After moving into a tie for first place in the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs are starting to gain national attention.
On Monday, the National Football League announced scheduling changes for the week 12 slate of games.
The first matchup of the season between Kansas City and the Denver Broncos has been flexed out to Sunday Night Football on NBC. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
A pair of east coast rivals were scheduled for the primetime slot, but the New York Jets and New England Patriots game will now be played at 3:25 p.m.
The Jets are off to a disappointing start with a 3-7 record, while the Patriots have already played three-night games this year with one more on the schedule.
Kansas City and Denver hold two of the best five records in the NFL this year and currently sit just half a game apart in the AFC West standings.
Denver is coming off five straight AFC West division championships, but the Chiefs and Raiders both pose serious threats to the Broncos streak with a 7-2 record so far.
This won’t be the only primetime matchup between the rivals, as Kansas City was already pegged to host the Broncos on Christmas night, with kickoff also set for 7:30 p.m. on NBC.
Kansas City will play a total of four primetime games by 2016’s end, after a blowout loss in Pittsburgh week four and the upcoming Thursday night game with Oakland.
The Chiefs’ last primetime matchup with Denver sent Kansas City into a tail spin back in 2015, as running back Jamaal Charles fumbled in the closing minutes of regulation to give Denver a 31-24 victory.
Kansas City did get revenge in Denver later that year, with a dominant 29-13 win. The Chiefs victory snapped a seven game losing streak to the Broncos under Andy Reid.
The two rivals will look very different when they matchup, as both quarterbacks who played for Denver last season are gone. Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler’s services have been replaced by rookie Trevor Siemian, and Pro Bowl running back C.J. Anderson will miss the game with a torn meniscus.
Kansas City also has a slightly different look, as Spencer Ware has replaced Jamaal Charles as the lead running back and cornerback Sean Smith left in free agency for Oakland.
Whether or not Pro Bowl linebacker Justin Houston will suit up against Denver remains to be seen. Houston was activated off the injured reserve during the week of Kansas City's game in Carolina, but did not suit up on Sunday.
A healthy Houston against Denver would be a major plus for the defense, especially with the emergence of fellow pass rushers, Dee Ford and Chris Jones.
Kansas City still has one game remaining before the Sunday Night game, while Denver has a bye week.
The Chiefs aim to make it eight wins in a row as they prepare to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with kickoff set for noon at Arrowhead Stadium.
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