After last week’s loss to New England, the Denver Broncos need to win their final two games to have a hope of defending their Super Bowl title. The Broncos visit the Kansas City Chiefs, whose playoff hopes also absorbed a hit last week with 19-17 loss on a last-second field goal to Tennessee, on Sunday night.
The Broncos started the season 4-0, but have since lost six of 10 and have gone 1-3 since posting a respectable 7-3 mark. “The only playoff scenario I know is that if we don’t win, we get no chance,” Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak told reporters earlier in the week. Actually that’s not the case as Denver could still earn a playoff berth with a loss and miss the playoffs altogether with two more wins, a scenario that will be much clearer by the time their late Christmas Day game kicks off. Kansas City can clinch a playoff spot with a win or a tie against the Broncos or if the Ravens lose or tie.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Broncos (-1) – Chiefs (-3.5) + home field (-3) = Chiefs -5.5
LINE HISTORY: The Chiefs opened as 4-point home favorites and that number has faded half-point to 3.5. The total opened at 39 and has been bet down one full point to the current number of 37. Check out the complete history here.
WEATHER REPORT: The forecast for Arrowhead Stadium is mostly cloudy skies with a 30 percent chance of showers and temperatures in the mid-50’s. There will be strong winds out of the southwest 10-20 mph.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “There will be a lot in the line in the Broncos-Chiefs clash this Sunday with Kansas City one game back of Oakland in the AFC WFC while Denver is battling for a coveted spot in the Wild Card chase. The Broncos will hope their mastery on the division road (15-2 SU and 14-3 ATS last seventeen AFC West away games) continues, whereas the Chiefs will rely on the success they’ve enjoyed at Arrowhead Stadium in games throughout December (24-10 SU and 20-13-1 ATS since 1997). Not surprise if the last team that scores wins this game.” – Covers Expert Marc Lawrence
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We opened Kansas City as a 4.5-point favourite but took sharp Denver action on that number pushing us to Chiefs -3.5 where we currently sit with solid two way action. Kansas City is getting 58 percent of that action to cover.” – Michael Stewart of CarbonSports.ag.
Denver – QB Trevor Siemian (probable, foot), DE Derek Wolfe (questionable, neck), C Matt Paradis (questionable, hip), DE Jared Crick (questionable, ribs), LB Demarcus Ware (questionable, neck), TE Virgil Green (questionable, concussion), TE A.J. Derby (out, concussion), S T.J. Ward (out, concussion), RB C.J. Anderson (out for season, knee)
Kansas City – LB Justin March (questionable, hand), LB Tampa Hali (questionable, knee), LB Justin Houston (questionable, knee), TE Demetrius Harris (questionable, foot), DB Phillip Gaines (questionable, knee), DL Kendall Reyes (questionable, wrist)
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (8-6 SU, 8-6 ATS, 6-8 OU): Trevor Siemien’s up-and-down campaign continued last week when he completed 25-of-40 throws for 282 yards as Denver was kept out of the end zone for the first time all season in the 16-3 defeat. The Broncos have virtually abandoned their ground game, which has fallen to 27th in the league (91.3 yards a game), as newly-acquired Justin Forsett led the team in rushing with 37 yards on 10 carries against the Patriots. Denver’s defense remains strong as it ranks first in passing defense (183 yards a game), second in total defense and fourth in the NFL in points allowed (18.4).
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (10-4 SU, 7-7 ATS, 4-10 OU): With a chance to clinch a playoff berth in his grasp last week, Chiefs coach Andy Reid pushed all the wrong buttons. Reid watched his team fail to score on a fourth-and-goal try from the 1-yard line, saw Alex Smith throw an interception in the end zone late in the third quarter, and then called a timeout only to let Ryan Succop get another chance to boot what proved to be a 53-yard field goal in the game’s final seconds. The Chiefs have won the past two games in this series led by all-purpose threat Tyreek Hill, who rushed for a score, caught a touchdown pass and returned a kick 87 yards for another score in Kansas City’s 30-27 overtime victory over the Broncos on Nov. 27.
* Broncos are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
* Chiefs are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS loss.
* Under is 5-0 in Broncos last 5 games following a ATS loss.
* Under is 5-1 in Chiefs last 6 games following a straight up loss.
* Road team is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The home favorite Chiefs are getting 67 percent of the wagers from Covers users and the over is getting 54 percent of the Over/Under action. View full consensus date here.