Everything you need to know to watch the Chiefs take on the Broncos in Week 18.
If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.
The final weekend of the NFL’s first 18-week season gets underway with the Kansas City Chiefs on the road to face the Denver Broncos. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN — locally on KMBC/9.
SB Nation’s Reacts tool monitors what NFL fans all over the country think about their favorite teams. You can join the chorus of voices who weigh in on the Chiefs every week by signing up here. All it takes is an email address and a few minutes of your time each week.
The defending AFC champions had planned to come into this game with a nine-game winning streak that would make it possible for them to clinch the AFC’s first postseason seed with a win against Denver. But the Cincinnati Bengals had other ideas, handing the Chiefs a 34-31 road defeat on Sunday.
So now, Kansas City needs a win over the Broncos — along with a Tennessee Titans loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday — to claim the first seed. The Chiefs will be locked into the second seed if the Titans win. But if the Broncos win on Saturday, Kansas City would end up with the second, third or fourth seeds — most likely the third or fourth.
In contrast, Denver is now out of the playoffs — but the team began its season with high expectations. After opening the season 3-0, the Broncos lost four straight before defeating the Washington Football Team to reach 0.500 going into Week 9. Then over the next three games, they defeated both the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers before going 1-4 down the stretch — including their 12th consecutive loss to the Chiefs.
Kansas City’s main goals will be to win the game and leave Denver without injuries, since they could easily be playing in the Wild Card round next weekend. Beyond that, the team will want to improve on the offensive and defensive mistakes that led to the loss against Cincinnati in Week 17 — and enter the postseason with momentum.
With nothing to left to win for the 2021 season, the Broncos will mostly be playing for pride — hoping to break Kansas City’s longtime domination over them and finish their disappointing season on a high note.