Derrick Johnson

For The Chiefs, The Way Forward Is Only A Mile High

Now the Kansas City Chiefs have a division race on their hands. You didn’t think it was going to be that easy, did ya?

I did but here the Chiefs are. The San Diego Chargers are back in it and the Oakland Raiders are making their case. The respective remaining schedule is favorable for the Chargers but has something for the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs remain in the driver seat but their buffer has dwindled some. If the Chiefs win this division, they will have earned it. I am not worried. The Chiefs aren’t in a place of desperation but they should be in a state of urgency.

Raiders 23 Chiefs 20 (OT)

Last Sunday’s game in Oakland was disappointing, mostly because of the way the Chiefs lost. They didn’t get sucked in to Oakland’s penalty-committing ways per se but they committed them at the wrong times. The Chiefs lost a return for a TD, a field goal, many first downs and, when one first down was needed, they turned a 2nd & 4 and turned it into a 1st and 20. It is good coaching that instilled the Chiefs’ ability to abstain from committing penalties week after week but the result of the Oakland game falls on a lot of players giving yards to the opposition via penalties. As Chiefs Command blogger Jason wrote: “The Chiefs out-Raidered the Raiders.”

It seemed to me as if the Chiefs ran for a total of 30 yards the entire game. It seemed the Raiders barely did anything in the passing game. If you look at the stats, the team totals are nearly even. This was about who took advantage of the gifts from the opposition. Oakland gave more to the Chiefs than they received but the Chiefs failed to take advantage of what they were given. This can’t keep happening if the Chiefs have any aspirations of making the playoffs.

Also, thank you Tom Cable for calling for a fake punt shortly after the Chiefs attempted theirs. The Chiefs might have made it work if it didn’t take so long to snap the ball. Also, when was the last time Dustin Colquitt punted the ball where the Chiefs could down it near the opponents’ goal line? He has been bad.

The Chiefs Will Be A Mile High On Sunday

It’s no secret that the Denver Broncos are struggling this year. I am sure they are still reeling from their 59-14 loss at home three weeks ago and their demise in London against the 49ers. They can’t run the ball worth anything, they let defenses score on them at will and they have only won one game at home. The Broncos aren’t intimidating with their spread offense without Brandon Marshall. The Broncos will have their intended offensive line back, whatever that is worth. If you ascribe to the theory that offensive line needs time to work together as a unit, the Chiefs are still sitting pretty. Keep an eye on Denver’s RT Ryan Harris (and ex-captain D.J. Williams, for that matter).

The Chiefs should be able to run all day and Tamba Hali should be working on chasing Kyle Orton around. Perhaps the freshly-paid Derrick Johnson can get another pick or two off of Orton again. Perhaps the Chiefs can do what great running teams do – have the ball more than the opponent. I am not going to call this a must-win game but it is a game that the Chiefs “better not lose” today. If there is one team on the schedule that Todd Haley doesn’t want to be out-witted by, it is Josh McDaniels’ Broncos. I don’t think that is going to happen.

I will be watching Tyson Jackson (reluctantly so because he is healthy again and is getting reps. Stop sucking, Tyson), Javier Arenas (not just on returns; he will be key against Denver’s spread option) and the WR opposite Dwayne Bowe (not much help there without Dexter McCluster; whoever is lining up there should be open)…..I will look away from the free safety position if Kendrick Lewis AND Jon McGraw are out today and if newly-added Ricky Price has to matter….Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will be watching Tim Tebow….Not because they want to (they’re not Thom Brennaman) but because they have to. We all do or we will be terrorists for not being inspired by him. Forget the books – burn the readers, I say!

The “Vindication of 2009 Garbage Losses Tour” has reached its final stop.  Last week’s loss wasn’t garbage because the Raiders are respectable. Losing today would be garbage.

Prediction: Chiefs 31 Broncos 23

Game Day Update: With the inactive list comes bad news. With McGraw, Lewis and Rashard Langford out, the Chiefs will have Eric Berry, Price, Donald Washington and Travis Daniels as safeties or cornerbacks who play the safety position. Not good at all. Denver’s spread offense will necessitate nickel and dime sets and the Chiefs may have to use most of their DB’s. I put the over/under on Denver run attempts at 11. They are going to pass all day.

3 Comments Say Something
  • I’ll say it. Today is a must-win game for the Chiefs. A win today keeps them a game ahead of the Raiders. A loss and they are no longer in first place – technically. With Oakland and San Diego taking the weak off, the Chiefs need to do what those teams couldn’t do in the Chiefs bye week – win.

  • Today isn’t a must-win but, if the Chiefs lose, things can be dismal. The Chiefs could lose this game on the road and sweep the NFC West, win the remaining division home games and perhaps have a crack at SD or home vs. Tennessee. There are still five wins there. I know losing this game today would deflate some of the confidence you or I would have in the Chiefs to win four or five more games but I can’t call it a must-win.

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