Sunday Night Football will feature the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos in a massive AFC West showdown. That division features four teams above .500 and the Chiefs clinging just one win ahead of the other three.
The Broncos themselves are rolling, even with average quarterback play, and have a terrific shot at playing spoiler against the Chiefs and taking stake atop the AFC West. But, Vic Fangio’s team might be down one of their starters on Sunday — although it might come as a breath of fresh air to most Denver fans.
The Broncos might be without running back Melvin Gordon as he deals with a hip injury
Melvin Gordon surprisingly missed practice on Wednesday with a hip issue and was absent on Thursday. In turn, Fangio mentioned that the Broncos starting running back is “50-50” to go Sunday night against the Chiefs.
Gordon left the game against the Los Angeles Chargers briefly on Sunday but was able to return and finish with 83 yards on 17 carries. Gordon has been a steady rock for the Broncos’ offense on the year.
He has put together 605 yards and five scores while splitting time with rookie Javonte Williams. Gordon has 50 or more yards in six games and has remained the lead back throughout the season.
But, if he can’t go, it will be Williams’ turn to take over the duties in a move that Broncos fans have been waiting for.
Then on Friday, Gordon was downgraded to doubtful, a sign that his chances of suiting up Sunday are highly unlikely.
That doesn’t sound good at all, and it might be time to unleash the Broncos’ prized rookie finally.
Denver fans can finally get what they want if Gordon misses the game against the Chiefs
The Broncos selected Williams in the 2nd round of the 2021 NFL Draft as the next starting running back. However, Gordon has played well and hasn’t done anything to hand over the job just yet.
Still, Williams has received a fair share of the workload. The rookie has 10 or more carries in six games and posted his first 100-yard rushing game in the victory against the Dallas Cowboys.
Williams has flashed his potential time and time again, and if Gordon doesn’t go, this might be the time for him to snag the job and remain the lead back.
Williams has rushed for 568 yards and two scores on the season while adding 193 yards and 27 catches in the passing game. The former North Carolina star has been impressive all year, and the Gordon-Williams tandem has worked out well for the 14th best rushing attack in the NFL.
Nonetheless, Broncos fans are eagerly waiting for Williams to be the guy — and his time is coming soon. Could it begin this week against the Chiefs defense that frustrated Dak Prescott?
It all hinges on the status of Gordon but being labeled 50-50 just days before the game doesn’t bode too well.
The AFC West is up for grabs as the Broncos and Chiefs face off in a Sunday night showdown
As the standings sit heading into Week 13, the Broncos and Raiders sit right outside the playoff picture. The Chiefs are holding tightly onto the AFC West despite a slow start to the year, and the Chargers are hanging on to the last Wild Card spot.
A lot can change over the next few weeks, and the Broncos can make a statement by defeating the Chiefs on Sunday night at Arrowhead.
The Denver defense has been lethal — as expected — and Teddy Bridgewater has been just good enough to lead them to six victories on the year.
However, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have flipped the switch over the past few weeks and are riding a four-game winning streak coming into this one.
A Broncos win could vault them to the top of the division, and a loss could send them further down the playoff picture in the tight AFC race.
Either way, if Gordon can’t go on Sunday, Broncos fans can finally get what they want with a full Javonte Williams workload.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference