ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Will Parks continues to impress this season, providing physicality in the secondary. Is he ready to make a difference against the league's most prolific offense?
It's time to find out.
Darian Stewart will not play against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, sidelined after suffering three separate neck stingers in games against Baltimore, the Rams and Cardinals. He told Denver7, "I am improving. It's getting much better. I just need to rest this week."
With Stewart out, Parks' role expands. He will enter the game with confidence.
"It's not like jingle bells around here. Guys are going to work," Parks said earlier this week. "It's a must win, we gotta win, we will win in K.C. That's all we have to think about."
Parks has improved this season. He logged a season-high 60 snaps against Arizona, playing arguably his best game. The challenge will be in coverage. Will he be tasked with slowing down tight end Travis Kelce? The Broncos contained Kelce earlier this season before the final two drives.
"He brings unique versatility," safety Justin Simmons said. "I am excited to see him out there."
Ray of Hope
Broncos linebacker Shane Ray told me, "I want to play." His high ankle sprain healed enough to allow him to participate during the open media viewing Friday. Ray grew up in the Kansas City area and would love to help the Broncos pull off their biggest win of the season. He is listed as doubtful on the injury report.
Mahomes Alone in Pocket
The Chiefs rank first in the NFL with 44 plays of more than 20 yards. That includes 34 through the air. The Broncos know Patrick Mahomes will get his share of chunk yards, but must take risks. The one thing Mahomes has not experienced this season is consistent pressure. The Chiefs have yielded an NFL-low eight sacks. Defensive coordinator Joe Woods is preaching for the defenders to "rush together." His point? Don't lose the outside edge, pursue Mahomes without getting behind him, allowing him to scramble from the pocket. The key is producing an inside push from Domata Peko, Derek Wolfe and Adam Gotsis.
"He had like 230 yards passing out of the pocket," Peko said. "We have to get him off his mark and keep him from getting loose. And we have to hit him."
With Royce Freeman ruled out for Sunday's game with an ankle sprain, I would not be surprised if the Broncos activate practice squad running back Jeremy McNichols. ... Veteran cornerback Adam Jones will return this week, and told me he's ready to handle punt return duties. ... Right tackle Jared Veldheer (knee) and receiver DaeSean Hamilton will not play Sunday because of injuries.