking good at 4-0. But after dropping two straight at home, including Sunday’s 31-24 loss to Houston, the Chiefs are now really looking for a win. Meanwhile, Denver is coming off a shutout win at home over the Titans, and now they’re dug in at Mile High looking to go on a run after two straight wins. Who can get the job done this week?
Setting the Table
This is a problematic spot for the Chiefs, coming to a tough place to play on the short week when it’s clear that health is a major issue. One should hesitate in saying Patrick Mahomes is depreciated, but an ankle injury has him looking a little ragged, and we saw some of that on Sunday. He did throw three TDs and getting Tyreek Hill back in there doing his thing really helps. But on 19 of 35 completions, something was off. And 37 combined points in two home games shows the offense is a bit off-kilter heading toward the midway point of the season. With the opposite side of the ball in disarray, they need to stop the bleeding.
Finding relief in this spot might not be easy. Denver has allowed just 13 combined points in their last two games and is coming off a shutout. Sure, keeping a Chargers and Titans offense in check and then doing it to Kansas City are two different things, particularly an irritated Chiefs’ team looking to make a statement and put the unpleasantness of the last few weeks behind them. But last season, even with the Chiefs flying high, Denver was respectable in both games, losing a pair of one-score games against the division champions.
Reversal of Fortunes
Again, the Kansas City defense isn’t doing the team any favors. With the offense not in top-flight, it only brings the issues on this side of the ball more into vision. With a new coordinator and some added pieces, the Chiefs were hoping for a more-respectable defense, and right now, it looks as bad as anything we saw last season. They literally cannot stop the run, coming off a game where they made Carlos Hyde look like Eric Dickerson. They now face a Denver team that has found some success behind their two backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. That looks to be a matchup concern for the leaky Chiefs “D.” Chris Jones has been hurt. Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu haven’t been bad, but haven’t made much of an impact either.
On offense, the Chiefs have been a bit diminished the past few weeks. A gimpy Mahomes can be brought up as a culprit, but the issues run deeper. That line hasn’t really been up-to-snuff, and it’s just hard to go far in this league with a front playing like that. Some losses on offense could be camouflaged for a while, but are now starting to manifest along with that deficient line, namely not having a top running back. LeSean McCoy will have a big game here and there but is no longer capable of giving the Chiefs the consistent type of production they had back there with Kareem Hunt when he was riding high in this offense. Right now, it’s basically Mahomes, Hill, Travis Kelce, and whoever else might step up. I wouldn’t panic yet, but there are some foreboding signs.
Denver’s recipe for success has fallen mostly on their defense. And let’s face it; taking on two teams mired in some severe dysfunction doesn’t hurt, either. The Chargers and Titans offenses are really hurting right now, a shadow of what they were even earlier in the season. After losing Bradley Chubb for the season, the future looked ominous for this “D,” but they have poured it on, still applying a mean pass-rush led by Von Miller. With Chris Harris, Jr. Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, and others, the secondary has been top-notch as of late. The “D” looks solid. Even their run-stop, which labored in the first month of the season, has been excellent the last few weeks keeping the Bolts and the Titans from establishing a run presence.
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Can the Denver Offense Keep Pace?
There is just something about this Denver offense that is so dull. But don’t confuse that with merit. There are no stars on this unit, led by a downward-trending Joe Flacco. Second-year backs Lindsay and Freeman are significant parts of this offense and don’t always fire behind an offensive line that plays in various stages of form. Emmanuel Sanders isn’t the same weapon he was, as Flacco tries to establish more of a rapport with Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, and rookie TE Noah Fant. It’s a pretty languid aerial attack, especially in contrast with that of their opponent. Against a reeling KC defense at home, can they get better results? Or is this a good week for the Chiefs’ defense to get some positive momentum established against a pretty non-explosive Denver offense?
Take the Road Favorite
We’ve already seen this season what happens when we don’t see the writing on the wall and continue to back struggling teams that you figure will eventually snap out of it. Lately, betting on teams like the Cowboys, Rams, and Chargers expecting them to revert form has been costly. But I’m going to go ahead and take another whirl on the Chiefs. The location of this game and the quick turnaround are concerns, but I think facing a subdued Denver offense could help the Chiefs find their footing, as they establish some distance late to get the cover on the road.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Kansas City Chiefs minus 3 points.
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