The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated but they will need a special effort to go into Denver and beat the Broncos tonight.
The Chiefs have managed to find a way to win all nine of their games this season but for the last few weeks, the AFC West leaders haven’t played like a team that will be able to stop Peyton Manning. KC has given up far too much ground to the likes of Case Keenum, Jeff Tuel and Jason Campbell to inspire much confidence. The last time the Chiefs were on the field, they played their worst game of the season against the Buffalo Bills. The defense got gashed on the ground that the offense failed to score a TD.
Fortunately for the Chiefs, neither their victories, nor their failures thus far this season, mean a doggone thing tonight.
The NFL season is 16 games but watch enough football and you will know that each game is its own animal. Success one week is no guarantee of success the following week.
And neither is failure.
How did the Jets beat the high-powered Saints? How did the Colts take down the mighty Broncos but get smacked around by the inconsistent Rams? How can the Atlanta Falcons be Super Bowl contenders one minute and the next, find themselves getting blown out but a terrible Bucs team?
It might be trite but the phase “any given Sunday” is no joke.
The deck is stacked against the Chiefs. They’re going on the road to face a historically prolific Denver offense. Sure, the Chiefs have been stingy on defense but in today’s NFL, the game is rigged to help the offense. Throw in the fact that the Chiefs struggle to score and will be forced to keep pace with perhaps the smartest QB ever to play the game and you have a recipe not only for a letdown, but for a potential blowout.
You can easily see how it could play out. Denver stacks the box to stuff Jamaal Charles and pressure Alex Smith. Smith, always happy to check down, isn’t able to test Denver deep and Kansas City turns in a string of offensive three-and-outs.
On defense, the Chiefs try to play their aggressive style of press man coverage but Peyton Manning is just too smart to hold on to the ball for too long. He makes the right reads and uses quick passes to take advantage of rookie CB Marcus Cooper. The Chiefs fall behind early and the Denver D pins its ears back and the Chiefs are unable to respond.
It very could go down like that.
But there also could be a little magic in the air at Mile High tonight and I’m not talking about anything Dwayne Bowe might be exhaling.
This matchup just screams of a “nobody believes in us game.”
The Chiefs have been battered in the press. There have been columns written about how KC has played the easiest schedule in the NFL. One Denver columnist even called the a “fraud” which is a tad bit harsh.
What’s more, the Chiefs are compiled of a bunch of misfits. The 2012 Chiefs were the NFL’s worst and many of those players are still on the team. Their coach, Andy Reid, was fired and run out of Philadelphia. Their QB, Alex Smith, was benched while having statistically, his best season. He was then traded away. Their number one WR, Dwayne Bowe, has been criticized for having his worst season and was this week arrested for speeding and possession of marijuana. Bowe was skewered in the press.
What if instead of crumbling under the pressure of going on the road against Manning, the Chiefs double their focus? What if rather than listening to their detractors, the Chiefs set out on a mission to prove them wrong? What if, instead of Bowe’s arrest distracting them and driving them apart, the Chiefs use the adversity to close ranks and become closer?
What if all the extra adversity is just the inspiration the Chiefs need to want this win just a little bit more than the Denver Broncos?
It will take a special effort for the Chiefs to beat the Broncos tonight.
But the Chiefs just might be special.