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2020 vision: Looking ahead to Denver's Week 13 'Sunday Night Football' matchup vs. the Chiefs

Relive the Broncos' series history with the Chiefs with photographs dating to the teams' AFL roots in the 1960s.

The Broncos' regular-season opener isn't for another few months, but over the next few weeks, DenverBroncos.com will take an early look at each game on the Broncos' 2020 schedule. We don't know how injuries could impact each contest, but we'll present the pressing storylines, matchups, questions and more.

It's never too early to start talking football.

We continue with Denver's Week 13 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Storyline to monitor:

If all goes to plan in Denver, this won't be the last prime-time matchup between Drew Lock and Patrick Mahomes. Lock, who is entering his first full season as a starter, could be poised for a breakout campaign after John Elway and Co. loaded the offense with new talent. In this matchup on "Sunday Night Football," he'll have his best chance of the season to show off how far he's come as a Year 2 player.

Lock would surely take a sophomore campaign that matches that of Mahomes, who threw for 50 touchdowns and won the league MVP award in his first full season as a starter. To accomplish that, Lock will need to have a better showing in this prime-time game in his hometown of Kansas City.

Depending on the outcome of the Week 7 game between these two teams, this will either be a chance for the Broncos to sweep the season series for the first time since 2014 or for Denver to snap a 10-game losing streak to Kansas City. We're certainly hoping for the former.

Player to watch:

TE Travis Kelce

In the Broncos' last trip to Arrowhead, five-time Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce turned in his best game of the season. In several inches of snow, Kelce caught a season-high 11 passes for 142 yards as he consistently found separation against Denver's secondary. He's enjoyed plenty of success against the Broncos during his career, as he's averaged 6.5 catches for 86.2 yards in 11 games vs. Denver. On four occasions, Kelce has posted more than 100 yards in a contest against the Broncos. Slowing the Chiefs is no easy task, as defenses must corral Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and now rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. But slowing those players doesn't matter much if Kelce picks up first downs at will. Denver must have a plan to combat Kelce in this "Sunday Night Football" matchup.

I'm also interested to see what happens if Tyrann Mathieu is lined up against Courtland Sutton again. Last season, Mathieu made a stellar defensive play to knock the ball away from Sutton in the end zone to prevent a touchdown, and Sutton said earlier this offseason that he's still steaming about the missed score. Will Sutton make up for it during this matchup in Kansas City?

The question mark:

Can the Broncos make a statement?

Denver is slated to appear on the back end of a "Monday Night Football" doubleheader in Week 1 and again on "Thursday Night Football" in Week 4. Both games are a chance for the Broncos to play on national TV, but this "Sunday Night Football" showdown against the Chiefs will dwarf both audiences. The main objective of this game — like any other — is to earn a win. But there's no question that on the NFL's biggest stage, the Broncos would be well-served by turning in an impressive performance. Winning in Arrowhead Stadium in December — something just three Broncos quarterbacks have been able to do since the 1990s — would send a message to the AFC West and to the league that this young team is ready to compete for more than just a playoff berth. The pressure of "Sunday Night Football" will be new for players like Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton and Bradley Chubb. Can they live up to the hype?

The last meeting:

In Lock's first game against his hometown Chiefs, he and the offense posted just 251 yards of offense and mustered a single field goal in a 20-3 loss to Kansas City. As the Broncos' offense struggled in the snow, Mahomes and the Chiefs scored on their first three possessions to take a 12-0 lead by the middle of the second quarter. Justin Simmons intercepted Mahomes late in the game, but not much else went right. Mahomes threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, while Lock posted 208 yards and an interception. Phillip Lindsay led the Broncos' rushing attack with seven carries for 32 yards. Denver crossed midfield just once in the first half, and by the time they posted more substantial drives in the fourth quarter, it was too late for a comeback.

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