Chiefs vs. Broncos: Travis Kelce and Patrick Surtain among key matchups to watch

The Kansas City Chiefs (6-1) are visiting the Denver Broncos (2-5) for Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season.
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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2. Chiefs Linebackers vs Broncos Running Backs

Drue Tranquill
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs lost their signal-caller on defense, Nick Bolton, to a dislocated wrist injury that will require him to miss 2 months of game action. Replacing him is former Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Drue Tranquill. The Chiefs acquired Tranquill in free agency to reinforce possibly the greatest strength on that side of the ball. He has exceeded expectations by being the team leader in total tackles (37) and adding 2.5 sacks. The other two Chiefs starting linebackers, Willie Gay and Leo Chenal, are going to have to step up in Bolton’s absence as well. All 3 of them have been an essential reason why the Chiefs' defense has been a force to start the season.

The Denver Broncos are ranked 17th in NFL rushing yards as a team. Their lead running back, Javonte Williams, is coming off of his most productive game of the season against the Green Bay Packers. He had a season-high in carries (15), yards (82), and yards per carry (5.5 YPC). It has been a tough road to recovery for the 23 year old after a gruesome knee injury a little over a year ago. With his volume increasing in the Broncos' offense, he will be eager to get into the end zone for the first time in 2023.

Denver’s backup running back Jaleel McLaughlin has been a nice compliment in the backfield. He averages 6.9 yards per carry. Neither Williams nor McLaughlin were able to find much success when Nick Bolton was the middle linebacker in Week 6. The linebackers will remain a key piece for the Kansas City defense in stopping the rushing attack for Denver.