We’re 8 days away from the start of the 2013 Regular Season. Week 1 brings the Chiefs to Jacksonville, and while they were just about as awful as Kansas City was last year, you can’t sleep on anyone in the NFL. Let’s talk about who needs to step it up for KC to head back to Arrowhead, 1-0.
1) Dontari Poe
The strength of Jacksonville’s offensive line is in tackles Eugene Monroe and Luke Joeckel. With the two former first round picks working against Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, disruption will have to come from the defensive line.
Aside from Joeckel, Jacksonville’s line is identical to last year’s; a unit that was 3rd in sacks allowed, and 30th in rushing. Poe has an opportunity to set the tone for the defense, and be a nightmare for the Jacksonville interior. If he can do that, it could be a long day for the Jags.
2) Sean Smith
With Justin Blackmon sidelined, Brandon Flowers will most likely be covering Cecil Shorts. That leaves the 6’3” Sean Smith on Ace Sanders, a 5’7” rookie receiver. That’s an eight-inch difference in height. I expect Sanders to slip away from Smith for a couple of catches, due to his quickness. But if Smith can get his hands on him at the line, he can shut that side down and allow Bob Sutton to frequently send extra guys after Blaine Gabbert.
3) Branden Albert
In 2011, with the Philadelphia Eagles, Defensive End Jason Babin thrived in the “wide nine” and ended up with 18 sacks. A rocky start to 2012 got him cut, and he landed with the Jags. He ended up with 7 sacks in 2012 (5.5 with Philly, and 1.5 with Jacksonville), which isn’t awful, but it’s also not 18. If Babin gets back to form, Albert could have his work cut out for him. Albert needs to step up, earn his franchise money, and keep Jason Babin off of Alex Smith in this game.
What do you think Addicts? Can these guys get it done in Week 1?