ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos will head to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday in hopes of earning a key divisional win, and they'll aim to keep their focus on more than just an ongoing stretch against Kansas City that dates back to 2015.
Despite the current 15-game skid against the Chiefs, quarterback Russell Wilson said Denver is approaching the game with a fresh outlook.
"The important thing is that we've got to create a new history," Wilson said after Tuesday's practice. "We have to be able to do that with one play at a time, one moment at a time, one game at a time. … Every game has a history of its own, and we've got to be focused on this one and go win this game."
Right tackle Mike McGlinchey is in his first season with the Broncos, but he knows a win is crucial in turning the divisional contest into a true rivalry for seasons to come.
"It's a division rival, and these guys have been at the top of the division for years now," McGlinchey said. "I think there's a little bit of a history of us not having a lot of success over the last couple years [against them]. We're going to try to change that as best as we can. It provides a lot of challenge [and] a lot of excitement. You can't have a rivalry if it's one-sided, so we've got to do our part to make it a rivalry again."
Rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. has also emerged as a major contributor in his first season with the Broncos, and he's using playing for his teammates as his motivation going into the primetime matchup.
"I haven't been here [and] I've never experienced it," Mims said, "but just knowing the guys that have been here, [I plan to] just go out there and fight for them and play as hard as I can."
Some of the Broncos' returning players, such as safety Kareem Jackson, are ready for their first win against Kansas City after years of close matchups.
Each of the past three matchups between Denver and Kansas City have been decided by less than seven points, and Jackson said that swinging a couple big plays could help the Broncos pull out a momentous win.
"We're confident in the guys in this locker room and the group we have," Jackson said. "It's all about us going and executing. One-score games, that means one or two plays here and there, it can go the other way, so we've got to find a way to make those plays."
Wilson anticipates the 'Thursday Night Football' action becoming a back-and-forth affair and underscored the importance of making the most of big-play opportunities against a talented Kansas City defense.
"We've got to come in the game being physical," Wilson said. "We've got to be able to capitalize on our opportunities when they do match up and man up and when it's there take it — take the easy ones, too. And just, don't blink. It's going to be a game that's going to go back and forth and we've got to be the ones who end up on top."
Along with highlighting the need for big plays, Wilson stressed the importance of clean execution and composure throughout the game.
"We've got to play great football," Wilson said. "We've got to play clean, we've got to be focused on this year, we've got to be focused on this moment. … I think the best thing we can do is stay poised."
PAYTON EMPHASIZES IMPORTANCE OF STARTING FAST
In its first year in Head Coach Sean Payton's system, Denver's offense has become adept at finding its groove — and the end zone — early. The Broncos lead the AFC with 27 points scored on their opening possessions this season and have used their fast starts out of the gate to build halftime leads.
Head Coach Sean Payton said playing great football in the first half and securing a halftime lead will become even more important on "Thursday Night Football," if history is any indication.
"If I gave you Sunday halftime lead win percentage—so the normal timeslot games on Sunday — [who's] winning at the half, and who wins the game, it's probably in the 60-some percentile," Payton said. "… What's unusual is on Thursday nights is it spikes. I just finished talking about fast starts — it's important."