I don’t know how I find myself on the other side of this subject but I actually want the Chiefs to win this game today. I hear a lot of opinions calling for Ricki Stanzi to get a start and how people are now concerned about getting the better pick rather than beating the Denver Broncos on Sunday. I will tell anyone who’s prime concern is not winning the game the same thing that I heard when I was calling for the Chiefs to tank it for Andrew Luck: the players have to play the game to the best of their abilities and keep the Broncos out of the playoffs because that is why you play the game. Does that sound right?
Keep in mind that, if the Chiefs were playing the Oakland Raiders and the Broncos were playing the San Diego Chargers, I would be calling for Ricki Stanzi to play because the season is over and I do not dislike the Raiders as much right now. I just want the Chiefs to beat the Broncos and keep Tim Tebow out of my playoffs. Not that the Raiders belong there or anything but it will be more tolerable with them in there.
This has to be one of the weirdest Chiefs seasons I have watched, if not the weirdest. It is really difficult to believe that, had the Chiefs won the game last Sunday against Oakland, they would still be in position to make the playoffs. After how dreadful the Chiefs were against Buffalo, Detroit, Miami, New England and Denver, they find a way to beat the Packers and stay alive in the AFC West. Even with all the injuries and the Todd Haley/Scott Pioli drama, the Chiefs still found a way to stay alive in this awful division.
This season was a lot of things but it definitely was a missed opportunity and nearly everyone is to blame for not taking it. I still look at the Denver and Miami games at home. If the Chiefs win those, the Chiefs are resting their guys against the Broncos and preparing to host another playoff game. Would they be rolling out a better team than last year? Not really but the Chiefs would have claimed their division. That would mean that Todd Haley would probably still be head coach but the Chiefs would have persevered through all of their struggles and would have been respectable given what they had been through.
I think the lesson here is that a team may play poorly in some games but if there are opportunities to make the playoffs such as a bad division or no strong Wild Card candidates, the season is a roller coaster and a team can have a chance if it just wins the next game. I don’t know what kind of lesson that is but it’s right there for all of us.
Now, the Bronc-hos
First of all, do the Chiefs have a chance to win this game? I think they do if Kyle Orton starts today. The Chiefs are going to have to convert on third and fourth downs more regularly. Maybe converting in the red zone might help as well. I really find it difficult to watch the Chiefs fail to convert on a fourth & 1 and somehow LeRon McClain doesn’t get the ball. If the Chiefs can get a damn yard, they win.
I am alright with some experimentation on the line because, chances are, some of those guys will play in those positions next year. The same cannot be said about Stanzi. Rodney Hudson should be in the picture either at left guard or center. Tell Casey Weigmann to go dangle and put Hudson in. That might be about it for experimentation on the offense. On defense, there are a lot of options to get some young guys playing time, yet the Chiefs have an above-average defense so they do not necessarily need to fit some young players in there. I think the people who want the team to play the youngsters basically want to see Stanzi and Hudson play. I don’t know what that does.
The real match-up will be the second round of the Broncos offense vs. the Chiefs defense. You have to think that Tebow will throw more than he did last time unless there is some kind of windstorm. There is some tape out there now about how to stop Tim Tebow in addition to the tape on how to fail to stop Tebow as well (first Chiefs game, Bears-Broncos game). I want to see Tebow throwing the ball because he likes to throw it to the other team when he has to throw the ball. I think the Broncos will have a similar game plan as last time with more throwing than last time.
I suppose I could play up the Kyle Orton revenge factor but we all know it is there and getting a new contract is more of an incentive for Orton than beating the Broncos and getting revenge. I believe he does have the desire to stomp the Broncos and show them they were wrong but it is bundled in his desire to be a starting quarterback for a bad team next year. That bad team probably will not be the Chiefs. One more thing about the Orton return is that despite the fact that Orton played for the Broncos this year, playing in Invesco Field will still be a disadvantage for Kyle Orton and the Chiefs.
The Chiefs will have to stop Von Miller. He scares me more than Tebow or whoever is running the ball. Points will not be easy to come by but the Chiefs need to get on the board early. The earlier the Chiefs are playing with a lead, the more Tebow has to force the ball into areas he cannot throw into. I think that as difficult a time that Tebow will have, the Chiefs will beat Tebow by taking advantage of Tebow’s poor ball protection. Tamba Hali and Co. will get some chances to swat the ball to the ground.
I really think a win against this team would help the Chiefs finish this weird season on a good note. I didn’t really think that was the case two years ago when the Chiefs beat the Broncos for their fourth win yet all we heard about that was the Chiefs carried that momentum into the next season. What a convenient cliche to use that fans are just giving up just to see Ricki Stanzi. I don’t think a win will matter much as far as next year. However, if Romeo Crennel ends up coaching this team, he has an “identity” already built in if they win this game. They can be killers who will take this division back when they get healthy and have a decent coach at the helm.
Happy New Year!