Any team that is starting out 0-3 in the NFL is not in their ideal situation. The situation gets even worse when you are the defending division champions like our beloved Kansas City Chiefs.
This is the position the Chiefs found themselves in going into week 4 against the Minnesota Vickoings. After three weeks of disappointment, Kansas City saw the Chiefs defeat the underachieving Vikings for their first win of the season. The fans did not immediately jump back on the bandwagon, and I don’t expect them too, but it is safe to say some people began to feel cautiously optimistic again.
While it was great to get that first W of the year last week, in my mind week 5 is a must-win game. The Chiefs will go to Indianapolis and face a Colts team without all world quarterback Peyton Manning.
Read more after the jump to see why this is a must-win game and what the Chiefs need to do to enter the bye week with 2-3 record, and more importantly a two-game winning streak.
On paper, this game appears to be nothing to write home about. A lousy 0-4 Colts team versus a pathetic 1-3 Chiefs team. But the simple reason this game is a must win and carries so much significance is because the Colts represent a team the Chiefs’ current roster can beat. Honestly, there are probably not a lot of team the Chiefs’ current roster can say that about, therefore they need to take advantage of these opportunities against beatable competition.
Looking past the fact that Kansas City must take advantage of every beatable opponent they face, momentum is another reason this game is a must-win for the Chiefs.
When the Chiefs start out the season 0-3 it crushed any momentum the team might have started out with, leaving players and fans alike wondering just how bad it was going to get in Kansas City this year.
That first win against the Vikings was huge, however beating the Colts would take the Chiefs into their bye week with a two game winning streak and their first road win of the season.
After the bye week the Chiefs next game will be on October 23 against the much hated Oakland Raiders (RIP to Al Davis). To beat the Raiders, the Chiefs will need every bit of confidence and momentum they can get, and that confidence and moementum starts with beating the Colts tomorrow.
So how do the Chiefs go about ensuring they beat the Colts?
For one, in order for the defense to be successful the Chiefs’ two great cornerbacks, Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers, need to limit the big-play wide recievers that the Colts seem to have so many of. Of course we all know about Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, but let’s not forget about big play threats such as Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon.
If Flowers and Carr are able to shut down the receiving weapons it will give the Chiefs
defensive line time to get pressure on Curtis Painter. Painter has already shown the tendency to struggle once he gets pressure on him. If the Chiefs can get to Painter, he will obviously have a hard time getting the ball to his more-talented weapons on offense.
For the Chiefs to come away with a win this weekend they will need the offensive line to protect Matt Cassel from Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. However, regardless of the pressure, Cassel has to play mistake-free football. So far this season that has not been the case, as Cassel has made his share of mistakes.
Cassel has already thrown five interceptions and lost a fumble after throwing just seven interceptions for the entire season last year. With the way this season has started for the Chiefs, they cannot afford to have Cassel play like a bonehead in Indy this weekend.
If he can move his offense down the field and not cough up the ball on Sunday, his team will have a great chance to come out of Indianapolis with a huge road win.
While I know a 2-3 record is disappointing, it is manageable. If the Chiefs win every game at home after that point, which is very difficult and unlikely, their record would stand at .500. If the Chiefs are able to win a couple of tough road games then they are right back where they were last year, fighting for the AFC West crown.
While the playoffs look like, and are, a long shot for Kansas City, it is still a possibility. A win against Indianapolis Sunday would put them on the right path, however, losing four out of their first five games will mean that the Chiefs’ season is all but over after only 5 weeks.