Chiefs vs. Falcons: 5 Keys To Victory

The Kansas City Chiefs will open their 2012 regular season this Sunday, when the Atlanta Falcons, a team with Super Bowl aspirations, visits Arrowhead Stadium. The game will be an early litmus test for a Chiefs team entering the season with high expectations. Romeo Crennel’s squad faces a challenging schedule out of the gate and a win over the favored Falcons will go a long way toward setting the tone for what many hope will be a magical season in the City of Fountains.

The Falcons are going to be tough to take down, but here are five keys to victory for this week’s game.

1. Run Wild

The Kansas City Chiefs have plenty of talented receivers and weapons but their first key to victory in every game this season will be to run the football with success. The return of Jamaal Charles and the addition of Peyton Hillis should make the KC run game formidable. We saw flashes of what this team can do on the ground during the preseason and trust me, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

The Chiefs need to win this game, and if they give the Falcons a heavy dose of Charles and Hillis, they’ll have a darn good shot to come out victorious.

2. Ground the Falcons

If the Chiefs want to win this game then they need to let the Atlanta Falcons run the football with Michael Turner. There is no getting around it: the KC secondary is going to be outmatched against Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez. If Tamba Hali was playing and applying pressure I might feel differently but with a banged up Flowers and a rusty Eric Berry, the Chiefs need to play things conservatively in the defensive backfield. Matt Ryan is too good of a QB and he will smoke the Chiefs if given the chance.

No, the Chiefs need to make running the football enticing to Atlanta. They can allow Michael Turner to get his yards. The Falcons will move the football. The Chiefs just need to avoid giving up the big play.

When the Chiefs beat the Packers last year, they sold out to stop the pass. Ryan Grant ran the ball 12 times for 66 yards, good for a 5.5 yards-per-carry average, well above his usual 4.3. Crennel has employed a similar strategy against other pass-happy teams.

Forcing the other team to run when their strength is passing slows down the game an enables Crennel’s D to bend and not break. The Falcons are way more balanced than most pass heavy teams but the Chiefs have enough talent and speed to contain the running game. They just can’t let Jones and White beat them.

If both teams are running the ball, the score should stay low and close and I think that favors the home team.

3. Target the Big Fellas

It is no secret that Matt Cassel often struggles throwing to the outside. The Chiefs now have two very good pass catching tight ends at their disposal in Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss. Cassel is comfortable and relatively accurate when throwing over the middle. If Daboll can establish the run, he’ll be able to dial up some play action fakes and eat the Falcons alive using his big fellas.

4. Cassel to Hillis

Peyton Hillis is an excellent pass catcher. I anticipate we will see him lining up at full back a lot in this game. There is a reason the Chiefs didn’t keep a true fullback on their roster.

The thing is, Hillis IS a true fullback. He played the position before moving to HB. A Hillis/Charles backfield is a high problem. Either one could realistically get the ball, either one could be a decoy and both could be slipping out on screens in the event of a play fake.  Cassel can hand it to Hillis. Fake it to Hillis and give it to Charles. Hillis can lead block. Hillis can be pretending to lead block when in actuality, he is a receiver on the play.

You get the idea. The KC offense is designed to let Cassel dump it off so his weapons can do their thing. Hillis’ ability to catch and run is a big weapon. KC needs to use it.

5. Nobody Likes Rotten Berrys

Everyone is excited to have Eric Berry back but Berry didn’t look like Berry in the preseason. Athletically he looked 100% to me, but mentally it was pretty clear that the year away from football hurt him. The Chiefs need Berry to shake off the rust and get back to work. I think for Eric, that means relaxing and not trying to do too much. If Berry starts pressing, he is going to find himself out of position and the Falcons are going to find themselves in the endzone.

If Berry can play mistake-free football, the results will take care of themselves.

And those results could be a Chiefs victory.

All right, Addicts. Those are my 5 keys to victory. What are yours?

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • chiefridgy

    1. score in the red zone
    2. score in the red zone
    3. score in the red zone
    4. score in the red zone
    5. score in the red zone

  • vbchief

    My five keys to victory this sunday:
    * Drink beer
    * take a shot
    * eat some bbq
    * drink more beer
    * take another shot.
    If i can manage to do these five things the Chiefs should get away with one in the win column!!!

    GO CHIEFS!!!!!

    • Patrick Allen

      Gotta say, I like your style.

  • thabear04

    No Turn Overs
    Play Smart
    Make Big Plays with Guys Bigs
    Stop White & Jones
    Stop Matt Ryan

  • DoubleD

    For the very reasons you mention combined with the fact that Hali is out, I would keep Berry’s job pretty simple. Our guys up front should be able to contain Michael Turner, thus I think we go heavy with nickel and dime packages, and use Berry’s speed and athleticism to go after Ryan. Gonzalez is not a speedster, but he is going to catch it so yeah you give him all the short stuff to keep Ryan from going deep. Heavy emphasis on sub-packages on D and heavy involvement of our backfield, TEs and slot WR is how I believe we can beat an otherwise extremely talented Falcons team.
    Matt Ryan have proven many times that he is one QB who can definitely carry his team. We simply can’t let him do that this Sunday.

  • tm1946

    Run, not just because that is what this team can do, but may be the only way to keep Alt. offense off the field. Low scoring, mud and blood, run and run again. Hope the defense figures out what to do.

  • Roger Mihalko

    Burn candels to the football gods….too.

    Agree for most part, utilize the TIGHT ENDS big time for blocking and pass catching. Don’t over use hillis, we need him for 16 games and playoffs as well as Charles. With Draghn, Grey, and Eachus, spread it around. If anything it will keep the falcons off balance.

    Daboll needs to stretch the field too, send baldwin and bowe deep more often to keep the falcons defense honest.

    Cassel has to take care of ball, be accurate and efficient, no more than 20-25 attempts.

    The Chiefs D-line has to press and push, the linebackers whoever starts, have to make a herculean effort this game, playing their best, mistake free football.

    EB just needs to play his game, Standfort Routte needs to play his best game.