Alright Chiefs Nation, NFL training camps are open across the league so I felt it time to revisit a pre-season breakdown for how our band of red and gold brothers will finish the 2012 NFL regular season in a week by week fashion.
Week 1 Home and Season Opener against the Atlanta Falcons
Lots of expectations have been built around this Atlanta ball club, and yet a few question marks remain. With Sean Payton on the sidelines making side bounties with his buddies this year, the Falcons are arguably the favorites to win the NFC South. They come into Arrowhead where Chiefs N ation will no doubt be ready to regain a clear cut status of the leagues most volatile and ruckus 12th Man. It’s easy to drink the red kool-aid with this one; if KC keeps Michael Turner and that Falcon rushing attack at bay and forces Matt Ryan beat them, then our secondary will have to be ready to hold down Roddy White and Julio Jones. We can live with Tony catching 9 balls for 71 yards on check downs, so long as we keep him out of the end zone. Do this and the final score should be in our favor.
Prediction: Chiefs 27-Falcons 17
Week 2 at the Buffalo Bills
As mentioned in a column about a month ago right here on AA, this game will mean a LOT to this 2012 Chiefs squad personally. A rematch of the opening game last year where we came into the season, albeit already absent of Moeaki for the year, but with high expectations. Those came crashing down with a throttling on our home grass, and we all remember the horse**it block Stevie Johnson threw on Berry to end his 2012 season. Johnson better be ready for a couple colossal shots by #29 in this one. Berry will be a class act, but you know he can’t wait for that first fly pattern for Johnson running down center field. Makes me salivate just thinking about it. This Bills team made some solid additions on the defensive side of the ball, anchored by Mario Williams. This one won’t be easy by any stretch, but it’s a game that Romeo will have the boys ready to play, and ready to play the right way. We will control the clock with the run and do just enough threw the air.
Prediction: Chiefs 17-Bills 13
Week 3 at the New Orleans Saints
This is game that really tests our talented defensive unit early in the season. Granted the week 1 matchup with a simliar style offense in Atlanta will have our defensive backfield tuned up (I hope), but this is Drew Brees on the fast track in the Superdome. And Tony Gonzalez entering his 16th NFL season is certainly no current day Jimmy Graham. Graham may very well be the best TE in the game, arguably of course. Graham has sub WR speed and his route running is tops at his position in my opinion. Mark Ingram in his sophomore campaign will be ready to take over lead role in this Saints backfield, and Brees seemingly always has unlimited WR targets. The question mark for this NO’s club is their defensive unit. The Saints are implementing an entirely new system with the loss of Greg Williams. Translation: the Chiefs have to be ready for a shootout, the only problem is this isn’t how our 2012 team will win games. We will play good defense and run the ball, but it won’t be quite good enough this week.
Prediction: Saints 31-Chiefs 24
Week 4 at Arrowhead against the San Diego Chargers
In this piece AA contributor AnthonyNation wrote about how the Chiefs can (and potentially will) sweep the AFC West. It all starts this week with our Week 4 tilt against the Bolts. This Charger team is a tough one to breakdown; they lost their #1 target Vincent Jackson to the Bucs in free agency and signed our very own Jackie Battle to back up Matthews with the loss of Mike Tolbert to the Carolina Panthers. Antonio Gates isn’t getting any younger, although still a top 10 NFL TE, he’s simply not been the same guy with injuries piling up the past couple of years. Defensively this Diego squad doesn’t scare me a bit, and I think the Chiefs offensive line will have their way with the Chargers front seven and they will be looking at the back side of Charles and Hillis all day long. Our road to sweep the West starts here with a sound victory.
Prediction: Chiefs 31-Chargers 20
Week 5 at Arrowhead against the Baltimore Ravens
Simply put, I cannot WAIT for this game. A 12 win Raven team from 2011 coming in with every reason in the world to think they will walk out of KC, yet again, with a good ole fashion ass whooping of our boys. For 27 minutes in the 2010 AFC Wild Card game we were beating Baltimore at their own game, holding a slim 7-3 lead. Then the Raven defense happened and our young upstart Chiefs team didn’t know what hit them. Our boys are now a full season older, yet this will be our first test of the 2012 season to see what our offense can do against a top 5 NFL defense. They key to this game is…you guessed it, Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss. Stretching the field with our TE’s, not allowing Ed Reed to play in the box. If we can’t do this we have no shot, hate to say it. If we can run for 130+ yards and play stellar defense this could be an upset for our home dogs, but I’m not ready to make that bold prediction just yet. Lord knows I hope I’m dead wrong.
Prediction: Ravens 24-Chiefs 13
Week 6 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is a tough game to dissect. I have no idea which KC team will show up to Raymond James the week after a bruising game against Baltimore and the week ahed our BYE. Josh Freeman has plenty of tools to become a top 15 (or better) NFL QB. This Tampa team has a few offensive weapons, but I still believe they are a couple pieces away from having a complete threat. Defensively they have talent and they have been rebuilding this side of their team for the past few years. But again I still think they are a few pieces short. If we look to Chief teams of old, this is a sure fire loss. But I’m going to give Romeo the benefit of the doubt and trust he won’t let this game sneak up on our boys, and we ride into the BYE week on a winning note.
Prediction: Chiefs 21-Bucs 17
Week 8 at Arrowhead against the Oakland Raiders
We couldn’t be getting Oakland in a better spot here, primed to snap our 5 game home losing streak to the arch rival Silver and Black. Looking at the recent Raiders v Chiefs history, we had our brooms out sweeping the season series from ’03-’06. From the ’07 season to current Oakland has come into Arrowhead, a place they NEVER used to win, and they’ve beaten us. Pisses me off just thinking about it. What really gets my blood boiling is last year; if we win that game and come to Denver and do what we did to TeBLOW and company we win the West. With our injury riddled, horrific statistical offensive 2011 team. Alas Chief fan, we SMASH the Faiders this year at home, simple as that.
Prediction: Chiefs 34-Raiders 20
Week 9 at the San Diego Chargers
Getting back to that topic of sweeping the West, here is the test, our first divisional road game of the season. We all know how often we win at Qualcomm. It hasn’t happened often in the last decade. Do I think our boys can go into Diego with a 5-2 record overall and 2-0 in the division and get to 3-0 against the West? Of course I do. Do I think it will happen? Tough one to answer this early on, but I lean towards no. The Powder Blues might be in a early season semi-must win situation here, and Rivers has a tendency to carve threw the Chiefs secondary when the game is tight in the 4th quarter. I don’t want to be a buzz kill here, but I think we come up just short in this one.
Prediction: Chargers 27-Chiefs 24
Week 10 at the Pittsburg Steelers
I really wish this game was at Arrowhead. Captain obvious I get it. Winning in Pittsburg in mid Nov will simply be no easy task. Again my reference to the Bolts game the week before; do I think they can, of course. Will they? Highly unlikely. Until Matt Cassel shows us all that he is ready to perform when other components of the game plan have not been executed then I will change my thinking with games like this. I want to see how Matt responds this year in a week where the Chiefs running game is being stuffed, and the defense is playing just ok. Will he rise up or fold? If the 2nd half of the 2010 Wild Card game against the Ravens is the REAL Matt Cassel, then a win at Heinz field on Monday Night Football where our running game will likely not get off for more than 80 total yards and need Cassel to play lights out just doesn’t seem realistic. Another buzz kill.
Prediction: Steelers 20-Chiefs 13
Week 11 at Arrowhead against the Cincinnati Bengals
So by my score card we are 5-4 at this point and desperate for a win after loosing two straight. Our boys return to Arrowhead for some sweet home cooking, ready to feast on a Bengals team that is on the upstart and headed in the right direction. We are going to make love to a soft Bengal defense with a stellar game plan, perfectly blended with a 150+ yards on the ground and play action deep goodness over the top. I don’t have much to say about this one because it won’t be close. Chiefs in a ROUT.
Prediction: Chiefs 38-Bengals 17
Week 12 at Arrowhead against the Denver Broncos
Giddy up. Here we go, finally. Peyton and the merry donkeys come to KC for what will be a defining moment to this 2012 season. It’s Romeo’s defense against Peyton once again. It’s a divisional showdown that will surely play into tie-breakers come seasons end. It’s Thanksgiving weekend and the Chiefs will have saved their appetites from Thursday to gobble up roasted Pony, and get even from the game in Arrowhead last year that saw Baldwin’s SICK catch pinning the ball on Dawkins tailbone called back due to an illegal procedure on Breaston, Von Miller ending Cassel’s season and a 4th quarter 50 yard improbable hail mary from Timmy to Decker to seal our fate. I like most of you reading this will be there in person to witness the Chiefs flat out get it done. The Broncos will of course be better this year, but not on this day. Not in our house.
Prediction: Chiefs 28-Broncos 24
Week 13 at Arrowhead against the Carolina Panthers
The 3rd straight game at home features a very intriguing matchup with Cam Newton and a good Panther team that will have some impressive wins in Cam’s sophomore season. The beauty of this game, of course, is it’s at home, and I venture to say that Cam won’t have experienced a road game in his early career the way he will experience Arrowhead and our raving fanatics on this day. A familiar face returns in their backfield, the human bowling ball, Mike Tolbert. Derrick Johnson and the Chief linebackers will have their sights focused directly on Cam and his ability to tuck the rock and make plays with his feet. But an average Carolina defense won’t be enough to stop the run, or the Chiefs, from getting our 3rd straight win and pushing our record to 8-4.
Prediction: Chiefs 27-Panthers 20
Week 14 at the Cleveland Browns
I look forward to this game and to witnessing Brandon Weeden, who I really would have loved KC to draft in the 2nd round had he been there, and the next great NFL running back in Trent Richardson. This Browns team had a killer draft and added to immediate contributors to their starting roster. Weeden as we all know is no average NFL rookie at his ripe age of 28, and he will make plays instantly. When you look at some of the most impressive contributing NFL rookie QB’s over the past few years, (Flacco, Ryan, Dalton and Newton), Weeden should follow suit and have a decent year. Especially with that beast behind him in the backfield. But there are too many other holes on this Browns roster, and while this game could be a trap I think the Chiefs will be ready to notch their 4th dub in row.
Prediction: Chiefs 24-Browns 17
Week 15 at the Oakland Raiders
Ooh baby, our first chance to sweep our favorite hated division foe since 2006. It’s tough to see where the Raiders will be at this point in the season, but even if they are long out of it playing a 9-4 KC team, rest assured they will throw the kitchen sink at us to prevent what few Chief fans will boldly grace the stands of the Coliseum from waving their brooms around. I simply think Carson Palmer doesn’t have that “it” quality any more, and Tamba, Poe and Johnson will pressure him into making bad decisions once again. A la that 4 INT game we recorded against him in Oakland last season. Chiefs get it done and get to double digits in the win column.
Prediction: Chiefs 27-Raiders 20
Week 16 at Arrowhead against the Indianapolis Colts
Another opportunity to see a rookie QB, the #1 overall pick and the guy responsible for driving Peyton to his new residence in the AFC West. Andrew Luck will make a lot of people firmly realize why he was the clear cut choice to be drafted where he was, putting all the RGIII apologists to rest. Clearly the Colts are rebuilding and they won’t be competitive for a couple of years. This is a December game at Arrowhead against a rookie QB and very soft defensive team. Need I say more?
Prediction: Chiefs 34-Colts 21
Week 17 at the Denver Broncos
Alas it all comes down to this; another season ending game in Denver, and a game that will have massive implications in how the West will be Won. The Chiefs come to the Mile High City in frigid temps to a hostile crowd, with an 11-4 record and a chance to sweep their Colorado rivals for the first time since the 2000 season. And all that is riding on this game is likely going to be the AFC West crown outright. I’m certainly no Nostradamus and to accurately predict any NFL game ahead of training camp, let alone Week 17, is impossible. Who will be healthy? Will Denver have Brock Osweiler or Caleb Hanie playing QB with Manning out for the season? Will the Chiefs rebound from our injury plagued 2011 season and be close to full strength? I have firmly stated that I don’t believe Peyton will play the entire year, and it won’t be because of his neck, but rather because he is 36 and hasn’t played NFL football for a over a year. His frame likely won’t able to withstand a season of smashing hits, because I believe this Broncos offensive line has a couple weak links. But let’s pretend both teams are relatively healthy. Sorry to say I just ran out of red kool-aid and I don’t think the Chiefs will have enough to over power Peyton and a dink and dunk strategy to win our 7th straight game. Thus we finish the season with a mark of 11-5, which may be enough to win this division by virtue of tie-breakers.
Prediction: Broncos 27-Chiefs 20
So what do you think Addicts? Predicting not just with our hearts, what games am I misfiring on? And do we Win the West, and more importantly advance in the tournament?