KANSAS CITY, MO. -- All signs point toward a loss. Just being honest.
The Broncos boast one offensive touchdown in their last 10 quarters. They treat third downs like they are radioactive plutonium, and rank second in the league in three-and-outs. These problems don't solve easily on the road. Did I mention the Broncos will be without starters Brandon Marshall (left hamstring), T.J. Ward (concussion) and tight ends Virgil Green and A.J. Derby.
And yet, I believe the Broncos will win this game. Call it the reverse logic theory. It applies to my two decades covering major league baseball. Getaway game. Hollow lineup. Facing an ace. And against reason, the offense wins. This feels like that. A champion's last stand to keep hope alive.
To keep their playoff chances flickering, the Broncos must win out, and they need the Dolphins to lose and Kansas City to beat San Diego next Sunday. Also, Pittsburgh needs to hold on and beat Baltimore on Sunday. It's complicated. But possible. It's hard to see the Broncos reaching the postseason. It's easier to see them winning this game, even if it defies logic.
My Take 5 Keys to victory:
Win the turnover battle
Broncos offense owns the copyright on fizzle. They don't need to help the Chiefs with any turnovers. Denver has lost its last two games, losing the turnover battle 5-0. The Broncos have won 29 straight games when they have fewer turnovers than their opponent. So this formula is pretty simple. Take care of the ball Trevor Siemian.
Show creativity offensively
Watch any game this weekend, and you witnessed one gadget play, if not more. The Broncos' lone trick play this season has been a fake punt. Now is the time to take chances. A throw back to the quarterback. A toss sweep pass. A reverse to Emmanuel Sanders. You get the picture. You don't want your season to go to bed with tricks stuffed up the sleeve.
There's no way around this: The Broncos defense must play perfect to win. They know it. It's why frustration has built throughout the season, including four wins in the last 10 games. The defenders can take the anger into the offseason. Sunday, they need to channel it toward Alex Smith. Von Miller is capable of a three-sack game. It could put him back in the hunt for Defensive Player of the Year honors along with the Giants' Landon Collins.
Run a little
Yes, I have advocated abandoning the run in the past. That's because the Patriots were stout upfront. The Chiefs don't stop the run much better than the Broncos. Also, Justin Forsett is more comfortable in the offense. He told me he's looking forward to this night, saying, "It's a game where you feel like you will come off the field bloody from the battle." The conditions could factor into the play calling. It's 62 degrees, but rainy and windy, especially in the first half.
Show a champion's heart
The Broncos didn't win Super Bowl 50 on talent alone. They banded together for a cause greater than the individual. They need summon the unselfishness with laser focus. It might not result in a playoff berth, but winning out leaves a much better spin on the season than 8-8.
Renck's prediction: Broncos 17, Chiefs 16