Week 18 Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at Broncos (7-9), Empower Field at Mile High, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

Offense

During a 12-game losing skid vs. the Chiefs, Denver’s issue hasn’t been stopping Patrick Mahomes. It’s been keeping up. The Broncos averaged only 15.8 points in those 12 games. Oh, it’s been worse of late: Denver’s averaged 10 points in the last five matchups with Kansas City. Ten points. Total.

Advantage: Chiefs

Defense

If you are forced to watch this one with a Chiefs fan, two precautions must be taken. One, hide all the food in your house. Two, respect their level of postseason anxiety knowing the Chiefs are 1-4 against teams currently in the AFC playoffs. K.C.’s “D” struggles vs. good offensive teams.

Advantage: Broncos

Special teams

Broncos Country loves sweating Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense. Is it too much to ask the Broncos to copy Kansas City’s special teams as well? K.C.’s special teams operation is uncanny again, ranking in the top six in five major statistical categories. They do everything well.

Advantage: Chiefs

Coaching

If the Broncos move on from Vic Fangio, the next candidates should interview the Broncos as much as the Broncos should interview them. Who’s going to be the owner? Who picks the quarterback? There are enough major unknowns that Denver will be down the list of desirable coaching stops in 2022.

Advantage: Chiefs

Intangibles

The Chiefs are playing for a No. 1 seed. The Broncos are playing for diddly squat. Here's hoping Denver moves on from Kareem Jackson, Shelby Harris, Melvin Gordon and Kyle Fuller, among others. None have proven to be winners. Chiefs should roll. Broncos should clean house. 

Advantage: Chiefs

Klee’s prediction: Chiefs (minus-11) 36, Broncos 13 (Straight-up record: 8-7; ATS: 7-8)

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

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