There is so much to watch for in this game, it would be impossible to put it all into one post. When you think about all of the changes and moves this team has made during the offseason, the hype that the rookies are providing, the upgraded stadium and atmosphere, there just really isn’t an end to the madness. Don’t worry folks, Andy is here to save the day! I am going to tell you just a few of the main things I will be watching for.
Rookies in the First Quarter:
There is going to be some serious adrenaline pumping through everyone’s veins Monday night; the coaches, the players, the fans, the announcers, and just about everyone who has any kind of interest in the Kansas City Chiefs. I can’t imagine what will be going through the heads of the rookies when they walk out of that tunnel. The veterans have all been there before. Most of the seasoned vets on this team have all been in the big game situation before. The rookies however have not. I’m sure they have all played in high school championship games, NCAA conference championship games, and for one, a BCS National Championship game. However, this is the NFL. This is where these players make their living. I will be very anxious to see how these rookies play in the first quarter especially considering the magnitude of this game. They will undoubtably be nervous, but they will be forced to grow up quick because while this game will not make or break the season, but it will definitely have a major impact on the momentum carried into the Cleveland and be crucial for any attempt at taking the division title.
Inside Linebackers/Defensive Match ups:
Arguably the most exciting position battle throughout camp was the battle at Inside Linebacker. The Chiefs have reportedly announced Derrick Johnson as the starter, which would lead us to assume that Jovan Belcher will be starting beside him. I will be very anxious to see if DJ can find a way to make the big plays, but also not disappear in between them. The majority of his problems last year, and even this preseason, were the way he just seemed to disappear way too often. Belcher needs to keep being the consistent sure-tackler he has been, and DJ needs to find a way to stay consistent and be confident on every single play. The defensive match ups will be huge as well. Being smart about who guards players such as Darren Sproles and Antonio Gates will be vital when it comes to winning or losing. Gates has a history of tearing the Chiefs apart, and guys like Tamba Hali and Mike Vrabel aren’t nearly quick enough to stay with him, so I will be interested to see Romeo Crennel’s game plan.
Offensive Game plan:
I know I have talked a lot about game plan’s and match ups, but I feel that it will be incredibly important for the Chiefs chances of victory. I feel like the Chiefs need to pound the ball and focus on not turning the ball over. If the Chiefs can win the turnover battle and control the time of possession, it will give them a great chance at victory. A large serving of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles should set up play action very nicely. If the Chiefs can run the ball successfully they should be able to dictate this game and they should be able to come out victorious in the biggest game in recent memory.
All in all, this is the most excited I have been for a chiefs game in a long time. The fans, the players, the coaches, the ‘experts’ all feel like the Chiefs have a chance to win this game. The Chiefs have a great opportunity to come out and make a statement. A chance to prove to the NFL that they are improving and they are better than advertised. Most of all, I can’t wait to see Arrowhead Stadium back to what Arrowhead Stadium should be. The loudest, craziest, and hardest place to play in the NFL!