Khalil Mack has dominated the Broncos in his career, and might have Von Miller to thank

JJ Stankevitz
NBC Sports Chicago

Khalil Mack, in his six-year NFL career, has 53 sacks. Ten have come against the Denver Broncos

Mack's outlandish play against the Broncos was a staple of his four years with the Oakland Raiders - in addition to those 10 sacks, he had 14 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and three pass break-ups in eight games. His next-highest team-specific totals: 5 1/2 sacks (Chiefs), nine quarterback hits (Chiefs), two forced fumbles (Buccaneers) and two pass break-ups (Chiefs). 

The Broncos team Mack will face Sunday is different than the one he last faced in 2017, though left tackle Garett Bolles is still there. Mack in those two games in 2017 totaled three sacks, three hits and 13 pressures, per Pro Football Focus, though he lined up more over the right tackle and not Bolles at left tackle. 

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Mack will likely square off against Broncos reserve right tackle Elijah Wilkerson, who's slated to fill in for the injured Ja'Wuan James on Sunday. The Broncos trust Wilkerson, but he's only played 65 snaps at tackle in his three-year NFL career. He'll likely get plenty of help, leaving Bolles to go one-on-one against Leonard Floyd for most of the afternoon. 

So the challenge will be a little different for Mack as he plays his ninth game against the Broncos. But Mack pointed to one constant factor on Friday that just might be the fuel behind his incredible production every time he faces Denver: Von Miller

"He's raised my level of play just watching him out there on the field," Mack said. "I look and I see what he's doing and I'm like, ‘OK, I can't let him show me up.' That kinda raises my level of play, and I appreciate him for that."

Mack and Miller aren't really similar players other than one trait - "greatness is great," as Broncos coach Vic Fangio put it. But they're two of the best, if not the two best, edge rushers in the NFL. It's no surprise that two players who're so competitive and so good at what they do would be motivated by each other, while also holding immense respect for one another. 

Miller called Mack a "beast" on a conference call with Chicago media this week, a compliment Mack returned.

"Von is a beast in his own right," Mack said. "Hell of a player. Generational type player. One of the best in the game. You can tell every week, he goes out he's capable of wrecking havoc and tearing up the backfield."

Khalil Mack has dominated the Broncos in his career, and might have Von Miller to thank originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

What to Read Next