When every starter in the secondary gets an interception, that is a good day for the defense and last Sunday was a good day for the Kansas City Chiefs. You can produce a lot of explanations for why and how the Chiefs were given the game or got another easy win but the Chiefs went on the damn road and shut out an NFL team. A lot of ineptness went into the Raiders failing to score but the Chiefs’ defense certainly were the main reason why the team got their first definitive win of the season.
Now, the Chiefs look to keeping the streak alive on the big stage. It is a very good feeling as a Chiefs fan to believe that the Chiefs can hold their own on the big stage. At some point, the Indianapolis Colts will get flexed out of their games and rightfully so. I don’t think anyone is making that request for the Chiefs. I still have some concerns leading into the game tomorrow but, when I look at the San Diego Chargers, I see a team with some questions of their own.
I have heard some of the Chiefs calling this game a must-win game and I think that is a mistake. If the Chiefs lose, they will be two games behind the Chargers and the division tie-breaker will go to San Diego. That would be a tough deficit to come back from but the problem with declaring a game a must-win game is that, if you lose said game, where do you go from there?
Similarly, I was calling for the pursuit of Andrew Luck not long ago but the Chiefs did lose 3 of their best players and they had a historically bad start to this season. It wasn’t so much about giving up on the season but it was looking at a season that seemed lost and recognizing the benefit of vying for the highest projected quarterback since Peyton Manning. There was nothing good about heading in that direction other than the fact that the Chiefs would have had a chance to solidify the most important position in football and, if Luck turns out to be elite, the Chiefs could have a chance to make a run at the Super Bowl on a yearly basis.
The way this football team is playing right now is impressive and I do not want to muddy the waters any longer with Luck talk. Not to say that I am satisfied with Matt Cassel but, clearly there are many other teams that can Suck for Luck more than the Chiefs and best wishes to them. The Chiefs seem to be a team that will be competitive in most of the remaining games on the schedule and it is refreshing considering the team’s start and their loss of key players.
If the Chiefs can make a season out of this, this team may end up being more impressive than last year’s team, even if they miss the playoffs by a little bit. Sure, there are some real NFL teams that will play the Chiefs in the future but it seems the Chiefs’ days of laying eggs on the field may be over for the season. So, do not call this game a must-win because the team has already came so far that losing what may be perceived to be a make or break game may not be enough to keep the Chiefs away from trying for a wild card berth.
Four Ball Hawks
The Chiefs’ first interception might have been the best. Kendrick Lewis went in and just picked that sorry pass out of the air and he was in the end zone soon after. The Chiefs’ defense saw weakness and they not only took advantage of it, they took those mistakes to the house. The defensive line played well enough to convince Hue Cable..oops I mean Jackson…from continuing to run the ball despite Darren McFadden leaving the game immediately after it started. Derrick Johnson led an epic goal line stand and we saw some valuable plays being made by Kelly Gregg.
We really do not see defenses having much of an impact with the way the league is oriented towards offense and, specifically, passing. The defense won that game by themselves, even when they were on offense. I know I wasn’t ready for Javier Arenas and I am pretty sure the Raiders are still trying to figure out where he came from.
The Chargers will present more of a challenge for the Chiefs’ defense but Philip Rivers will not be comfortable throwing at either Chiefs cornerback. He will be looking for Antonio Gates and the Chiefs will have to stop him to win tomorrow. The last few weeks, I really haven’t thought much about the lack of Eric Berry in the middle of the field but the Chargers may put the focus on the safety position again. I don’t know if the pass rush will put enough pressure on Rivers to take the pressure of the secondary but Tamba Hali and Co. have the ability to do so and I am hoping for a big game from them.
Jackie Is Half The Battle
It is pretty clear that the Chiefs’ primary running back is Jackie Battle. That doesn’t concern me at all as he is the best running back on the team and, unless a team has an elite running back (the Chiefs do but, you know…), it is really about the offensive line’s ability to stunt and create holes. The Chargers have some problems stopping the run and the Chiefs will have to find a way to run on them with whoever they can get to carry the ball.
I do not count the interception at the end of the half when I say that Matt Cassel had a bad game last week. He was missing spots left and right before the Chiefs blew the game wide open. He was also missing open receivers down field. No, the Chiefs didn’t need Cassel to be good last week but pick sixes will not be happening for the Chiefs every week. I am starting to get the feeling that the Chiefs have the weapons for Cassel to work with, though none of them play tight end.
It is important from here on out that the Chiefs put some points on the board early. Doing so lets the defense make stronger runs at the quarterback and it lets the offense sustain confidence in doing things that they are doing well. More will be needed from the offense this week and it will involve everyone connected to the offense preparing to attack the Chargers defense.
What Is Your Sunday Ticket?
With the Chiefs playing on Monday night, you can take in some other teams of the league. I may not have a lot of time to watch football this weekend but if I do, I may watch some of these games:
Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos: I hope Ndamukong Suh will be calling for the cart again when he takes care of Tim Tebow. I am tired of the nonsensical amount of coverage Tebow is receiving considering he is not ready to be an NFL quarterback. With the way Suh treats quarterbacks, the Holy Sky-Pointer may be wishing his mother went through with that abortion when she had the chance.
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers: Just a game between two great football teams. I don’t know if Pittsburgh is nearly as good as they are last year but they are still a force in the AFC and the Patriots offense will more than challenge the mighty Steelers defense.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles: You could call this the Over-rated Bowl because too many people think both of these teams are better than they are (or at least they want them to be). Still, it seems to be a good enough game and one that will be called by good broadcasters.
I dare you to find a game in the early Sunday slot that isn’t a slice of shit. I know I am going to skip those games but if you are going to watch, look for one of those bad teams that is pushing the good team they are playing.
Now, the game!
Before Jason Campbell went down, I considered the Oakland Raiders as contenders who could take the division away from the Chargers. It still is possible for Carson Palmer to get up to speed in time to get back in the race. However, the division is the Chargers’ to lose and the Chiefs could take a step towards snatching it from the Chargers. Philip Rivers has not been top-notch lately and the Chiefs may not be the defense to allow him to catch a groove on. Arrowhead is going to be loud and hopefully we will see a bothered Rivers every time the camera is on him.
The game seems to be an even match. Last month, the game went down to the wire and this game could be very close as well. Interested in where Football Outsiders has the Chargers in the Chiefs, I found that the rankings for the Chiefs defense and the Chargers offense are nearly identical (in the middle) as are the Chargers defense and the Chiefs offense (near the bottom). Granted, the Chiefs’ ranking is weighed down by the first two weeks but what is the Chargers excuse?
What sets the two teams apart is what may have screwed the Chargers over last year and that is San Diego’s terrible special teams. I feel like the Chiefs’ special teams is on the verge of making some game-changing plays. Javier Arenas is due for a TD return. What’s more, the punt return team made two excellent plays last week. I know some want to call Dustin Colquitt the Chiefs’ best player and he had some great punts but Jalil Brown and Donald Washington were able to get near the goal line and catch the ball before it bounced into the end zone. That is a big deal and plays like that tomorrow could slow the Chargers’ offense down.
I am going to be honest, I think this game is going to be close but I also think that the Chiefs offense will leave some points on the field. This is another game against a bad defense where Matt Cassel should have a good game. Matt is the only quarterback for the Chiefs this year that will give the team a chance to win but I still have my doubts. He would be bothered by Shaun Philips but Philips is out and the like but I do not think he will be running for his life. He has the weapons and they will be open. If he can hit his mark consistently, especially as the game wears on, the Chiefs should be able to tire the Chargers’ defense out by making good drives and moving the chains. There is no need to get cute; just make the blocks and exploit the holes in the defense. Most of all, they just need to look good in front of the nation.
Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 31, San Diego Chargers 28
Also, if you haven’t noticed, Chiefs Command is becoming a must-read site with a lot of enticing material about the Chiefs, the NFL and even gambling. Just don’t take my picks to the window.