Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos: Keys to victory

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25: Quarterback Alex Smith
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 25: Quarterback Alex Smith /
3 of 4
CARSON, CA – SEPTEMBER 24: Kareem Hunt
CARSON, CA – SEPTEMBER 24: Kareem Hunt /

Key #2: Run. The. Football.

Here’s the deal. The Chiefs aren’t likely to have a ton of success running the football against the Denver defense. The Denver defense is second in the NFL in both rushing yards per game and yards per carry allowed. They are also the only team in the NFL to not allow a rushing touchdown yet. Because of that, I can certainly see Andy Reid being tempted to get away from the run if they aren’t seeing a lot of success. I believe this would be a mistake.

While Denver’s run defense is fantastic, its their pass defense that is responsible for most of their big plays. Whether its Von Miller making big plays off the edge or their excellent corners creating turnovers the more times you drop back to pass the more chances those guys have to make a game changing play.

In Denver’s three wins this season their opponents averaged just 17 rushes per game for 42.7 yards and a minuscule 2.5 yards per carry. While the Broncos only allowed 3.3 yards per carry in their losses they did allow 30.3 carries per game for 101 yards. The yards per carry may still be impressive but the difference in carries and yards per game is substantial. If the Chiefs only run the ball 17 times for 43 yards that will be a huge win for Denver. Mainly because it will put the entire offense on the arm of Alex Smith and increase the chances that the Denver defense can come up with a game changing big play.

Kareem Hunt entered the week the clear rushing leader in the entire NFL averaging 5.8 yards per carry and a little over 102 yards per game. While Hunt may not hit his season averages in this one, it is imperative that Reid feed him the ball and not get too pass happy if the run game doesn’t see a lot of success early. If Hunt has proved anything in his young career it is that with enough touches he will find a way to rack up some yards by the time the game is over.

Another big factor in KC’s run game will be the play of the offensive line. Who is going to be playing? Will they be 100% healthy? Can they fare better against a physical Denver front than they did against Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago?

That’s actually a perfect segue to my final key to victory.