The Chiefs and the Broncos are squaring off in prime-time Monday night. Here’s four players you should watch.
No. 25 Chris Harris Jr., CB
29 years old, 5-10, 199 pounds, 8th season
Harris is one of the final holdovers from the Broncos’ vaunted No Fly Zone. He’ll likely be responsible for guarding Tyreek Hill. So far this season, Hill has 14 catches for 310 yards — averaging 22.1 yards per catch — and three touchdown catches. Containing the speedy wide receiver will be a tough task for Harris, and Harris even said after Thursday’s practice that Hill is “easily” the hardest Chief to cover. A year ago, though, the Broncos held Hill to just 38 yards in the Oct. 31, 2017 meeting. But that time around, the team had help from Aqib Talib, who’s with the Rams now.
No. 28 Royce Freeman, RB
22 years old, 6-0, 238 pounds, 1st season
The Broncos’ rookie rushing tandem is part Freeman and part Phillip Lindsay. While Freeman has been overshadowed by Lindsay, the undrafted, hometown kid, Monday night could be his time to have a breakout game. Though he’s behind Lindsay on the depth chart, Freeman seems to be a favorite red zone weapon with two touchdowns to Lindsay’s none. The Chiefs have allowed 103.3 rushing yards per game in the last three weeks. Freeman could also be a factor on special teams. He had a blocked punt against the Ravens.
No. 55 Dee Ford, OLB
27 years old, 6-2, 252 pounds, 5th season
The outside linebacker missed the first practice of the week with a groin strain suffered against the 49ers. But he was back Friday as a limited participant, and he fully participated in Saturday’s practice. After a battling a back injury last season, Ford has been healthy and effective through the first three weeks of 2018. He has two sacks for a loss of 13 yards — already matching last year’s total. He also has six quarterback hurries. Entering last week’s game, Ford had nine quarterback pressures, good for sixth among edge rushers in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. At a time when the Chiefs rank 29th in the NFL with just six sacks this season, Ford’s health is especially important.
No. 71 Mitchell Schwartz, OT
29 years old, 6-5, 320 pounds, 7th season
Schwartz holds the key to Mahomes’ health Monday night. The right tackle is just about the only thing separating linebacker and heat-seeking missile Von Miller from the Chiefs’ quarterbacks. Schwartz has been successful against Miller before. Miller hasn’t recorded a sack against the Chiefs in the last three meetings between the two teams. Through three games this season, Miller has four sacks. Meanwhile, Mahomes has only been sacked four times this season, and Schwartz’s protection is a big reason why he’s stayed pretty clean.