Quaterback Matt Cassel must step up big on Monday Night Football

The Kansas City Chiefs MUST Win on Monday Night

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.

My name is Tom Fehr, I will be writing your Saturday post at Chiefs Command every week at 9 AM. Check back each Saturday for more, and follow me on Twitter.
24 Comments Say Something
  • When did S.D. lose Darren Sproles?

  • Liked the post, I totally agree it's absolutely paramount for the Chiefs to win on Monday night against the Chargers. My main concern is the pass rush, I really don't think it matters who Rivers has at receiver if he has time in the pocket he'll find whoever they line up at receiver. The Chiefs must get pressure on him early and not allow him to settle in and pick them apart.

    I really like how the Chiefs offense matches up against the Chargers D, I think they should be able to have a good night running the ball. And I really don't think the Chargers pass rush is anything to worry about, Cassel should have time in the pocket and hopefully Dwayne Bowe can catch a couple of deep balls and keep the Chargers from lining up 8 or 9 guys in the box to shut down the run.

    Go Chiefs!

  • @Jcharlesfan, sorry my mistake on that fixed it, i just think it's a huge loss for the chargers if they're starting matthews over sproles. only got two touches in the preseason.

  • @Gerard, thanks! and I completely agree the pass rush is very important; but, seeing as there is over a week until the game starts, I figured the keys to the game post would come from either someone else this week or I could talk about it next Saturday. Do you think we'll pull it off?

  • I'm concerned about oakland, it may be unfounded but they seem to be better. First one is a big one, starting off 1-0 in conference and just in general may change our season outlook.

  • I'm not worried about Oakland in the slightest. They quite possibly have the worst offensive line in the division, if not in the entire AFC. Jason Campbell is no sure thing. Their only true receiver is their tight end, Zach Miller.

    Denver is rebuilding…or in self destruct mode after the way Josh McDaniels handled this offseason by firing nearly every coordinator.

    San Diego's window is closing fast.

    This division is definitely up for grabs this year and I couldn't agree more that this Monday Night game is quite possibly the biggest game of the year.

  • Not to mention, the Chiefs can really improve their team after some waiver claims.

    TJ Houshmanzadeh got released by the Seahawks and the Patriots are going to cut Derrick Burgess, a guy the Chiefs could use as a defensive end.

  • RT @ChiefsCommand: The Kansas City Chiefs MUST Win on Monday Night http://chiefscommand.com/chiefs-blog/off… #NFL #KC #Chiefs Blog by @aximilitjf

  • I agree, game #1 is VERY important for this Chiefs team… I picked the Chiefs to go 5-3 in the division. I think a split with Chargers, Raiders and sweep Denver.

    A win will also go a long way to fighting off another dreaded blackout!!!!

  • From top to bottom the Chargers are just more talented, I don't see the Chiefs winning the opener.

  • @Travis- i hate to call you out like this but how can the chiefs go 5-3 in the division? we play 6 division games.

  • RT @ChiefsCommand: The Kansas City Chiefs MUST Win on Monday Night http://chiefscommand.com/chiefs-blog/off… #NFL #KC #Chargers #Chiefs Blog by @aximilitjf

  • RT @ChiefsCommand: The #KansasCity #Chiefs MUST Win on Monday Night http://chiefscommand.com/chiefs-blog/off… #NFL #KC #Chargers #Chiefs Blog by @aximilitjf

  • Good Article. We've got more of an opportunity against SD this year than in several years. 1st of all they're missing some key players, Merriman, Jackson, and I believe LT. 2nd; our O has a completely different look, and no relevant tape to fall back on to figure us out. 3rd; SD is a notorious slow starter. 4; We have 11 days to prepare. Has to help. 5; MNF at Arrowhead. I hope the house is rockin! 6; I believe Crennel will have some nice blitz schemes that crawl into River's head.

    I read where Norv Turner is relegated to watching old ND tape and stuff from the Jets 10 years ago. All that will do is confuse, because our O is configured to our strengths. As Weis is fond of saying, "Don't try to do what you can't do." Completely different set of players in those two situations…our preseason O was pretty vanilla, just enough variance to give SD the job of practicing against the Wildcat, and accounting for our RB and McCluster on every play. I think the biggest key for us is the play of D Bowe. If he's on, we win. If he's dropping stuff, it'll be a struggle.

    Are we a lock to win? No. I think we'll be fortunate to come out with a W, BUT, as I said, we have the best opportunity here we've had in some time. They still are a very good team, but the window is open for us.

    Even if we don't win, I think we can pull it out in Cleveland. We also have a chance against SF. They have a dominant D, but we catch them on a short week after a MNF appearance against NO. The Saints O will give us some good tape to see what's working against their D, and SF's D may be still beat up after that game. Hopefully SF will still be down after getting their asses kicked on national TV.

    Denver's in turmoil, but the team I'm the most worried about is the Raiders. They're much improved this year, and their draft even made sense this spring. Makes me wonder if Cable has somehow pried the reins of control from Al Davis.

  • rwalke- thanks, glad you liked it. i enjoy reading your comments, keep posting em.

    I think we have a great chance to make a huge splash with a win on Monday. Hope the coaches/players realize the importance and deliver.

    I'm not worried about Oakland at all for some reason. They got better with Campbell but I really think we improved more than them, and their win against us last year was a complete and utter fluke, AND we are a lot better now than we were then, IMO.

  • You may want to give Oakland another look. They are not the Raiders of old. Preseason had them at 3-1, and from what I watched of it, they seemed as if they had thier sh…er, act together. I was impressed and worried at the same time.

    It remains to be seen if some early disappointments will turn them into the Faiders of every other year. I look for them to be tough early. Good thing we don't play them until week 9.

  • I am much more worried about the Raiders than the Broncos.

    I have no idea how the Broncos are ranked ahead of the Chiefs on nearly EVERY power rankings list I have looked at.

  • I am simply happy with the way Denver has lately pissed their way out of the playoffs the past 4 or 5 straight seasons…

  • yeah. chargers dominating the division the last 5 years, and Philip Rivers, has led me to hate the chargers the most.

  • Perhaps I’m not as scared of the Raiders as I should be. Perhaps if McFadden has a breakout year.
    @Travis- I think we’ll be better than the Broncos, but I can understand that completely. I mean, they did win twice the games as us last year.

  • Personally, I want EVERYONE in the media to forget about us; EVERYONE to rank us at the very bottom. I want SD to continue to NOT take us seriously…perfect way to setup an upset, and clean house on a season…

    Regarding our opener, if we're +2 or better in turnovers and bust 150 rushing, we can win this game. They kicked our asses all over the field last year, twice. They laughed while doing it…this is our year to cash in on that. There is no better motivator than lack of respect.

    We'll be 7-9 or better at year's end. Even if we are in the playoff hunt, they'll dismiss us due to strength of schedule. No matter. If we're still playing after Jan 2nd, there will be servings of crow for all involved.

    This year my goal is to knock SD out of the playoff hunt, or at least make them sweat.

    2011 is our year to go deep into the playoffs, and 2012 we win it all. We WILL be team of the decade 2010-2019. Write it down.

  • That is quite the bold prediction, rwalke10. But if you're right, you get to tell every one you told them so. Hope you're right, for all our sakes.

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