(CBS4) – Sunday will be the final road game of the season for the Denver Broncos. They will take on a Chiefs team that has not only beaten the Broncos eight times in a row, but has dominated the AFC West. Since 2015, the Chiefs are 25-3 in the division and have won the AFC West four consecutive seasons, including this year.
With the division out of reach, here are the four things matchups to watch for in Sunday’s game.
Broncos Decimated Offensive Line vs Chiefs Defensive Line
The Broncos will lineup on Sunday without two starters on the offense line as Ron Leary and Ja’Wuan James are out with injuries. That means reserve right guard Austin Schlottmann right tackle Elijah Wilkinson will start in their place.
The duo will face a Chiefs pass rush that had nine sacks against the Broncos, as Kansas City routed Denver 30-6 on October 17. The Chiefs are led by seven sacks by Chris Jones and six sacks by Frank Clark.
Justin Simmons vs Travis Kelce
Kansas City’s top target is Travis Kelce and the tight end is a matchup nightmare. He leads the Chiefs with 75 catches for 989 yards and four touchdowns. Kelce is a versatile player who scored as a quarterback in the “wildcat” formation last week.
On passing downs, Justin Simmons will guard Kelce and look to keep him in check. In the first meeting Simmons and the Broncos defense held Kelce to six catches for 44 yards, his lowest receiving output of the season.
Von Miller vs. Mitchell Schwartz
Von Miller said this week that his knee is feeling “way better than it was last week.” That’s good news because getting to the quarterback has been tough for Miller. In the last six games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Miller has 0.5 sacks.
Much of the reason Miller has struggled against Kansas City is due to Chiefs right tackle Mitchell Schwartz. If the Broncos are going to put pressure on Patrick Mahomes, then Miller will have to figure out a way to get past Schwartz.
Chris Harris Jr. vs Tyreek Hill
The knockout blow in the first meeting was the 57-yard touchdown catch by Tyreek Hill over Chris Harris Jr. Other than that, Harris limited Hill’s production. Harris will have to keep Hill out the end zone if the Broncos are going to have a shot at an upset victory on Sunday.