State of Chiefs Nation Address


The bye week, basically the midway point, is upon us, and as Chiefs fans we have quite a bit to be thankful for.

Our Chiefs are 4-3; sitting atop the AFC West after most NFL experts predicted us to be cellar dwellars.

Jared Allen looks like the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year right now, racking up eight sacks and 12 quarterback hits (20 total QB pressures) in five games. The scary thing is that he’s almost just as good against the run.

Dwayne Bowe leads rookie receivers in essentially every statistical category.

We haven’t yet suffered a full-fledged QB controversy, and we all know the effect those can have on morale.

The Chargers couldn’t have been more wrong — Donnie Edwards hasn’t lost anything. He’s spearheaded a linebacking unit nicknamed “the fastest three in captivity.” That ain’t no lie. The Pats’ backers might be the smartest three in captivity, but those old men can’t run like our backers can.

Ex-Bears defensive tackle Alfonso Boone was a helluva pick up. He’s been our best DT by far this season. The other under-the-radar pick up has been special teams performer extraordinaire Jon McGraw.

Young safeties Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page are starting to resemble the consistent playmaking duo we all hoped they’d become.

Larry Johnson is finally getting into a groove. There’s been a lot of bitching and moaning about L.J., but people tend to forget that he started last season slowly as well (as did the Chiefs). And that was when he actually played more than just one series during the preseason. I think he and the offensive line are starting to gel to some degree.

The Chiefs have won in spite of offensive coordinator Mike Solari‘s playcalling, not because of it. With playcalling this bad, things can only improve. Maybe Herm Edwards‘ staff can straighten things out during the bye week?

Other than Eddie Kennison‘s hammy, the Chiefs have stayed relatively injury free. We should be 100% healthy following the break, with Dimitri Patterson, Kennison and Keyaron Fox back in the mix. That’s amazing considering that our corners have lived a combined 113 years on this planet.

Jason Whitlock will probably take a break from the Chiefs to go talk about how NFL players are “bojanglers” (I absolutely loathe that stupid term) over at ESPN Page 2, AOL, Fox Sports… where is he now again? Anyway, just as the players get a break from practice, we get a break from Jabba that is just as well deserved.

Most importantly — the one and only Priest Holmes is back.

What does this all mean? It means that as October winds down our situation is looking much better than expected.

I know, I know, the Chiefs only just beat the Raiders. Still, it’s a division road win nonetheless, and a victory against a team that had eight straight previous losses against us to use as bulletin board material.

We can all be negative if we choose to be — and, trust me, I’ve recently both heard and read plenty of negativity from Chiefs fans– but we shouldn’t. The bottom line is that the Chiefs weren’t ready for this NFL season at all and dropped two on the road to two pretty decent teams as a result. Since that point we’re 4-1, people. Plus, we’re 4-1 with Allen, arguably our best player. We’re right in the playoff race.

Before any of you go all Jim Mora Sr. on me, think about it. Even considering the slow start and all of the offensive problems, THE CHIEFS ARE IN FIRST PLACE IN THE AFC WEST. Plus, other than the Colts game, the rest of the schedule is favorable. After winning at both Oakland and San Diego, we are in position to win all our division games. Considering how bad the Broncos have looked this season (three last-second field goals is all that’s kept them from being 0-6), that really isn’t that far fetched.

The players are off this week, but the coaches should be anything but off. If we can correct some of our offensive issues, I fully expect us to win 10 games. The Chiefs have nine games left, which means we have to win at least six of nine. Can we? Let’s look forward.

GREEN BAY – This is a good team that’s played over its head. It’s hard to rattle Brett Favre, but the Chiefs ball-hawking defense will be able to force him into mistakes. WIN

DENVER BRONCOS – Again, the underachieving Broncos have only won games by last-second field goals. Plus, they likely will be without Travis Henry. I just don’t see the Donks stealing this one. No way. The fans give our boys a little something for the Denver game every year. WIN

@ Indianapolis Colts – Next. LOSS

OAKLAND RAIDERS – The Chiefs just beat them up in Oakland when their season was still alive. We extend the streak to 10 at home. WIN

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – Let’s just be pessimistic here and say the Chargers come into Arrowhead and exact revenge. LOSS

@ Denver Broncos – Again, let’s play the pessimist here and forecast another patented Jason Elam game winner. LOSS

TENNESSEE – I don’t see this one-dimensional team moving the ball on us. Honestly, offensively they really don’t even have one dimension. WIN

@ Detroit Lions – This game doesn’t worry me at all. The Lions will be out of the playoffs by this point. They have both one of the worst defenses and rushing attacks in the NFL. WIN

@ New York Jets – This team is already out of the playoffs, and this could be a play-in game for us. I just don’t see Kellen Clemons (yes, Chad Pennington will be done by then) carving us up, even at home. WIN

Even playing the pessimist, I still see us winning six of nine and ending up 10-6. That should be good enough to get us into the playoffs, and could be good enough to win the AFC West. The only game I’m worried about that I marked a win is the Packers game. Since that game follows a bye week, we should be more than prepared for Favre, his Pack and the media circus that is following them around these days.

There. I said it. The Chiefs are good enough to make the playoffs, and, barring disaster, I think we will. This is the best defense we’ve seen in ten years and the offense is improving. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how good of a soothsayer I truly am, but for now let’s try to stay positive. It will make the agonizing bye week a little more tolerable.