Good news, Kansas City Chiefs fans: the Minnesota Vikings are worse than the Chiefs’ previous three opponents. That’s all I have for good news. I don’t consider the Vikings an easy opponent. Donovan McNabb is not a top-flight quarterback anymore but he can still move the chains given he has enough weapons at his disposal. I do not see the Vikings failing to give Adrian Peterson the ball unless the Chiefs have a good-sized lead going into the 4th quarter.
The Chiefs did look like an NFL team against the San Diego Chargers last Sunday. A bad one but there was improvement. The defense was mostly responsible for that improvement. They pestered Philip Rivers, keeping him from being a factor. Cameron Sheffield complemented Tamba Hali well when Rivers was dropping back to pass. There are still a lot of holes in this Chiefs team but they did improve and markedly so.
Suck For Luck Corner
I watched the game feeling very detached. Part of that had to do with the fact that I was at a bar where I could watch three other games when the Chiefs were in commercial or in a timeout. The rest of it had to do with the fact that the Chiefs really are one of the worst teams in the NFL. Lowered expectation produces feelings of detachment and apathy for a game that, as it wound down, had a loss written all over it.
The Chiefs tried, though. Just ask Todd Haley. The same coach that downplayed every bit of success that the Chiefs had last year could not help himself as he told us how proud he was of the team. Now in his third season, the wiggle room has vanished for Todd Haley and it’s no wonder he has so many good things to say about these guys. They are his only chance for saving his job. I do not think this team quits on Haley until they get a win (you might want to pencil in November 6th, when the Chiefs play the Miami Dolphins). They’ve lost much of the discipline they had (ahem, Leonard Pope) but they do try.
The fact is that the Chiefs are a bad football team. You can tell them to “Suck For Luck” all you want but they are going to be as bad as they really are, giving their best effort in the process. I don’t want any Chiefs player to intentionally throw the game and I do not want the Chiefs lose. I just know a bad team when I see one (if you’ve been a fan for more than a year, so do you) and I would like to get something more out of this than the next Tyson Jackson if they lose most of their games.
To be honest, I do not like college football but it is pretty clear that Andrew Luck is the best pro prospect in college right now and whatever you think about him and the odds that Luck is a franchise quarterback but since the quarterback is such an integral part of a football team and having a great quarterback is almost a necessity to win the Super Bowl, getting Luck seems to be the shortest path to bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Kansas City and I really don’t think I am leading the Donner Party regarding the S4L movement.
Luck would be the shortest way to the top for the Chiefs organization is in. The fans deserve it but, at the moment, I have so much disappointment in this organization, I would prefer if some other GM and coaching staff would get the credit for bringing on the first legitimate homegrown Chiefs quarterback in more than a generation.
Home Field Advantage?
The Minnesota Vikings will not make it easy for the Chiefs. In addition to AP and Percy Harvin, the Chiefs’ defense will have to deal with two average tight ends in Visante Shiancoe and Kyle Rudolph, which may just do the Chiefs in. If the Chiefs can’t make their base defense work, the Vikings will run on the Chiefs when they have six defensive backs in there and Peterson will be in the end zone. With the pressure that the Chiefs showed that they could place on Philip Rivers last week, they may keep Donovan McNabb from looking too far down field, which may still actually work for them.
Speaking of three yard passes, I just don’t know if Matt Cassel will ever see downfield, even if he gets the time he has been getting. The Chiefs’ offensive line hasn’t been great but it hasn’t been bad either. Matt Cassel has no vision beyond five yards and I do not think it gets better. The Vikings handled Calvin Johnson as best they could and I think that Chris Cook or Antoine Winfield will cover Dwayne Bowe well and Cassel will check it down as usual. I doubt the Chiefs ability to drive downfield and score points. Jared Allen and Brian Robison could make Cassel’s day a bad one.
The Chiefs need to convert on third down. The running game put them in position but they need to come through. If the way the Vikings have played so far is any indication, the Chiefs might have another bad first half ahead of them. The Vikings are not good enough to sustain their good play for a whole game but they may not need to if they get a lead and keep it well into the second half. Especially if the Chiefs fail to extend drives.
I will be watching Ryan Succop. No, you can’t fire the gem of the 2009 draft! He could be one kick away from selling used cars. One of the ways a bad team avoids winning is by having a bad kicker. I am proud to say that I have forgotten (0r blocked out) who the Chiefs had at kicker in 2008 but whoever it was lost some games for the Chiefs that year (please don’t remind me). I will also be watching Tyson Jackson but this time with less scorn. He did well last week and I hope this kind of play from him. Dwayne Bowe is the offense’s only playmaker but I would like to see a play made by Dexter McCluster. He may not be all that good but he can have a breakout run or screen and I would like to see it. Also, if Brandon Flowers plays and does well, that would be quite something.
All in all this game feels like another too little, too late game. Don’t boo Jared Allen; he only brought Brandon Albert and Jamaal Charles in house. Boo the guy who shipped Tony Gonzalez away. That just might have been the wrong move.
Prediction: Minnesota Vikings 24, Kansas City Chiefs 17