The Broncos and Chiefs will meet Sunday for the first time since Cairo Santos’ game winner

Since that kick doinked off the left upright and in, the Broncos have seen themselves fall out of the AFC playoff picture.

Kansas City Chiefs placekicker Cairo Santos (5) kicks a field goal in overtime to win the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO, November 27, 2016.
Photo by Gabriel Christus

Three or four inches was the difference in the game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs the last time the teams met on Nov. 27. With 5 seconds remaining in overtime and the score tied, Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos lined up a 34-yard field goal attempt.

I’ll bet you remember how it went.

Since that kick doinked off the left upright and in, the Broncos have seen themselves fall out of the AFC playoff picture. They’ve lost three of their last four games, with their only win coming against a Jaguars team that fired their coach earlier this week.

The margin for error is so small in the NFL, which plays the fewest regular-season games of any of North America’s five major pro sports leagues. The Chiefs are living proof of this. They are 8-3 in games decided by eight points or less. The Broncos, by contrast, are 3-4.

If Santos had placed that field goal a finger’s length to the left, who knows what the AFC playoff picture might look like? As it stands now, Kansas City is the No. 5 seed with a 10-4 record. Denver, 8-6, is on the outside looking in. The Broncos need to beat the Chiefs then Raiders in their final two games and get some help. It’s not looking good.

“Football is a game of inches” is a tired cliche. It’s also true.

The Von Miller oversized glasses matchup to keep an eye on

Tyreek Hill vs. anybody fast enough to tackle him.

Before Santos’ ricochet game winner, the story of that Nov. 27 game was Chiefs’ do-it-all speedster Tyreek Hill. Hill, a rookie fifth rounder, scored all three Kansas City touchdowns in that last contest. He took a kickoff back 87 yards for a score, ran another one in from 3 yards out and sent the game to overtime with his 3-yard touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter.

The man can flat-out fly.

He’s scored 10 touchdowns already. If you’re wondering how he fell to the fifth round in April’s draft, well, this is where it gets ugly.

In August 2015, Hill pleaded guilty to choking his pregnant girlfriend. He was sentenced to three years’ probation, fined $500 plus fees and ordered to pay $263.14 in restitution for the domestic abuse. Hill didn’t serve any jail time.

How to watch the game

When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City

TV: NBC

The line

Denver -3 1/2

The pick

Broncos 17, Chiefs 10

Subscribe to Denverite’s weekly sports newsletter here.

 

Christian Clark

Author: Christian Clark

Christian Clark covers sports. He's worked for outlets that include the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Oklahoman, Columbia Missourian and Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine. He likes music and Mexican food. Lots and lots of Mexican food. Got questions? Tips? You can reach him at cclark@denverite.com.