Sunday Night Football Week 13 Preview and Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Ben Gretch is back previewing and predicting Week 13's Sunday Night Football matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos.
Ben Gretch |
Sat, December 4, 6:03 PM EST | 4 min read
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Sunday Night Football Week 13 Preview and Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Sunday, December 5, 2021

Game Time: 8:20 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBC

  • Key Stat: Each of Denver’s past five games has gone under this game’s over/under of 47 points. Five of Kansas City’s past six have, as well. 

Click Here For Chiefs vs. Broncos Odds

Chiefs vs. Broncos Preview

Everyone knows the numbers on Andy Reid coming out of a bye. Kansas City hosts Denver this week after having Week 12 off, and Reid’s teams are 19-2 in his head coaching career after the bye week. Kansas City has struggled offensively over the past couple of months, at least relative to their lofty standards, and there’s certainly hope in this big spread. A reasonably high over/under that the Chiefs will show better after some time to make adjustments.

The biggest reason for Kansas City’s struggles has been the inability to get the ball down the field, as opposing defenses sit back in two-high shells and force the Chiefs to move the ball down the field. Kansas City is still banged up along the offensive line, and it’s unclear who might start at right tackle, while the Broncos welcomed back Bradley Chubb last week. The star edge rusher will presumably be another week healthier and hoping to jump-start a Broncos’ defensive line that will likely try to get pressure on Patrick Mahomes without frequently committing additional rushers.

Denver has executed similar schemes effectively against high-powered passing attacks in two of their past three games, beating the Cowboys back in Week 9 and then stifling the Chargers last week. I seem always to be optimistic about the Chiefs. Still, there are legitimate reasons to question whether this is the spot for them to post a huge score, especially after they finished their pre-bye stretch with a four-game winning streak that featured them scoring more than 20 points just once.

On the other side of the ball, the Broncos will welcome back left tackle Garett Bolles, which is a big boost to their offense. It looks like they’ll be without Melvin Gordon, who is doubtful, but rookie Javonte Williams has been fantastic and is deserving of more of a featured role. The bigger issue for the Broncos’ offense will be whether they can get their passing game going and in similar ways to the Chiefs. Early this year, Teddy Bridgewater showed more willingness to push the ball down the field than he had in previous stints with the Panthers and Saints over the past few seasons. Across the Broncos’ first six games, the team averaged at least 8.0 yards of depth per pass attempt in every game.

Since Week 7, though, Bridgewater has reverted to his old form, and the Broncos have not posted an average throw depth of greater than 8.0 in any game, and their average target has been shorter than six yards downfield in three of those five contests. Much like the Chiefs, without the vertical explosive plays in the passing game, Broncos’ offensive drives have needed to be longer and more methodical. An improved Chiefs defense over recent weeks will likely only make things tougher on a Denver offense that has struggled of late, especially with Bridgewater banged up and backup Drew Lock looking overmatched in relief duty last week.

One of the golden rules in NFL betting is trends can change at any time, but everything points toward the under here. Each of Denver’s past five games has gone under this game’s over/under of 47 points, while five of Kansas City’s past six have, as well. Of course, anytime something seems simple relative to the line, skepticism is warranted, but there are reasons we’ve seen scoring drop in both of these teams’ games over the past several weeks.

One way this game could wind up more high scoring is if the Chiefs are efficient on offense early and force the notoriously slow-paced Broncos to play a little faster. The game’s line would indicate it’s perhaps likely the Chiefs will dictate the pace in that way, but for that scenario to play out in a shootout, we’d still need Denver to be productive on offense. In other words, it’s not particularly hard to imagine an outcome where the Chiefs score 30-plus, but this game still stays under.

There are also a lot of scenarios where the Broncos’ recent success against teams like the Cowboys and Chargers foretells them being a bit more competitive than expected. In those situations, they will likely move slow on offense and try to shorten the game. I’m sticking with the recent trends and playing the under.

Chiefs vs. Broncos Pick

Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.

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