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'It's going to be different': Drew Lock prepares for homecoming trip to KC as Broncos look to snap skid vs. Chiefs

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Drew Lock once led the Missouri Tigers to a 20-16 win over BYU at Arrowhead Stadium.

It wasn't the Lee's Summit, Missouri native's first trip to the Chiefs' home stadium.

He's been there for Chiefs playoff games, too. A Peyton Manning-led Colts team beat Kansas City there in 2004, and Joe Flacco's Ravens won in Arrowhead during the 2010 postseason.

Lock will return again this weekend — and for the first time, he won't be rooting for a Chiefs victory.

As the Broncos' starting quarterback, Lock will aim to snap his childhood team's eight-game winning streak against Denver.

"I think we'll all make a little too much of it," said Lock, aiming to lower the hype around his first trip to Arrowhead with the Broncos. "It's just another football game. I've got to prep like I did the first two weeks and just be ready to go."

But Lock admitted that playing for the Broncos in front of his friends and family — many of whom are/were Chiefs fans — is "going to be different."

"I hope that if they walk in there with a Broncos jersey that's got a '3' on it that they only cheer for the Broncos, because I would appreciate that a lot," Lock joked when asked if his friends and family may secretly cheer for the Chiefs. "It's already going to be loud enough as is, so maybe if we can turn over 50 of the Chiefs fans that would have been in there, it'll help us out in the long run."

Lock is up for Rookie of the Week honors after his 300-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Texans, and he may need a similar performance to outduel 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes.

"Last year when he was the MVP, I was at home and got to hear all about Patrick and how well he did, rightfully so," Lock said. "He had one heck of a year, and they were playing some really good football. My friends definitely think he is a very good quarterback."

Lock, though, isn't heading back home to prove he's better than Mahomes — or to show the Chiefs that they should've waited to draft him this season.

"It's probably going to be hard for me to change their mind when you have an MVP quarterback on your team, unless one day that ends up happening with me," Lock said. "No, Patrick is their guy and I'm just here to prove myself to the guys in this locker room and keep proving it to everyone around here that I should be the guy for this job."

If he can help the Broncos beat the Chiefs for the first time since Week 2 of the 2015 season, he'll stake his claim.

He'll need to lead a far more efficient Broncos offense than the one that showed up in Week 7 vs. the Chiefs. After winning two consecutive games, the Broncos had a chance to pull within one game of Kansas City when they hosted the Chiefs for "Thursday Night Football."

Instead, the offense mustered just six points and 205 yards of offense and went 1-of-13 on third down.

There could be reason for hope, however. Lock led the offense to its highest scoring output since Week 7 of 2018, and the offense has scored at least 23 points in consecutive weeks.

"Well, there's no more important position in all of sports than the quarterback in football," Fangio said. "I'm saying all [of] sports. If he plays good, you always have a chance. You feel like you can win high-scoring games or [in] tight games in the fourth quarter, you've got a chance. It's important.

Against the Texans, Lock led the Broncos to scores on their first five drives.

The challenge will be more difficult in Kansas City. The Broncos have won just three of 17 games in Arrowhead in the month of December, including a 2-of-9 stretch since 1995.

Add in Lock's homecoming, and the intensity increases.

"Drew's just got to be able to handle that," said Fangio of the pressure Lock will face playing in his hometown. "He's going to have to do that once a year now."

Fangio trailed off. Lock, just two starts into his career, still has a bit to prove before he earns the nod as the team's long-term starter.

The same goes for any potential rivalry between Lock and Mahomes.

"I'm not ready to go there yet, but hopefully," Fangio said.

But Lock will relish the challenges that accompany this weekend: to face off against the team for which he grew up rooting, to try to convert Chiefs fans into Broncos supporters, to try to prove he can lead Denver forward.

"I think that's pretty cool to be able to have that opportunity just to go home and play against the Chiefs and being in front of some of your friends and family," Lock said.

And while it's business as usual for now, his mindset may change with a win.

"I'm going to do the same thing Kareem did," said Lock, referencing Kareem Jackson's trip back to Houston last week. "I'm going to keep it very simple, very not about me and very, 'it's another game that we've got to go play and we've got to go try win.' If it does end up happening where we win, I think guys will celebrate me like they did with Kareem."

Should Lock lead Denver to victory, he'll do more than improve to 3-0 as a starter and help the Broncos improve to 6-8. He'll also take another step toward proving he's Denver's long-term answer at quarterback.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told Denver media on Wednesday that if Lock finds success, it's good for football.

"I think he's doing a great job," Reid said. "I'm pulling for him; the problem, is we're playing him. I just think he's done a heck of a job. I think it's great for the National Football League that they've got these young quarterbacks. It's a beautiful thing."

Fangio, who said he think Lock has handled the hype with the right perspective, had a different thought on the matter.

"To hell with the league," Fangio joked. "It's good for the Broncos."

Lock may soon prove just how good it can be.

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