The Kansas City Chiefs open the 2010 regular season against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium on ESPN’s Monday Night Football next Monday, and there could not be more at stake for an opening game.
Out of the Gate
The Chiefs have not won an opening game since 2005, when they defeated the New York Jets 27-7. To give you some perspective on how long it’s been, Dick Vermeil was still coaching, Trent Green was quarterback, Priest Holmes was the running back, and Dante Hall was the kick returner. The Chiefs finished 10-6 that year, and they haven’t been able to get back there since.
It’s no secret that starting off the season with a win is of the utmost importance. Last year, 10 out of the 12 teams that eventually made the playoffs won their opening week game. The only playoff teams that lost their first game are the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals, but neither team made it past the second round of the playoffs.
Where I’m going with this is pretty obvious: the Chiefs need to win next Monday.
If the Chiefs have a winning season this year, the only team that is likely to stop them from making the playoffs is San Diego. Obviously, the Chiefs would like to get a good start to their divisional play with a huge home win over their toughest AFC West opponent.
The Chiefs have also not played on Monday Night Football since 2005, when KC lost to the Denver Broncos 30-10.
I’m not saying it’s likely, but if the Chiefs want any hope of making the playoffs, getting a win on Monday Night Football is almost a must.
After a couple weeks, the schedule hits really the only rough stretch it has. Kansas City should get a win when they play the Cleveland Browns after the Chargers; but then come the San Francisco 49ers, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Houston Texans. Honestly, besides the Colts, this isn’t even that bad of a stretch, and its the worst we have. Beating the Chargers and Browns could give the Chiefs enough steam to roll through this stretch without too much damage. If that happens, we are looking at a very possible playoff race on our hands.
A Few Things to Consider
The San Diego Chargers, led by douchebag supreme Philip Rivers, have dominated the AFC West since 2006, but have historically been comparatively slow at the beginning of the season. Last year, they started 2-3 before winning their final 11 games.
San Diego also kicked the crap out of KC last year. But who wants to dwell on the fact that they outscored us 80-21?
Yet, I am still inclined to say that the Chiefs pull this one off on Monday night. Arrowhead will be rocking, and I truly believe this will be a much better team than last year’s. The additions of Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster, Eric Berry, Ryan Lilja and more I think will change this game. It is also worth noting that the Chiefs’ leading receiver and rusher for this game in Arrowhead last year were Bobby Wade and Larry Johnson. I think it is very safe to say that we have a lot more weapons now than we did before. That said, Matt Cassel will need to have a great game for KC to pull off the win. It helps that Shawne Merriman is possibly out for the game, according to the Associated Press. I also think the losses of LaDanian Tomlinson and Vincent Jackson will leave a noticeable hole in San Diego’s offense, leaving the Chargers with an underwhelming receiving corps and a rookie in Ryan Matthews at running back. This is a challenge that the Chiefs’ defense can handle.
If the Chiefs lose on Monday, the season may get off to a very rough start. Suddenly the Cleveland Browns won’t look like such a sure thing anymore, and that three game stretch of San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, and Houston Texans looks a lot tougher.
But if the Chiefs can pull off the huge win on Monday night, expect me to be extremely giddy and overly optimistic, and hell, you should be too. For what it’s worth, I played some sucker that rolled with the Chargers on Madden ’11 online the other day and ran all over his ass with Jamaal Charles and won 21-14. Clearly it’s a sign.