In what may be one of the more underrated storylines of Week 7, Patrick Mahomes is set to come full circle when he and the Chiefs roll into Denver to face the Broncos in Week 7. It was at this very point and place during the 2019 season where it looked like Mahomes' campaign was going to come to a swift and painful end after dislocating his patella. While it appeared dire at the time, Mahomes avoided major injury and eventually went on to lead Kansas City to a Super Bowl LIV title where he earned MVP honors. Given the feelings of that night following his injury, Mahomes' turnaround was nothing short of miraculous.
Now, the Chiefs are looking to become the first team since the 2003-2004 Patriots to win back-to-back titles. They are well on their way to putting themselves in contention, currently sitting atop the AFC West with a 5-1 record. While it's easy to pencil K.C. in, the Broncos have proven to be a tough out, despite a 2-3 record. Even in the wake of significant injuries, Drew Lock's team has been able to contend and are fresh off a Week 6 upset over the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
Given Denver's grit and the Chiefs' pure talent, this should be a rather intriguing head-to-head. Either the Broncos will begin clawing back into the division race or Kansas City will extend its lead. Before we dive deeper into the matchup, here's how you can watch Sunday's action.
How to watch
Kansas City is coming into the matchup on a short week after defeating the Buffalo Bills on Monday night. While Patrick Mahomes was his typical stellar self in the win, it was the running game that shined. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the way with 161 yards on the ground as the Chiefs totaled 245 rushing yards as a team. What makes that even more frightening for opposing defenses is that K.C. is now set to add star running back Le'Veon Bell into the mix after signing him following his release from the Jets. Not only will Bell be a factor on the ground, but he's proven throughout the course of his career that he'll be a factor in the passing game. In that area of the offense, Demarcus Robinson led the way for the Chiefs in the wake of Sammy Watkins' injury, hauling in five passes for 69 yards against Buffalo. Of course, tight end Travis Kelce is always a go-to option for Mahomes and caught two touchdown passes in last week's win. If he logs 65 or more receiving yards on Sunday, he'll be just the third tight end in NFL history with at least 7,000 receiving yards in his first eight seasons. Defensively, the Chiefs have been a top 10 unit in the league in DVOA and have allowed the ninth-fewest passing yards in the league.
That could spell trouble for the Denver Broncos, who did struggle offensively despite beating the Patriots in New England. Vic Fangio's club will simply need to be better in the red zone as they've only scored a touchdown on 40% of their trips to that area of the field this year, the third-worst mark in the NFL. To highlight it even more, Denver ranks dead last in the league in scoring during red zone drives, only putting up points 73.3% of the time. With Lock playing in his second game since coming back from injury, that should improve, especially if Tim Patrick continues to emerge. The Broncos receiver enjoyed his second-straight game of going over 100 yards receiving in Week 6 and will look to have a similar impact against Kansas City. On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos have done surprisingly well without anchor Von Miller, who suffered an ankle injury before the year that has him on IR. Coming into Week 7, Denver's defense ranks No. 6 in the league in DVOA.
William Hill Sportsbook currently has the Broncos getting 9.5 points at home against the Chiefs, which would indicate that Kansas City may roll in this one. That's where I land as I expect Mahomes and the Chiefs to have one of their awe-inspiring displays of offense on Sunday as they trot out Le'Veon Bell. I foresee Denver continuing to struggle to put up points and K.C. walks away with its sixth win of the year. As for what our CBS Sports experts think of this matchup, click here.
Score: Kansas City 30, Denver 17