Jerry Jeudy Must Produce in Primetime for the Denver Broncos to Compete with the Kansas City Chiefs

The Denver Broncos spent a first-round draft pick on wide receiver Jerry Jeudy in the 2020 NFL Draft. They selected the Alabama alumnus hoping to build an explosive offense to finally compete with their rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. It is true they haven’t defeated Kansas City since November 2015. Despite this, Denver appears poised to compete with the Chiefs more effectively than any time in the past six-plus years. If Denver hopes to win their only primetime game this year, Jerry Jeudy must produce his best game of 2021.

Jerry Jeudy Must Produce in Primetime for the Denver Broncos to Compete with the Kansas City Chiefs

Jerry Jeudy’s 2021: A Year in Review

A high-ankle sprain unceremoniously shortened Jeudy’s 2021 campaign. It kept him out of action after 31 snaps in Week 1 through the conclusion of Week 7. Returning to action in Week 8, Jeudy has posted a fairly disappointing season-long stat-line. If Jeudy intends to salvage his season as an individual, he will need to step up considerably from his 24 catches and 253 yards.

His impressive rookie season saw 52 catches for 856 yards and three touchdowns. He only has six games left this season to improve upon his mediocre numbers so far. He would ostensibly conclude 2021 with 52.8 catches for 556.6 yards at his current pace of 4.8 catches, 50.6 yards per game. This would prove an incredibly disappointing sophomore season for the former first-round pick.

That said, Jerry Jeudy has acted as a focal point for the passing offense in the weeks he has played (with the notable exception of this past week’s victory over the Los Angeles Chargers). Outside of this aforementioned game, Jeudy posted at least four catches and 39 yards in all four other contests. Furthermore, Denver has won four of the five games in which Jeudy made an appearance by an average differential of 12.5 points. His usage thus far this season suggests a heavy dose of the Alabama product could help quarterback Teddy Bridgewater lead the Broncos to their first victory over Kansas City since Peyton Manning was under center.

Jerry Jeudy versus the Kansas City Chiefs

In two career games against the Chiefs, Jeudy has averaged 1.5 catches for 12.5 yards and no touchdowns. A performance on par with his previous two appearances against Kansas City would almost certainly guarantee a Denver loss on Sunday. The good news is Kansas City’s defense is in the bottom half of the league in terms of yards allowed. They have allowed opposing passing offenses to accrue 2,780 passing yards and 18 passing touchdowns. This calculates out to an average of 252.73 passing yards and 1.64 passing touchdowns per game.

Kansas City is near the middle of the league when it comes to points allowed per game. Unfortunately, Jeudy has not yet proven himself a receiver who often scores touchdowns. Instead, he has proven himself more of a yardage receiver. This is typically viewed negatively, but could nonetheless help open up the passing offense for his fellow receivers.

Possible Matchups for Jerry Jeudy

Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed is Kansas City’s only corner to have started and played in all 11 games this season. He has allowed opposing passers to complete 72.9 percent of passes. That 72.9 percent produced 43 completions for 471 yards and three touchdowns. Sneed’s fellow cornerbacks, Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton, have played the most snaps at the position behind Sneed. The former has only allowed catches on 46.3 percent of the 41 passes thrown his way this year. Those 19 receptions total 258 yards and two touchdowns. The latter has allowed catches on 67.6 percent of targets in his direction while only permitting 192 yards by receivers under his coverage. He has yet to allow a touchdown this season.

With high-paid receivers Courtland Suttonand Tim Patrick sure to demand a fair portion of the attention of Kansas City’s secondary, Jeudy is poised for a breakout game. His agility, speed, and route-running abilities far surpass the coverage capabilities of any cornerback on the Chiefs, so regardless of who he matches up against he should be able to create separation. Unfortunately for Jeudy and Broncos Country, getting him the ball at that point is where the difficulty lies. Sneed will likely find himself covering Sutton or Patrick, so Jeudy could very well find himself lining up across from Ward, Fenton, or any of Kansas City’s other corners.

What to Expect on Sunday Night

Since Jeudy returned to the lineup, Courtland Sutton has seen his share of the targets drop considerably. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater both know they must distribute passes more evenly between the team’s top three wideouts. This is especially true if they are to consistently produce points against Kansas City and beyond. Broncos Country should expect to see this equalized distribution in effect on Sunday.

They should also expect to see Jerry Jeudy serve as the focus of the passing attack. With Jeudy hopefully back to a full 100 percent after his ankle injury earlier this year, fans should expect to see his athletic talents in full effect against the middling Kansas City secondary. Denver is not at all likely to defeat Kansas City (9.5-point underdogs). Nonetheless, if Jeudy can lead the offense to more efficient drives than the passing attack has been capable of in recent weeks? The sky is the limit.

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