How ‘bout those Chiefs?
This was a huge win for this struggling Chiefs team. Matt Cassel looked excellent in the second half. Todd Haley got his team all on the same page. Everything seemed to click pretty well over the course of the game. Sure, the defense could have made more stops and the offense had plenty of opportunities to score touchdowns but could not convert. But the fact that they played all four quarters and closed out the game was a big confidence booster for the whole organization, and especially the fan base. It’s hard to watch my favorite team struggle like they did the first few weeks of the season, but it feels like a big weight was lifted when the clock hit 0:00 on Sunday.
Matt Cassel went 18 for 29 for 260 yards and one spectacular touchdown to Dwayne Bowe. He had a passer rating of 102.7, the second straight week his passer rating was at 102 or better. Ryan Succop kicked a career high five field goals, which also tied Nick Lowery and Pete Stoyanovich’s organization record, one of which was a career long 54 yards for the 2009 Mr. Irrelevant. He improved his field goal percentage to 70% on the season, jumping thirty percentage points from where he was after week three. Succop’s leg is looking stronger with four touchbacks on kickoffs. He must have been working very hard this week on his accuracy, because it definitely showed on Sunday.
The Chiefs defense showed that they could contain Adrian Peterson as well, holding him to only 80 yards on 23 carries. Percy Harvin, however, was a different story. Harvin had only four rushes but accounted for 67 of Minnesota’s yards. The Chiefs have been decent at stopping the run up the middle over the past two weeks, the main weakness is the outside run and short screen passes. And we all know about the little spat between Haley and Cassel that apparently lit a fire under the whole team, because the Chiefs came out of the locker room looking like a different team in the second half. Cassel taking command definitely paid off. Here is what I see in the next couple of weeks and where we could be if these situations play out correctly. The Chiefs are 1-3. The Jaguars, Broncos, Eagles (really?), Panthers, Seahawks, and Cardinals are also 1-3. Yes, even the Dream Team is 1-3. Guess those folks up in Philly haven’t clicked yet?
In our division however, I think there is a chance that the Chiefs could pull within one game of 1st place.
Kansas City will handle the Colts in Indy. Without Peyton Manning, they just don’t have the essence of a good team, and their record shows it. The Chargers and Broncos face off in an AFC matchup that is always fun to watch. The game is in Denver, and while the Broncos aren’t the strongest team in the NFL, it is very hard to win in Denver. If Philip Rivers struggles against the Broncos like he did against the Chiefs, and if the altitude adds an extra touchdown for Orton and the Broncos, we could see a big upset. Oakland travels to Houston, which after the big win against Pittsburgh at home, they should still be reeling from that victory and carry that momentum in against the Raiders. If the Texans’ defense can stop Oakland’s running game and Schaub can produce touchdowns, there is a chance that the Chiefs, Raiders, and Broncos could all be tied for second, one game behind San Diego. If the Raiders do win that game, then the Chiefs and Broncos will be tied for second, and the Chargers and Raiders will be tied for first. Which given the way the first couple of weeks went this season, going into the bye week, I’ll take it. These are the teams that the Chiefs could be in company with at 2-3 after next week.
New York Jets
Playing the Patriots in New England. Enough said. It’s very rare when a visiting team wins there against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
Cincinnati Bengals/Jacksonville Jaguars
I’m going to cover this all in one, since they play each other. After the Bengals big win over the Bills, it shows that Andy Dalton will be a great leader for this team. Although Blaine Gabbert put on a mediocre performance against the Saints this week, it was against the NFC South-leading Saints. I feel as if the Jags are finally getting comfortable with Gabbert after the big shakedown with David Garrard which will help in front of the Jacksonville home crowd next Sunday.
Buffalo Bills/ Philadelphia Eagles
Again, covering both in one. There is a possibility that the Eagles go into Buffalo and upset the Bills at home. After the upsetting loss against the 49ers, Michael Vick and the Eagles feel like they have something to prove. Who better to prove it against that a Buffalo team coming off a heartbreaker against Cincinnati?
The Bears have to take their game to Detroit and play the 4-0 Lions. Yes, the Lions are 4-0 for those of you living under a rock for the first four weeks of 2011. It feels so weird saying that. Lions and 4-0 haven’t been mentioned in the same sentence since 1980. I see their streak continuing to 5-0.
Playing a decent Giants team in New York who went in and won in Arizona. I can’t see it looking too good for Pete Carroll and his squad.
Minnesota is pissed right now. They want this win. Where better to win their first game that at home against an Arizona team whose last win was four weeks prior against rookie Cam Newton’s Panthers?
If these situations play out, our Chiefs will be right in the middle of the pack, continuing to climb the ranks while other teams flounder. The season just took a turn for the better. I can feel it, and even though it is just one win, it provides the momentum for Kansas City going into the Indy to take on a weak Colts team and head to the bye week 2-3.