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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3. Steve Spagnuolo vs Sean Payton

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

To this point in the 2023 NFL season, Kansas City’s defense has been the most consistent unit for the team. Overseeing this side of the ball is the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. They are flourishing at keeping opposing offenses from finding much success. Across the NFL, the Chiefs are ranked in the top 10 in almost every defensive team metric. This includes allowing the second-fewest points per game (15.0 PPG). Through 7 games thus far this has been the best defense in the Patrick Mahomes era. Spagnuolo is the guiding force behind the admirable play Kansas City Chiefs fans have enjoyed. 

Broncos’ head coach Sean Payton handles the offensive play-calling. It may not always be pretty, but Denver's offense has performed well with the exception of a couple of games. The Broncos' defense on the other hand is tied for last place in the NFL in points allowed per game (31.0 PPG) while also giving up the most yards per game to opponents by a wide margin (424.7 YPG). Needless to say, Denver’s offense under Payton has been the shining light for their team. He has helped to revitalize quarterback Russell Wilson’s career. Wide receiver Courtland Sutton has 5 receiving touchdowns through 7 games. Lead running back Javonte Williams is also getting healthier by the week. 

Sean Payton’s offense will be motivated to have a redemption game versus Steve Spagnuolo’s defense after being kept scoreless for most of the game in Week 6. We may see a close-fought, gritty divisional fight. Alternatively, this game can also just as well be on the brink of a blowout by halftime. More than any other key matchup, Payton versus Spagnuolo decides what type of game we will see.

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