NFL picks and predictions: Broncos favored to beat Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 24: Running back C.J. Anderson
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 24: Running back C.J. Anderson /

The Denver Broncos are becoming heavily favored among NFL analysts to come out on top in Week 17 given that the Chiefs are resting several key players.

The Denver Broncos are only 5-10 heading into the final week of the season and they’re facing the visiting division champions in the Kansas City Chiefs. However, given that this week is a wash for the Chiefs, leading head coach Andy Reid to rest at least a few key players, the Broncos are the trendy pick to claim a sixth win of the season over K.C. in Week 17.

The Chiefs have already announced that key players will sit, including starting quarterback Alex Smith, who is enjoying a career year. That means Patrick Mahomes is starting and despite the excitement coming from Chiefs Kingdom in the meantime, he’s still a rookie quarterback making his first start against a defense motivated to leave a pitiful season on a good note—one that also features pass rushers like Von Miller and pass defenders like Aqib Talib and Chris Harris.

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The Chiefs chances will likely depend on how many tools Andy Reid is wiling to give Mahomes in his first career start. Will he let him have Kareem Hunt as a rushing option, especially given the fact that Hunt could win the season’s rushing title with another strong week? Will he give him the safety of an outlet like Travis Kelce or a deep target like Tyreek Hill? If not, Mahomes could be in for a longer afternoon than some Chiefs fans might expect.

Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times says the Chiefs are his pick to win anyway, perhaps a sign that Denver is just so poor this year that even a limited Chiefs line-up is still better than a complete Broncos one. The majority of ESPN’s experts, at least those that are current up, believe that Denver will beat K.C. Chris Simms over at Bleacher Report has the Chiefs losing to Paxton Lynch.

It’d be nice for the Chiefs to win to give them double digit wins at 10, but the most important thing is staying healthy. Win or lose, here’s hoping the Chiefs can at least do that and look good all the while.