The Chiefs are the paradoxical unstoppable force and the movable object.
Midway in between are the Broncos.
The twain shall meet on Monday night.
The 3-0 Chiefs are reminiscent of the 2013 Broncos and the Broncos of exactly 50 years earlier. The Broncos of 2018 are more suggestive of last season with a 2-1 record.
Those Peyton Manning-inspired Broncos five seasons ago went wild with 49, 41, 37, 52, 51, 35, 33 and 45 points. They produced another 51-point outburst and ended up with 606 points (37.9 points a game)
Manning threw an NFL-record 55 touchdown passes (3.4 average per) as the Broncos won 13 games gushing to the Super Bowl.
Another quarterback with identical initials, P.M., is on pace to shatter the Manning mark.
Patrick Mahomes averaged 4.3 passing touchdowns in the first three games.
Manning tied an NFL record with seven TDs in the opener against the Colts, and added five more in the next two. Patrick has 3, 6, 4 to (sur)pass Peyton 13-12 at this juncture.
Oddly enough, Mahomes’ first start last season as a rookie was in the finale in Denver. He had no touchdowns, but the Chiefs won.
Is Mahomes Manning reincarnate? No. That’s a premature evaluation.
But, consider: Manning threw touchdown passes to eight receivers in 2013. Mahomes already has thrown touchdown passes to nine Chiefs.
Aside: Manning likely will be a witness at the Monday game.
Peyton led the Broncos to seven consecutive victories against the Chiefs from 2012-2015, but the only time in his career he was removed from a game because of injury/inefficiency was on Nov. 15, 2015, in a home loss to the Chiefs.
The Chiefs seek their sixth straight victory over the Broncos.
They have been amazing offensively this year with constant motion creating confusion. The Chiefs have scored 38 points twice (Chargers and 49ers) and 42 against the Steelers.
These Chiefs are averaging 39 points, while the 2013 Broncos had a 37.8 average through the season.
The current Broncos are averaging 20.3 points after beating the Seahawks and the Raiders and fading like a madras shirt in Baltimore.
But, here’s the plot twist:
While the Chiefs rank No. 1 and the Broncos 16 in scoring, the visitors are a crummy 30th in points permitted (30.7 average). The local lads also are 16th (23.3) in that category.
The 1963 Broncos were torched for a 33.6-point average in a 14-game schedule.
The Chiefs are seventh in passing offense, the Broncos 16th again. But the Broncos are third in rushing in the league, the Chiefs 15th.
Defensively, the Broncos are fourth against the run and 22nd against the pass, while the Chiefs are tied for 18th and tied for last.
K.C. intercepted one pass, recovered one fumble and lost another. Mahomes hasn’t been intercepted. Denver has two picks and a fumble recovery, but Case Keenum has been intercepted five times (with only three touchdowns).
So, which team has the edge? The Chiefs, according to the Las Vegas oddsmakers, are consensus five-point favorites.
The over-under total for the game is 56 — the highest predicted combined score of the third week.
The Chiefs (originally the Dallas Texans) possess a 61-54 regular-season record vs. the Broncos, but the Broncos lead the series in Denver, 35-23, and 1-0 in the only postseason game.
Nobody can expect a duplication of the 49-39 Chiefs’ victory of 1964 or the Broncos’ 49-29 victory in 2010.
Yet, the Kansas City 7-3 triumph in Denver in 2011 isn’t expected, either.
The Chiefs have superlative overall receiving and running talent with Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt providing Mahomes an array of choices. The defense, though, isn’t much to behold beyond Justin Houston and Eric Berry, who will be out with a heel injury.
The 116th confrontation of these adversaries will be their most significant — until they oppose each other again on Oct. 28.
Before then, the Chiefs have the Jaguars, the Patriots and the Bengals, while the Broncos are in New Jersey (Jets), at home (Rams) and in Arizona (Cardinals).
The Broncos will have a movable feast on Monday night, but they can’t stop the Super Chief locomotive, which used to pass through Kansas City, Mo., and La Junta., Colo., and the Mahomes Express in a 31-27 defeat.