Today we wrap up our look at the four quarters of the 2013-14 Kansas City Chiefs season. My predictions through the first twelve games would leave the AFC West looking like this:
7-5 Denver Broncos
7-5 Kansas City Chiefs
2-10 Oakland Raiders
The Chargers are atop the food chain, with the Broncos maintaining a slight lead over the Chiefs because of the strength of schedule tiebreaker. The Raiders are, well, the Raiders. For context, here’s the full schedule, with last year’s records in parenthesis:
@ Jaguars (2-14)
@ Eagles (4-12)
@ Titans (6-10)
@ Bills (6-10)
@ Broncos (13-3)
@ Washington (10-6)
@ Raiders (4-12)
@ Chargers (7-9)
For the fourth quarter, we face two divisional rivals and two of the hottest young quarterbacks in the league in RG3 at Washington and Andrew Luck and the Colts in Kansas City. Like the third quarter of the season, this fourth quarter will be challenging, and a playoff berth will be on the line. Before we get into the last four games, let’s first take a look at how I think our AFC West opponents will fare:
|Team||Opponents||Quarterly Records||Overall Record|
|Denver Broncos||Ravens (lose)@Giants (lose)
|@Cowboys (win)Jaguars (win)
|@Chargers (win)Chiefs (win)
|Titans (win)Chargers (win)
|San Diego Chargers||Texans (lose)@Eagles (win)
|@Raiders (win)Colts (lose)
|@Washington (lose)Broncos (lose)
|Giants (win)@Broncos (lose)
|Oakland Raiders||@Colts (lose)Jaguars (win)
|Chargers (lose)@Chiefs (lose)
|@Eagles (lose)@Giants (lose)
|@Jets (lose)Kansas City (lose)
@San Diego (lose)
I have the Broncos and Chargers both finishing at 10-6 and the lowly Raiders at 2-14. That sets the bar for our last four games – we need to go 3-1 at a minimum, so that we’re in the running for a division title or a wild card spot. Here we go, Addicts!
Week 14: @ Washington: Well damn, this is not a good game to start off our fourth quarter. We’ve all seen highlight reel after highlight reel on RG3. He will come back from his knee injury like Adrian Peterson – better and faster than ever. RG3 has a new target this year too – tight end Jordan Reed, a third round pick who has been getting rave reviews this offseason. With the return of second year running back Alfred Morris, who had a surprising and monster season last year, Washington’s offense will be one of the league’s best. The defense is led by two linebackers: ageless wonder London Fletcher and pass rusher Brian Orakpo. The one place to exploit is Washington’s secondary. On this Sunday, RG3 is just too good, passing for 300 yards as Washington beats the Chiefs 27-17.
Week 15: @ Raiders: “Hapless” has always been one of my favorite words. It is one of those accidents of evolution in the English language where a negative form of a word survives the original word. You just never hear anyone talking about “hap” by itself. And speaking of accidents of evolution, we now turn to the hapless Oakland Raiders. When owner Mark Davis took over and hired General Manager Reggie McKenzie, you could almost see the franchise take its first step out of the primordial sludge onto dry land, in the hopes of becoming a rodent one day. But the signs are already there that Davis will continue the meddling traditions of his father, Al Davis. The Raiders are being tugged back into their origins – pond scum. It’s simply their destiny. In Week 15, the Chiefs will run all day long, with Jamaal Charles gaining 200 yards and Knile Davis getting his first one hundred yard rushing game of the season. In Week 15, we also see Nico Johnson’s breakout game, cementing his spot at inside linebacker. The Chiefs go into Oakland’s house and destroy them, 42-10.
Week 16: Colts: Of all of our fourth quarter games, this one is the most important, and will make the difference between a 2-2 quarter and a 3-1 quarter. I expect the Chiefs to split the season series with the Chargers (see below), which means that this Colts game will be the difference maker in our playoff chances. If we can make it to 3-1, we will vie for the division title or a wildcard. If we finish this quarter at 2-2 and a 9-7 record, we will be battling it out with probably 5-6 teams for the final playoff spot. The Colts picked one of my favorite draft choices this year with the 24th overall pick – defensive end/linebacker Bjoern Werner, who practically defines “upside.” But second year QB Andrew Luck will be operating behind the NFL’s worst offensive line in 2012. This year, they may have as many as four new starters, with the only consistent play coming from left tackle Anthony Castonzo. To make matters worse for Luck, his receivers are an unknown quantity. Veteran Pro Bowler Reggie Wayne will be entering his thirteenth season, and the Colts picked up former Raider Darrius Heyward-Bey in the offseason. After that, there are about 10 first and second year players competing for playing time. Playing at home, I think the Chiefs’ front seven do a number on the Colts’ offensive line and frustrate Luck all day. The Chiefs win this critical game, 16-10, as Ryan Succop comes through on three field goals.
Week 17: @ San Diego Chargers: I had the Chargers beating the Chiefs after the bye week. It’s time for the Chiefs to take revenge. Being a do-or-die game for the Chiefs, we do. We come out strong with the first play of the game, with Knile Davis doing what no Chief has done in three years of play – returning a kickoff for a touchdown. On the very next play, Eric Berry intercepts Philip Rivers, the Chiefs march 20 yards for a score on an Alex Smith-to-Dwayne Bowe fade route and Kansas City is off to the races. This game becomes one of those snowball games where the Chiefs just keep picking up momentum, with the offense, defense and special teams feeding off each other. Tamba Hali has an absolute field day against the Chargers’ left tackle (either King Dunlap or Max Starks) and the Chiefs dominate the Chargers, 35-14.
The AFC West finishes:
The Chiefs go to the playoffs in Andy Reid’s inaugural year! Addicts, what do you think? Can we make the playoffs this year?!