Chiefs-Broncos: From 10 down in first meeting to 10-point favorite role for KC

They met only three weeks ago, and the Chiefs faced a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter at Denver before pulling out a victory over the Broncos.

As the AFC West rivals prepare for Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs are a 10-point favorite.

This with the teams coming off victories by identical scores — 45-10 — and Denver’s coming on the road.

But a touchdown and field goal margin is the perceived difference between the Chiefs, who lead the division at an AFC best 6-1, and the 3-4 Broncos.

The details

Broncos at Chiefs

When: Noon at Arrowhead Stadium

TV/radio: CBS (Ch. 5), KCFX (101.1 FM)

Line: Chiefs by 10

“I’ll handle the dirty work”

Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt got off to a slow start this season, at least by the lofty standard he set last year as the NFL rushing leader. But he broke loose against the Broncos earlier this month with 121 rushing yards and a touchdown.

He’s continued to be a force since that game, amassing 253 rushing yards, 167 receiving yards and five total touchdowns, and adding a dimension to the Patrick Mahomes-led offense.

After Sunday’s victory over the Bengals, which featured an amazing 21-yard gain in which Hunt spun free of one defender, leaped another and bulled a third, he summed his role in the offense like this:

“Teams have been watching film on Pat, so, I’m going to make it easy for him,” Hunt said. “I tell him, ‘You do all the cute stuff, and I’ll handle all the dirty work.’”

Gashing the Chiefs

How did Denver jump to a 23-13 lead in the fourth quarter in the first meeting? The Broncos gashed ‘em. Running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman took advantage of superb offensive line play and combined for 136 yards, averaged 6.8 yards per carry, and two touchdowns.

Freeman sustained a high ankle sprain against the Cardinals and is day-to-day, Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. If Freeman can’t start Sunday, Devontae Booker assumed the second running back role.

Also, Mahomes was held to 65 passing yards and completed fewer than 50 percent of his throws in the first half at Denver. He was 21 for 30, including a left-handed completion for a first down, for 239 yards in the second half.

The outcome marked the Chiefs’ sixth straight victory in the rivalry. Denver won the previous seven games.

And there’s the AFC West thing. With a 2-0 record this season, the Chiefs have won 18 of their last 19 games against division opponents.

An oddity in scheduling: The Chiefs will have finished the regular-season series with the Broncos before meeting the Raiders for the first time. The Broncos have yet to play the Chargers.

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Blair Kerkhoff

Blair Kerkhoff covers the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals and college sports for The Star.