Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) at Denver Broncos (2-1)
Through 3 games, the Chiefs have been remarkably good on offense, but they’ve simultaneously been remarkably bad on defense. Much has been made of their offense, which has picked up a first down or touchdown on a ridiculous 50.28% of its offensive snaps, but their defense is making opponent offenses look almost as good, allowing a first down or touchdown on 48.82% of their snaps.
Not only would those numbers both be the highest in recent memory on either side of the ball over the course of a full season, they are significantly higher than the 2nd highest numbers in the league right now (45.23% first down rate, 42.86% first down rate allowed). The Chiefs could easily end up with statistically the best offense and the worst defense in the league when all is said and done, but at some point both of those numbers are going to come back to earth a little bit, just based off the law of averages. The Chiefs’ offense got out to a really hot start last year before fading as opposing teams caught on to their tendencies better, while their defense will be boosted at some point by the return of safety Eric Berry from injury.
As a result of their defensive struggles, they have not been blowing out their opponents, even with the first quarter leads they’ve jumped out to with their offense. They won by 10 in Los Angeles against the Chiefs, but lost the first down battle 33 to 19, and they won by 11 against the 49ers last week, but the 49ers had a touchdown that would have cut it to a 7 point game with 5 minutes left taken off the board by penalty, so neither of those games were really blowouts.
Despite that, they are favored by 4.5 points on the road against a solid Denver team. This line is the equivalent of the Broncos being 10-10.5 point underdogs in Kansas City, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because the 49ers were just 6.5 or 7 point underdogs in Kansas City last week and they came close to covering. That’s partially because the Chiefs have been playing it much more conservative in the second half with the lead, but if the Broncos are down two scores late, I don’t trust the Kansas City defense to keep the Broncos from getting a backdoor cover. I think the Broncos have a good chance to make this a game though. We’re getting too much line value with the Broncos at +4.5 to pass on.
Kansas City Chiefs 26 Denver Broncos 24
Pick against the spread: Denver +4.5