For the first time this season, I have picked the Kansas City Chiefs to lose.
To the 2-6 Denver Broncos.
I know what you’re thinking. I picked KC to beat the Chargers. I picked them to beat the Colts and the Texans. I picked them to beat the Raiders last week. Why now? Why before they play the hated Denver Broncos?
I’ll explain in detail, after the jump.
You guys should know me by now. I am a borderline homer. I would probably go over if it wasn’t for Arrowhead Addict and Fansided. I feel I have an obligation to give it to you straight and separate my personal desires for the Chiefs to win every game with what I am witnessing on the field. You all I know I want the Chiefs to wipe the field with the Broncos. I want Jamaal Charles to finish what he started last year and break the single game rushing record. I want Matt Cassel to throw for 400 yards and I want DJ, Flowers, Berry and even Jovan Belcher to each have a pick and a sack each.
Yet I’d be a liar if I didn’t tell you I feel like the Chiefs have just as much a chance of losing as they do winning. Let me break down my fears.
1. The Chiefs have played four road games in 2010 and they have won only one.
The Chiefs haven’t gotten it done on the road all season so why should I believe they will do it this week, in a more hostile than usual environment against a division rival?
It doesn’t matter to me how well the Chiefs have played on the road. All that matters is if they won or not. And truthfully, the Chiefs haven’t really played that well on the road. I think they played pretty well against the Browns because as the rest of the league is quickly finding out, Cleveland is no pushover.
Other than the Browns game, the Chiefs really haven’t put together a complete game. They played three good quarters against the Texans, they played good defense but terrible offense against the Colts and they played horribly against the Raiders.
I’m not discounting how hard it is to win on the road in the NFL but if the Chiefs want to be a playoff team they need to win very close to half of their road contests. Right now, they are 1-3 and I’ve seen no indication that they have learned to close the deal away from home. Hopefully Sunday will be the day they show up.
2. The Broncos aren’t as bad as you think.
Sure, the Broncos have shown they are susceptible to playing horrendous defense. Sure, they are one dimensional on offense because they can’t run the ball. Sure, their coach drafted Tim Tebow and calls plays using the “Ask Madden” feature from Madden NFL 11. The Broncos are kind of a mess but they do some things well and their strengths just so happen to align with KC’s weaknesses. The Chiefs struggle to throw the ball and they struggle to stop the pass and the Broncos are a top ten passing defense and a top ten passing offense.
My fear is that the Broncos will use the same strategy the Raiders used to slow the KC rushing attack. Not every team feels confident enough in their corner play to bring both safeties up in run support but the Raiders and Broncos, along with maybe the Jets are a couple of teams that can probably get away with it.
If Denver stuffs the run and the Chiefs can’t beat them through the air, then I can easily see KC’s bend but don’t break defense allowing the Broncos passing game to move up and down the field. this could easily turn into a field goal kicking contest. If the game is close at the end, I would put my money on the Broncos moving down the field through the air to ice things.
3. I don’t trust Todd Haley to see what is going on right in front of his face.
I like Todd Haley but sometimes I can’t understand what the heck he is thinking. The second that man sees a stacked box he should be getting Thomas Jones’ ass off the field and sending in Jamaal Charles. Especially if when Charles is on the field with the stacked box he is averaging five freaking yards a carry.
If I am Haley, I’ve spend the last week drawing up and practicing a crap ton of empty backfield, five WR sets. If Denver is going to try to get cute like the Raiders and play man coverage than I am going to slam them with so many wideouts that I am bound to have a mismatch somewhere. I’m going to have everyone lined up wide. If McCluster can even jog, I’d activate him and send him out there strictly as a decoy. Line up Bowe, McCluster, Moeaki, Copper and Tucker. Spread those fools out.
Part two of my game plan is to give Jamaal Charles as many carries as I possibly can, especially early. When he needs a break, I’m sending out five wide receivers. Eventually the Broncos are going to have to back off or they are going to get burned.
What I am not going to do is run Jamaal Charles 3 times and watch him move my team down to the Denver 18-yardline only to take him out to run Thomas Jones up the middle for no gain, take an improbable shot at the end zone on second down and then try a screen pass on third down that gets me eight yards. I’m not going to go for it on fourth and two when the game is tied at zero in the first quarter on the road. If I do decide to go for it, I’m sure as hell not giving the ball to Tim Castille, Mike Cox, Jackie Battle or even Thomas Jones. I’m definitely not going to try a pass to Lenard Pope.
I’m giving the ball to Jamaal Charles or I am kicking the freaking FG.
Actually, what I’m going to do on first and ten from the Denver 18-yardline is I’m going to run Jamaal Charles three more times and probably get the touchdown.
Unfortunately, I’m not Todd Haley. Wish I was. I’d start/finish drives with my best player, kick field goals and be filthy rich.
4. The Chiefs never finish drives
Why? Why, why, why do the Chiefs have twice as many passing touchdowns as rushing touchdowns? Can someone please explain to me why the Chiefs average more rushing yards per game than any other freaking professional football team in the entire freaking world but that they prefer to do their touchdown scoring through the air?
It is like KC’s game plan is to run all the way down to the red zone and then to have Matt Cassel start chucking the ball around like Peyton Manning.
Have they lost their freaking minds? They have a guy in Jamaal Charles who is averaging 6.4 yards-per-carry and they are instead choosing to put the ball in the hands of a guy who barley completes half of his passes. Come onnnnnnnnnnnn! Give KC the freaking ball and let him get the touchdown! Get the six points and then give the guy a break!
Let me make this a bit clearer for you. Who is the best running back in football?
I am guessing a lot of you just mutter Chris Johnson to yourselves.
Jamaal Charles is the best running back int he entire NFL.
Chris Johnson has 65 more carries than Jamaal Charles. Know how many more yards than Charles he has?
Know how many touchdowns he has?
What we are seeing here is that Jamaal Charles can be just as productive as Johnson with 65 less carries. If that is the case, if Charles is just as productive as Johnson, then why the hell does he have six fewer touchdowns?
It is because he isn’t getting the ball in the red zone.
Ask yourself what the Chiefs could have done with six extra touchdowns.
The Chiefs are handling Charles so well they are mishandling him. They’ve proved he doesn’t need a billion carries to be productive but they are going out of their way to keep him from getting the ball when he can do the most damage. Simply foolish.
In closing, I believe the Chiefs can go to Denver and destroy the Broncos. I really do. I feel that Kansas City is far and away the more talented team.
My worries, stated above, are why I am picking against them this week. If the Chiefs put my worries to rest, I will nearly always pick them to win. I want them to prove me wrong.
Sunday would be a great day to start.