NFL 2017 Week 8: Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs preview and prediction

The Chiefs try to halt a two-game skid against a Denver team that is all at sea offensively

Denver suffered a shutout defeat against the Chargers last week, falling 21-0. The offensive line struggled to slow the pass rush and Trevor Siemian was under siege all day. A special teams malfunction didn’t help either as they gave up a punt return touchdown. All in all it was a day to forget.

Week 7 was one to forget for the Chiefs as well, who committed too many penalties and allowed the Oakland Raiders to come storming back at the end of the game after it should have been all over. The 31-30 defeat was their second in a row and raised inevitable questions about their ability to seriously contend through a whole season.

Can we get some pass protection?

Last week in LA wasn’t the first time Denver have struggled to look after their quarterback this season. The right tackle spot has been a particular headache for Vance Joseph, and after Joey Bosa roasted Allen Barbre all day you just know Justin Houston and Dee Ford are licking their lips in anticipation of this one. Denver have to be able to find a way of slowing the edge rushes and give Siemian some time and security.

Playoff pressure

At 5-2, Kansas are well on track for a playoff spot, but at 3-3 the Broncos are teetering. A win here puts them right back in the mix for the AFC West title, which would give them a playoff game at Mile High where they are deadly. Lose and they can kiss the division goodbye and will have to battle it out for a wild card spot. It may only be Week 8, but there are big implications in play in this one, which brings a lot of added pressure.

The return

Kareem Hunt may be wowing Chiefs fans this season, but it’s not the first time an electric running back has taken Arrowhead by storm. Before Hunt there was Jamaal Charles, who left the Chiefs in the offseason after nine wonderful years. Charles averaged a ridiculous 5.5 yards a carry in his time with the Chiefs and is a hero among Kansas City fans. This week sees him return to Arrowhead for the first time wearing a Broncos uniform.

He may not be a featured piece of the Broncos offense, but this week don’t be surprised if Denver have a plan to utilized Charles and his history with the crowd.

Matchup to Watch: Tyreek Hill vs Aqib Talib/Chris Harris/Bradley Roby

The Broncos have one of the best secondaries in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean that Tyreek Hill doesn’t pose a huge number of problems for them.

His speed, Kansas’ formations, and their frequent motions means that not just one of the Broncos’ corners can be responsible for him all day. All three will have their time looking after Hill, and if they can protect against the deep pass while not giving him too much space underneath then Denver have a great chance at winning this game. It’s a tricky balance to maintain though…

Fantasy Tip: Broncos RB Jamaal Charles

As I said, this is Charles’ first game back at Arrowhead and I expect the Broncos to have something special for him. With six teams on bye there are a lot of holes that need filling and Charles is available in a good number of leagues.

Betting Tip: Chiefs (-7)

Kansas need a win to get back on track, they are strong defensively and creative offensively. Give the points and ride the home team.

Prediction: Chiefs 27-17 Broncos

Denver will get their offense going, but not enough to threaten the Chiefs. The absence of Emmanuel Sanders hurts their balance, and their blocking problems will provide turnover opportunities for a defense that can feast on inconsistent quarterbacks.

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Toby Durant