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How Denver Broncos matches up against Chiefs and predictions

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Chiefs (6-1) at Broncos (2-5)

When: 2:25 p.m. MT, Sunday

Where: Empower Field at Mile High

Radio/TV: 850 AM, 94.1 FM/CBS

Broncos-Opponent series: Broncos are 54-72 in 126 regular-season games dating back to 1960; the Broncos lost 19-8 in the last meeting, on Oct. 12 in Kansas City, and have lost 16 in a row to their rival.

In the spotlight

Jaleel McLaughlin had Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker shaken. In the first quarter of last week’s 19-17 win, the Broncos rookie running back didn’t just cut back once but twice, as Walker was put on skates while McLaughlin burst up the middle for an 11-yard gain.

In the third quarter, third-year back Javonte Williams showed off his rejuvenated legs, as he steamrolled across the field for a 21-yard run.

This season, the Broncos haven’t run the ball consistently. But when they do, Williams and McLaughlin’s ability to create explosive plays has been noticeable. As McLaughlin continues to grow comfortable as a pro and Williams inches closer to 100% health, this duo could allow Denver to be the “physical, running football team” players and coaches talked about in August.

“All three of our running backs are doing a great job (including Samaje Perine),” right guard Quinn Meinrez said. “It’s been a lot of fun blocking for everyone.”

Against the Packers, Williams ran for 82 yards on 15 carries and had three rushes for 10-plus yards. McLaughlin had two rushes that exceeded 10 yards, including a 23-yard gain in the second quarter.

According to Pro Football Focus, Williams and McLaughlin have combined for 14 explosive runs in 2023. Williams is tied with quarterback Russell Wilson for a team-best of eight.

Denver’s run blocking has been essential for these big gains. The Broncos’ offensive line is second in the league in run block win rate, according to ESPN Analytics. 

“Offensive lines in general love running the ball,” Meinrez said. “It was good that we had a bunch called (against Green Bay) and maybe force a few more run calls (in the future).”

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