The Kansas City Chiefs reigned supreme in clashes against their AFC West brethren with 12 straight wins before last week’s setback in Oakland. The Chiefs look to avenge that defeat and end an overall two-game losing skid on Monday night when they welcome the return of their franchise’s all-time leading rusher in Jamaal Charles and the Denver Broncos.
Kansas City has its own dynamic back in rookie Kareem Hunt, who is the only player in NFL history to start his career with seven straight 100-yard scrimmage games. Hunt, who leads the league in yards rushing (717) and is second in yards per carry (5.78), rolled up 117 yards from scrimmage (87 yards rushing, 30 receiving) in a 31-30 loss to the Raiders on Oct. 19. Like the Chiefs, the Broncos have also lost two straight to bring themselves back to the pack in the suddenly congested division heading into Charles’ return to Arrowhead Stadium. “I’ll always be a Chief ... I have so much history (there),” said the 30-year-old Charles, who needs 44 yards from scrimmage to reach 10,000 for his career. “Lot of sad memories, lot of happy memories. At the end of the day, I’m just going out there to play football.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Chiefs -7. O/U: 43
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (3-3): Trevor Siemian became the talk of the town following Denver’s disastrous 21-0 setback to the Los Angeles Chargers, and the conversation was anything but positive after the team’s first shutout loss in a quarter-century. “I have to play better. It starts with me,” the second-year starter said. “... Guys are frankly embarrassed with what we put out there last Sunday. We have to play better. I have to play better. Everybody knows that.” C.J. Anderson has been held in check after rushing for at least 81 yards in three of the team’s first four games, as he totaled just 61 on the ground over the last two.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (5-2): Alex Smith is shedding the “game manager” label that has followed him around for the majority of his career in favor of perhaps another title: mid-season NFL MVP candidate. The top overall pick of the 2005 draft eclipsed 300 yards passing and three touchdowns for the third time this season to give him 15 scoring strikes and no interceptions. Trusted target Travis Kelce found the end zone last week versus the Raiders and has reeled in at least one reception in 55 consecutive contests. Kelce gashed the Broncos for season highs in catches (11) and receiving yards (160) with a touchdown in a 33-10 victory last Christmas.
1. Denver WR Demaryius Thomas was held to just two receptions for nine yards last week, but faces a Kansas City defense that ranks 28th in passing yards allowed.
2. Chiefs OLB Justin Houston collected three sacks in his lone encounter versus the Broncos last season while Denver OLB Von Miller has recorded a sack in five straight games overall.
3. Broncos OLB Shane Ray is expected to make his season debut after being sidelined since the beginning of training camp with a wrist injury.
PREDICTION: Chiefs 24, Broncos 17