It’s good to be back in football mode and it’s time to find out if the Kansas City Chiefs are for real, or if 2010 was a fluke. I like the direction the Chiefs are headed in and I believe in the Scott Pioli and Todd Haley regime/philosophy.
With the disclaimer out of the way, I do, however, believe the Chiefs will progress in 2011 as a team, yet take a step back in the win/loss department. I am sticking to my pre-season prediction of 8-8 but definitely think the Chiefs get their first win in the season opener. Check out my schedule rundown.
Although I believe the Chiefs win the game, here are 5 things that worry me about the Buffalo Bills:
The national sports media may still believe the Bills need a new starting quarterback, but Chan Gailey and the Bills believe they have found their man. It was Fitzpatrick who kept the Bills in a ton of close games in 2010, and while it is true that good teams win the close games… Not lose them, Fitzpatrick has proven to me he deserves to be a NFL starting QB.
I’m betting Cincinnati Bengals fans wish they still had him on their roster right now!
Return of the Fumblies?
One of the knocks on Jamaal Charles has been his propensity and susceptibility to the fumble. Charles lost the handle twice in the pre-season finale against the Green Bay Packers. Hope this isn’t a trend.
Chiefs Pre-Season Performance
Many, if not most, Chiefs fans and analysts have questioned Todd Haley’s approach to the pre-season. The Chiefs did not seem to have a single ounce of effort put into pre-seaon matchups. Haley appeared to desire the slow building of player stamina, playing starters deep into the 4th quarter of the final pre-season game. QB Matt Cassel sustained an injury to his ribs in the 2nd quarter and TE Tony Moeaki was lost for the season in the 4th quarter of the game.
Will this team be prepared for a real game?
Yes, I know he has been on this list since its inception of this column early in the 2010 season, but this time it is not for his leadership, abilities, or anything else negative about him. The Chiefs injury report lists Matt Cassel as a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. It appears Matt Cassel will play through the injury to his ribs. This is great news! The rib injury will, however, limit his ability to throw the deep ball, allowing the Bills to focus more on short and intermediate pass routes.
Importance/Pressure of the Game
Yes, these are professional athletes. I know that, but with the tough schedule facing the Chiefs in 2011, a quick start against a lesser opponent is absolutely essential if the Chiefs are to make a run at repeating as AFC West Champs. In 2010, the unlikely week 1 win over the San Diego Chargers immediately vaulted the Chiefs into the conversation as potential division Champs. A loss on Sunday could quickly eliminate the Chiefs as division contenders in the mind of many fans.
Kansas City Chiefs 21 – Buffalo Bills 17
What is your prediction?
Tell me in the comments area below.