Here come the Chiefs and there go the Broncos
How could Flacco vs. Mahomes go wrong?
First off, let’s have a moment of silence as Brock Osweiler announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Yeah, I didn’t know that he was theoretically active either. And, yes, Osweiler was yet another fine quarterback assessment from the guru of quarterback evaluation, John Elway.
Back to our regularly scheduled column.
OK, I can see you. The Broncos have won two straight, beating the Chargers, 20-13, and the Titans, 16-0. You’ve also seen the Chiefs lose two in a row.
And “Thursday Night Football” is Kansas City at Denver. The Broncos can pull within a game of first place in the AFC West by beating the Chiefs tonight.
We’ll stop you right there.
The Chiefs are winning tonight. Yes, the Chiefs laid an egg against the Colts two weeks ago. Yes, the Chiefs’ defense has been getting lit up. Yes, Patrick Mahomes has an ankle injury.
It. Does. Not. Matter.
Yes, the Broncos’ defense has looked much improved during the last two games. But how bad is Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota when he gets benched after losing to Denver last week? Mariota, the former Heisman winner, is likely done with Tennessee.
The Broncos defense may be good, but are they really going to hold the explosive Chiefs to fewer than 20 points? The Broncos haven’t held the Chiefs to fewer than 20 points in a game since Nov. 30, 2014.
Broncos fans must miss Alex Smith quite a bit.
Since the Broncos will allow more than 20 points, how good do you feel about Denver’s offense scoring more than 20 points?
During this exciting two-game winning streak, the Broncos have scored a whopping three touchdowns. Ru-roh.
Is Joe Flacco looking like he’s “in his prime,” as Elway predicted? Does Joe Flacco look like he can hang with Mahomes?
Yeah, the Texans’ Carlos Hyde ran for more than 100 yards against the Chiefs last week, keeping Mahomes off the field. But it’s easier for Hyde to run for more than 100 when your quarterback is Deshaun Watson.
If I’m the Chiefs, I’m putting eight in the box, and daring Flacco to beat me.
Offensively, were I Mahomes, I would keep getting the ball to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The Broncos can’t double-team both of them. (Imagine if the Chiefs had Sammy Watkins.)
The Broncos’ two-game win streak was fun, but all good things must come to an end.
Around the league
• The Redskins nip the Dolphins, 17-16, when Miami goes for the 2-point conversion — and fails — during the final minutes. While the Redskins finally win, Miami maintains its pursuit of perfection at 0-5. Tua Tagovailoa might consider quitting football before being drafted by the Dolphins.
• I just noticed this. The Raiders are in second place in the AFC West. Oakland is 3-2. Wow.
• All Baker Mayfield commercials have to be pulled from TV until the Browns (2-4) are at .500 or better.
• Is Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on his way out? With his contract expiring at the end of this season and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley’s stock rising by the day, the ax watch is on.
• The two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL are the New England Patriots (no surprise) and the San Francisco 49ers (whoo-hoo). Come on, I was a freshman in college the last time the Niners were 5-0. Joe Montana was the quarterback and Jerry Rice was pretty good at wide receiver.
Games to watch
• Vikings at Lions … This is a good matchup and the Lions have to be hacked at getting hosed by the stripes last week.
• Saints at Bears … No Brees? No problem. Except against the Bears’ defense.
• Patriots at Jets … Just kidding.
- Patriots (6-0) … Yawn
- Packers (5-1) … R-E-L-A-X.
- Chiefs (4-2) … Don’t panic.
- Seahawks (5-1) … Wilson MVP?
- 49ers (5-0) … Finally, a pass rush.
- Dolphins (0-5) … Try to try, guys.
- Bengals (0-6) … Apparently still in the league.
- Redskins (1-5) … Fire Snyder.
- Falcons (1-5) … Lost to Arizona?
- NFL refs … ‘Nuff said.