Behind Enemy Lines: 5 questions with Broncos Wire for Week 17

The Kansas City Chiefs are getting ready to face the Denver Broncos at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 17. This is the second meeting between these two teams and a meeting that comes the week after Denver fired their head coach.

To learn more about Kansas City’s opponent, we spoke with managing editor Jon Heath over at Broncos Wire and asked him a few questions.

Chiefs Wire: Do you think the Broncos' problems stop at Nathaniel Hackett's firing or will they persist with Russell Wilson still at quarterback?

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Broncos Wire: They certainly don’t stop at Hackett’s firing, but he was a big part of the problem. Wilson is probably never going to return to the highest level he once played at, but with a better coach in a better system, he might be good enough for the Broncos to be competitive. Wilson actually nearly led a comeback against KC a few weeks ago, so we’ve seen glimpses of him playing well this year. Denver seems poised to stick with Wilson for at least one more season, and if things go terribly wrong again in 2023, they will have a high first-round pick to use in 2024 (presumably on a quarterback).

Chiefs Wire: Another week, another loaded injury report for Denver. With some of the injuries at OLB, WR and OL, who could the Broncos look for to step up this week?

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Broncos Wire: At OLB, Jonathon Cooper has been a really nice pleasant surprise this year. He’s a solid rotational pass rusher and he’s been a serviceable fill-in starter when called on. At WR, Courtland Sutton is back in the lineup and there’s a chance that Jerry Jeudy might be able to play through his ankle injury. The offensive line is the biggest question mark, not just because of the injuries, but because of the coaching staff. After firing Hackett, Denver also fired two other coaches, including their offensive line coach. We might see a few changes to the offensive line this week, but the Broncos probably won’t leak those changes before Sunday’s game.

Chiefs Wire: What would you like to see from Jerry Rosburg's Broncos in these last two weeks that would make you feel confident the team is heading in the right direction?

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Broncos Wire: Just a competent offense. The defense — outside of a few hiccups — has been solid, and I expect special teams will look good under Rosburg given his ST background. The biggest problem all year for Denver has been their underwhelming offense, and much of the blame for that fell on Hackett and Wilson. With a new (interim) coach, will the team have a spark, and will the offense look rejuvenated? The Broncos should be able to get back on track in 2023 if Wilson is a competent QB. These next two weeks could provide hints on how realistic it is to hope Wilson turns a corner.

Chiefs Wire: Who are some of the names you like as a head-coaching candidate for Denver in 2023?

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Broncos Wire: I don’t think the Broncos are going to instantly become a contender in 2023, so I would be OK with them trading their late first-round pick from the Bradley Chubb trade for Sean Payton. They’ve gotten their last three head coach hires wrong, and they need to fix the problem quickly. To do so, I think they’ll go big. Payton would have a usual amount of draft picks again starting in 2024, and if Wilson doesn’t pan out, they can use a first-round pick on a QB in Payton’s second offseason. Is he a realistic candidate? I don’t know — he might not have any interest in the job — but I would try to make it happen.

Chiefs Wire: Does the Chiefs' run of dominance continue or do the Broncos get an upset in Week 17?

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Broncos Wire: Great question. I think the coaching change will give Denver a bit of a lift, and they obviously want to snap their losing streak against KC. The Chiefs are playing for the No. 1 seed, though, and they have a big advantage playing at home. The Broncos might be able to make it a close game again, but I’m picking the Chiefs to win 27-20.

Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire