Monday Night Football Preview
Chiefs -5 | Over/Under 55
Monday Night Football brings us an AFC West showdown as the Chiefs travel to Mile High to take on the Broncos. It’s the Chiefs 3rd road game from the first 4 weeks, in stark contrast to the Broncos and their 3rd home game. As you might expect from 2 franchises who play each other at least twice a season, these rivals have met 116 times, with the Chiefs hold a slight 61-55 edge. The last matchup came on the final day of 2017, a 27-24 win to Kansas City in Pat Mahomes’ first NFL start.
Chiefs at Broncos
Chiefs -5 | Over / Under 55
Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
The Chiefs have to be the second biggest surprise of this young season, the first being that Miami is also 3-0. Those 2 teams are 1 of only 3 sides that remain undefeated, along with the LA Rams, which is actually no surprise at all. In doing so, Kansas City has taken down the Chargers and Steelers on the road, beating San Fran at Arrowhead, and putting 39.3 points on the board per game. They have easily become the highest scoring team in the NFL, by a +4.3 margin over those same LA Rams.
Why They Will Win
The Pat Mahomes hype is in full swing as evidenced by this tweet from our very own Derek Wiley.
Just had a guy trade DeAndre Hopkins for Pat Mahomes in one of my home leagues…
How can anyone think that is a good deal?
— Derek Wiley (@dwiley1223) September 30, 2018
That is crazy, but what’s equally crazy is that Mahomes, with just 4 career starts to his name, now holds an NFL record for most touchdowns thrown after the first 3 games of a season with 13. And he’s done it without throwing a single interception this season. He’s currently on track to finish with 331 completions, 4,778 yards, and 69 touchdowns. And he’s throwing a TD every 7.1 passing attempts. For most, you would say the numbers aren’t sustainable but when you’re throwing to an offensive corps of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins with Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware chipping in from the backfield, Pat would feel awful good about his chances.
And Why They Won’t
Last years NFL rushing leader, Kareem Hunt, has fallen away thanks to the play of the rest of his offense. The Chiefs are averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground, but Hunt is contributing just 56 and only had the 1 reception for 5 yards all year. In week 2 against Pittsburgh, he rushed for 75 yards but otherwise, he hasn’t cracked 50. Last week against the 49ers, he had 2 rushing scores but otherwise, he hasn’t got in the endzone despite the team scoring so many points. The Chiefs offense is a force to be reckoned with in the early goings, but they need to get Hunt more involved going forward.
Denver Broncos (2-1)
Sitting at 2-1 on the year, the Broncos trail only the Chiefs for the lead in the AFC West. They will want to get a win at home this week or risk letting Kansas City get a very handy buffer in the division title race. They let one get away last week against the Ravens when Joe Flacco picked apart the Broncos defense for 277 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions on a wet afternoon in Baltimore.
Why They Will Win
The Kansas defense has been getting destroyed all year. While Mahomes and co. are putting up 39.3 points per game, the Chiefs have also conceded 30.7 points and a league-worst 474 yards per game. 111 of those each week have come on the ground. The Broncos rookie duo of Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay have been instrumental in leading the team to a top 3 rushing average of 144.7 per game.
The Chiefs have been winning through offense because they’ve had to. If the offensive unit falters on Monday, the Broncos might just run the ball down their oppositions throat all night.
And Why They Won’t
Can the Broncos match the Chiefs punch for punch? Kansas City lowest score this season is 38 points, a feat they’ve achieved twice. Meanwhile, Denver hasn’t hit the 30 point barrier since week 2 of the 2017 season when they hung 42 on the Cowboys. That’s 17 straight games. Case Keenum is averaging 247 passing yards per game with 3 total touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Demaryius Thomas is having a quiet start to the season with just 16 catches and 144 total yards. Worse, Courtland Sutton has 5 receptions to this point. Emmanuel Sanders is the only guy doing work. He’s had 269 yards on 19 receptions, 1 touchdown and added another score on the ground.
It will be tough to keep up with the Chiefs offense as is but the job has been made all the more difficult with starting tight end Jake Butt being lost for the year with a torn ACL.
The running game. As much as the focus is on Pat Mahomes this year, it was the same with Kareem Hunt last year. On the other side of the field, the 2 rookies have carried this team to their winning record. Whichever team gets on top will continue to feed their running backs. And in football, when you control the tempo of the game, more often than not, the result goes your way.
I can’t see Mahomes slowing down just yet, especially if he keeps making plays like this.
The kid is on fire and has the far better pieces around him than Keenum has at the Broncos. Final: Kansas City 31, Denver 20
I’m sure this will shock no one, but Kansas City are 3-0 ATS this season. Their high scoring offense and upset wins have covered every start thrown at them this year. Denver sits at the very opposite end of the scale with a 0-2-1 record ATS. The Chiefs start this one as 5 point favorites, so I’m not sure I see the trend of either team changing just yet.
Total Points Over/Under
Just like above, the Chiefs have blasted the Over/Under on all 3 occasions this year. Their games have gone over by an average of 19 points. However, as mentioned earlier, Denver isn’t a high-scoring team. They’ve hit the under in 2 of their 3 games so far this season. The O/U in this one sits at a high 55 points, almost the same as last weeks Monday game. MyBookie is predicting another high scoring affair. I’m just not sure I see Denver complying in order for that to happen but if there was a defense that would let that happen, it’s this Chiefs one.
Chiefs -5 (-115)
Here are a couple of my favorite prop bets of the week.
- Longest Touchdown: Over 52.5 yards (-115) – I hit the mark with this one last week thanks to Jesse James’ brutal stiff arm. I’m going to take it again in a game where Tyreek Hill and Emmanuel Sanders will be testing cornerbacks all afternoon.
- Player to Score First Touchdown: Travis Kelce (+750) – In the past 2 games, Kelce has averaged 7.5 catches on 10 targets, 111.5 yards, and a touchdown. The Broncos are giving up 78 yards a game to tight ends from the Ravens, Raiders, and Seahawks. Kelce is far and away better than anything those teams have. And Will Dissly was the first scorer against Denver in week 1, so there’s that.
Daniel is an up and coming writer and longtime lover of the NFL. Even though he is Australian, he is a long-suffering Philly Eagles fan and has played Fantasy Football for over 10 years. Since the early games kick off around 4am Monday morning in Australia, he will regularly be found on the couch, with a large coffee in hand and watching Redzone through bleary eyes. Daniel married the love of his life in 2012, and the couple are happily raising twin boys (also as Eagles fans, hopefully).