Led by MVP favorite Peyton Manning, the Broncos have a chance to close out the regular season with 11 straight wins and have already proved they will be the hottest team heading into playoff time. Denver still has a chance to gain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but they have yet to even secure a first-round bye.
On the other end, the Chiefs are just looking to give themselves something to believe in for next season, as an unknown offense has translated into them posting a league-worst record of 2-13. Thankfully for Kansas City, the season is just one game from being over.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know for this Chiefs-Broncos showdown.
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.
When: Sunday, Dec. 30 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Listen: Sirius XM Radio: 113 or online at Audio Pass
Spread Info: Broncos (-16), courtesy of Bovada
What’s at Stake?
The Broncos can claim the AFC's top playoff seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win and a Texans loss to the Colts. But regardless, a win secures a first-round bye for Denver.
If the Pats lose, though, that locks up a first-round bye for Denver.
The Chiefs are still in contention for the top pick in April's draft, but regardless they'll be picking in the top two picks as they're tied at the bottom of the rankings with the 2-13 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Chiefs Injury Report (via USA Today, as of Dec. 25)
Terrance Copper (arm), WR, questionable
Tyson Jackson (foot), DE, questionable
Tony Moeaki (head), TE, questionable
Russ Hochstein (back), G, questionable
Abram Elam (quadricep), S, questionable
Steve Breaston (knee), WR, questionable
Broncos Injury Report (via USA Today, as of Dec. 25)
Chris Gronkowski (hamstring), RB, questionable
Tracy Porter (head), CB, questionable
Chris Kuper (ankle), G, questionable
Joe Mays (ankle), LB, out
Mario Fannin (achilles), RB, out
Fantasy Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em and Sleeper
Start: Knowshon Moreno
When Broncos running back Willis McGahee was ruled out for the season earlier this year, many expected the run game to crumble and there to be too much weight on Manning's shoulders. Those same people counted out Knowshon Moreno, who didn't impress with chances early in his career to become the starter.
Then he blew up.
Moreno has notched at least 20 carries each game since then, and racked up 469 yards in those five games. With the Broncos likely gaining an early lead and holding it for the game, Moreno will likely get his chances to enter the end zone early and often.
Sit: Demaryius Thomas
Peyton Manning has done a magnificent job creating fantasy options with his receivers, but he hasn't forgotten about Demaryius Thomas, who is the sixth-best fantasy receiver according to ESPN. But he won't have a big statistical day Sunday.
Thomas was fantasy relevant in last Sunday's win over the Browns with more than 100 yards and a score, but only notched nine points combined in the two previous games.
Plus, Manning will be more focused on getting his secondary receivers more touches so they can be more motivated heading into the playoffs. He will want all engines running well, and he knows Thomas will be even if he doesn't get him a touchdown Sunday.
Sleeper: Jacob Tamme
I hate to go one-two-three with the Broncos on this fantasy analysis, but there's no avoiding that Kansas City's lone fantasy player is Jamaal Charles, who is a perennial starter. But regardless, Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme is someone to keep your eye on.
Many expected Manning to turn Tamme into a Dallas Clark breed, due to their previous ties in Indianapolis. Despite the team's success and Tamme's integration as a starter, that hasn't exactly happened statistically due to Joel Dreessen's emergence.
But heading into playoff time, Manning will want as many end-zone targets as possible and there's no one on his list of pass-catchers he would like to incorporate more than Tamme. Look for a goal-line set in this game that gives Tamme looks at catching touchdowns in the red zone.
What They're Saying
Peyton Manning has been hotly talked about as the favorite for the NFL's Most Valuable Player award, and he's finally received a ringing endorsement from his head coach.
According to Mike Kils of the Denver Post, John Fox stated his reason for endorsing his star quarterback for MVP.
I think what's unique about Peyton ... he's done it in a new city with a new team. At that position in my personal opinion that's what separates him from the rest of the field."
Fox has a point. The difference Manning made on the Colts, both present and absent, showed his value, and it's been more of the same during his time in Colorado.
Broncos Player to Watch: Von Miller
While the NFL single-season sack record may be out of Broncos linebacker Von Miller's reach, one impressive feat came into his grasp last week.
He broke teammate Elvis Dumervil's Broncos franchise record of 17 sacks in just his second season.
Miller is making his case for Defensive Player of the Year, but has stiff competition in Aldon Smith and J.J. Watt. He will have to boast another incredible and dominant game Sunday to stay in the running.
Chiefs Player to Watch: Peyton Hillis
When Peyton Hillis arrived in Kansas City, his pairing with Jamaal Charles was expected to be one of the best, if not the best, one-two back combinations in the NFL.
It hasn't exactly panned out that way, but Hillis impressed with the unusual 15 carries he received in Sunday's loss as he surpassed 100 yards.
If Hillis continues to do more with less and puts another big outing on the stat sheet Sunday, he could be receiving some phone calls from teams looking to fill a starting spot over the offseason.
Key Matchup: Broncos Front Seven vs. Chiefs Running Game
Glance at their 2-13 record and you would think the Chiefs are just a team that will roll over. But after further review, they could be a tougher club to beat than they let on.
Kansas City made the playoff-bound Colts do everything in their power to leave town with a 20-13 victory. Jamaal Charles rushed for 226 yards as the offense hung up more than 500 yards.
Yes, the Kansas City offense.
However, led by Von Miller and a plethora of studs, the Broncos are no pushover up front. It'll be interesting to see if Charles can continue his blistering play from last week and bring a stellar game with him to Mile High.
The only chance the Chiefs had of not getting trounced in this game was the over-played Dec. 21 Mayan apocalypse. And it looks like that won't keep them from facing the hottest team in the NFL.
Expect this to look more like a playoff tune-up in the second half as the final outcome will be well decided.
Broncos 38, Chiefs 17