Honestly, I wish we could play the Raiders and Chargers every week. These last two games have been pure orgasmic joy to watch. But, alas, we’re done with San Diego for the year, and won’t see Oakland again until Week 16 when the Flowers will be able to reel in Carson Palmer’s 51st and 52nd interceptions of the season.
You read it here first.
As for the rest of the season, we’re heading into the tough stretch.
I tried to play crystal ball with our schedule before Week 1, and I essentially asserted that we would have to go undefeated in our first five games to have a chance to come out of the end of the year with a playoff-worthy record. However, I also assumed a few other things:
1.) Riding a strong defense and consistent offense, the Dolphins would be good this year – I was obviously wayyyy off there. The Dolphins are an abysmal 0-7, and it doesn’t look like their coach is going to survive the halfway mark of the season.
2.) The division race is rough with Oakland and San Diego each going into the season feeling like it was their time to win it all. I wasn’t totally wrong there, but Oakland’s childish desperation has actually crippled them severely while San Diego has suddenly started playing like Oakland. We’ve secured a series split with the Chargers, and we pounded the Raiders at home in a very satisfying rout, putting us in a good position to sweep them later in the season.
3.) The Bills and Lions would be like, well, the Bills and Lions.
So, here we are. Predicting that we would have to go 7-2 in our first 9 to make the playoffs, we sit poised to go 6-3, after what — on paper anyway – should be easy wins against the lowly Dolphins and Broncos. That would give us 7 games left to play, with a need to go 3-4 in that span in order to squeak into the playoffs at 9-7.
Possible yes? Probable? … well, get out that lucky rabbit’s foot.
The last 7 weeks of our season go like this:
At New England (5-2)
At Chicago (4-3)
At New York Jets (4-3)
Green Bay (7-0)
At Denver (2-5)
I’m ready to believe that if the Chiefs feel they are playoff-bound, they will be able to roll Oakland at home and Denver away to coast into the post-season, but the five previous games are all going to be extremely tough. At the beginning of the season, I picked us to lose all five of them, and that was when we still had Moeaki, Charles and Berry. If we lose those games at this point, that would leave us 8-8 for the season — probably not enough for the playoffs, but who knows, this is the AFC West.
Normally, our best bet to steal a win in that series would be the Bears or the Jets, but those are back-to-back away games against good defenses. I have been incredibly impressed the way that our Big Fatties have stepped up in the 4-game winning streak, but it’s going to be hard to pass and even harder to run against those guys. Plus, playing in their house in the cold is not going to be the recipe for victory. Still, let’s take a look.
Chicago is allowing only 108.7 rushing yards per game, but 271.9 passing. If Baldwin builds upon his fabulous Monday night performance into a legitimate threat and compliment to the Badass Bowe, we have a good chance. I still hold that Baldwin is an unproven product. He was great against the Chargers, but I still expect him to have his ups and downs. But, if the Killer B’s can all get going, I think this is a very winnable game.
Against the New York Jets, I think we will have to play a similar game we have played the last two weeks against Raiders and Chargers. The Jets have been going through an identity crisis this year, moving slowly from a ground-and-pound offense to an attack relying on QB Mark Sanchez’s inconsistent passing attack. The Jets have produced a pitiful 92.4 average rushing yards per game. With only one consistently effective lineman – center Nick Mangold – I think the Chiefs will be able to hold their own in defending the run in the trenches. With Sanchez’s weak arm and questionable decision-making, I see the Brandon’s licking their chops.
Not to look past Miami and Denver over the next two weeks but … I kinda want to. For now we have the taste of playoff potential in our mouths for the first time since the preseason. In the end, this is football. Anything can happen in these next two games to take this away from us. But for now, let us dream.
To bring us back to reality for a bit, I strangely really worry about this game against Miami. Generally, teams coming off of amazing emotional wins meeting teams that look like crap on paper but continue to have pride tend to be upset with surprising games that don’t go they way you think. This game has the smell of that sort of matchup. The Dolphins have only been blown out once in their 0-7 season – by the Jets in Week 6 who were 2-3 at the time. The Jets needed to reclaim their honor and their season much in the same way that the Chiefs played their hearts out last week.
Denver … Ugh, Tebow may turn out to be that great quarterback that shocks the football world as the next Joe Montana. For now, he annoys me to such an extent that I will irrationally denigrate him until I have been proven absolutely and totally wrong.
Either way, for all of those who don’t want to be thinking about our next two lowly opponents, keep the following happy thoughts in your head:
The New England Patriots have allowed an average of 424.1 yards per game.
Pittsburgh’s vaunted defensive strength is derived primarily from its stout linebacking corps and three of those LB’s James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior are currently injured. I never wish for the professional champions doing what they love to be unable to pursue their dream. However, if their injuries persist for the next four weeks, I will not be acutely upset.
This is one of the most exciting seasons for me ever, simply because we have dealt with so much literally crippling adversity. It is so easy to be proud of this team, and I can’t wait to keep cheering them on to our improbable ascent to the playoffs!