It’s Week 14 in the NFL and that means the race for the twelve coveted playoff spots are in full force. As of now, only one of those spots has been spoken for — Seattle earned one in their victory last week — but as of now, not even the Denver Broncos are guaranteed a spot at the dance that follows the regular season.
As has been talked about here all week, the Chiefs can lock up their spot in the post season with a win in Landover, Maryland against the Washington Redskins and a loss or a tie by either the Baltimore Ravens or the Miami Dolphins. However, since the Chiefs control most of their destiny, we’ll focus on what they need to do to win.
Key #1: GET TO THE QUARTERBACK
I’m not going to quote you a bunch of stats about how the Chiefs have only sacked the quarterback one time since returning from their bye, after leading the league in that category after the first eight weeks. Damn, I guess I just did. Regardless, they’re playing a very bad Redskins offensive line today and they need to apply constant pressure to the legend in the making, RG III. Without that, they can probably forget it. As Kenny Cember stated in this week’s episode of AA Radio, if the Chiefs don’t come away with two or three sacks today — at a minimum — I’ll be very concerned with this team moving forward.
Key #2: RUN THE BALL
Oh, the weather outside is frightful… Sorry, but it is and I couldn’t resist. It’s snowing in Landover right now, and the wind is blowing pretty good. This doesn’t bode well for much of a passing game, which is okay, considering the Chiefs have one of the best running backs in the league. This could very well be the game that Charles is forced to put the team on his back and carry them to their first victory in a month.
Key #3: CONTROL THE RUN
The problem with the weather is it works the other way too. The Redskins have a damn good running back of their own in Alfred Morris. This Redskins team leads the league in rushing yards at a clip of right around 150 yards per game. Coming up against a Chiefs defense that has been less than stellar against the run, that creates some serious concerns, especially when the weather will likely force an increased rushing game. The defensive front has to be strong against the rush. Derrick Johnson, Dontari Poe and Tyson Jackson have to step up today and do their best Gandalf the Grey impression. “No one shall pass.” Nothing? Really? Okay…moving on.
Key #4: WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE
Even after their three game slip, one category the Chiefs still the lead the league in is the turnover differential. Coming into today’s match up, the Chiefs are at a +16 on turnovers. Even though games in weather like today are notorious for more turnovers than normal, I’m confident this Chiefs team will find a way to limit those to the absolute minimum. On the other side of the ball, the defense needs to do what it has all season and take that ball away. The more chances this offense has to score, the better.
Key #5: LEAVE THE LAST THREE WEEKS BEHIND
One of the most overused cliches in the NFL is “you have to have a short memory.” No truer words have spoken than when talking about the Chiefs coming into Week 14. The losses of the last three weeks — and especially the close one from the last two weeks — have to be firmly in the rear view mirror for this Chiefs team to have success moving forward. They can’t focus on the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” of winning the division — which is now quite the longshot. They must worry about what they control moving forward and play this Redskins team like it’s the only game of the season.
There it is, Addicts. The Chiefs need to come away from this game with a victory. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. A win (and some help) get them into the playoffs for the first time since 2010. A loss and the red flags will continue to surround this team moving forward. Kickoff is only a couple of hours away. We’ll see how it shakes out.
Topics: Kansas City Chiefs