Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs

Toughest game on the schedule for the Kansas City Chiefs?

The Kansas City Chiefs are the last unbeaten team in the NFL. To me, that doesn’t mean much. At this point, I don’t have the Chiefs in the top 10 of the NFL. What this tells me is that there isn’t even one ostensible dominant team in the NFL. Perhaps this is a year where parity is even more present this year than it usually is in other years. It’s not that I don’t believe that the Chiefs should be 3-0, it’s more that there should be another team or other teams joining the Chiefs in the undefeated ranks. It’s also a product of me not knowing how good the Chiefs are at this point.

The fact that the Chiefs are 3-0 is the luck of the early draw because the Chiefs faced a daunting Chargers team and an unimpressive 49ers team at home and a pushover Browns team on the road. Granted, winning all three games in a league where every other team has ended a game in disappointment should not be discounted but there is more of the schedule to play. These next two games make up the toughest two-game stretch on the Chiefs’ schedule. Winning those games would prove that the Chiefs belong on top. I don’t think that they do but what if they are?

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    Even if they are on top, what does that mean? This schedule is rather easy but that doesn’t mean that the Chiefs can’t benefit from it. An easy schedule doesn’t coddle a team if they really know how good they are. An easy schedule will just mask the true ability of a team. That doesn’t mean that a team like the Chiefs won’t be prepared for the playoffs – they may just be under-tested. Taking advantage of the easy schedule would be one way the Chiefs could help their playoff cause. Having the #! Seed doesn’t ensure a ticket to the Super Bowl but it certainly would help. There are many games to win to get there but if the Chiefs can take these next two games against the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans, I don’t think there are many challenges of that caliber left.

    The Indianapolis Colts conjure up some bad January memories for me. The first one was the January 11, 2004 playoff game, the last playoff game played at Arrowhead Stadium. I was listening to that game on the radio as my team and I were practicing military convoy exercises in Fort Hood, Texas. That was a disappointing way to experience the end a 13-3 season. Another memory was the last playoff game the Chiefs were in. On January 6, 2007, the Chiefs failed to bring an offense in the first quarter to Indianapolis and the game hardly improved in the second half.

    Despite those memories, I don’t have much against the Colts. I find myself rooting for them in January most of the time. Peyton Manning is the best quarterback I have ever watched play since John Elway. I like the Colts’ style of play on both sides of the ball and their management structure is of the caliber of the Patriots and, in short order hopefully, the Chiefs.

    It seems I share the feelings of hope, excitement, doubt and impending regression that most Chiefs fans have. For me, hope and excitement will win out because the Chiefs won’t lose too much ground if they fall short today but they have a lot to gain from winning. If they can win either this game or the one versus the Houston Texans next week, they will show they will be a competitive team.

    Let’s not forget where we had the Chiefs finishing while they are being tested in these next couple of weeks. Going 5-0 will grab the attention of the entire league but going 3-2 leaves the Chiefs still slightly better than where we had them. Today should be a day of viewing the Chiefs as they are tested against a team that would usually make the Chiefs look silly. While I am leaning toward the Chiefs losing this game today, I think the Colts have something to fear about the Chiefs this time around.

    To end, I will mention three key players to watch since a bye weeks creates a lack of  discussion on players: Brandon Albert (his battles with Dwight Freeney), Tamba Hali (as he chases Peyton Manning) and Eric Berry (covering Dallas Clark creates another challenge for the prized rookie). Also, if you get a chance, keep an eye on #25.

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