Chiefs vs. Saints: 5 Keys To Victory


John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be writing a Kansas City Chiefs keys to victory post!

The Chiefs are currently on their way to New Orleans where they will take on Drew Brees and the Saints in the first preseason game of 2013!

This is an important game for a number of reasons. For starters, it is the first game of the Andy Reid era. Preseason or not, nothing is better for morale than a win. The Chiefs were the worst team in the NFL last season so taking care of business out of the gate, under Reid, will go a long way toward washing out the bitter taste the 2012 season left in everyone’s mouths.

Friday night’s game also marks the return of Saints head coach Sean Payton. Payton was suspended last season so he will likely want to get things moving in the right direction by shaking off some rust and getting a win.

The high-powered Saints passing attack will be a nice barometer for the Chiefs’ starters on defense. While most of the plays New Orleans runs will be vanilla, that is still Drew Brees out there throwing passes and he isn’t the kind of QB that misses often.

Here are five things I think the Chiefs need to do to get a W on Friday.

1. Jamaal Charles, please

Jamaal Charles is the most dangerous weapon the Chiefs have. He pretty much single-handedly defeated the Saints last season, giving the Chiefs their very first (and next to last) victory. He may only play on a limited basis but if Jamaal can heavily contribute to one TD drive, the Chiefs could be on their way to a win.

2. Execution

The Chiefs were terrible at executing even the simplest of tasks in 2012. Whenever they did something right, they almost immediately followed it up with some kind of blunder. Can the 2013 squad play more focused football this season? We’re about to find out.

3. QB Play

This is a key to victory every week but when your QBs have been as bad as Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko, Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi, you need to cling to the basics. One of the reasons the Chiefs didn’t win very much in the preseason in past years was because their QB depth was atrocious. Chase Daniel, KC’s primary backup, is a former Saint. He is going to want to perform well against his old team and he should be familiar with some of the personnel New Orleans has on defense. If Daniel can make the most out of his quarter, the Chiefs will be in good shape heading into the half.

4. Reserve Secret Star

Every preseason, there is a surprise secret star hiding somewhere on the depth chart. Sometimes, that secret star can have a field day late in the game. Dexter McCluster, for instance, was a very dangerous preseason dump off weapon. McCluster was way more talented than the scrubs that were still in the game and was able to help the offense move the ball. Last year, Nate Eachus emerged as a tough runner and snagged himself a roster spot as a FB.

If some unknown player can make an impact late in the game, the Chiefs will be in business.

5. Jonathan Baldwin

If I am the New Orleans defensive coordinator, my first priority is Jamaal Charles, my second priority is Dwayne Bowe and my third priority is putting Alex Smith on his back.

If Jonathan Baldwin can make my third priority my fourth priority by making himself my third priority, the Chiefs should score enough points to win Friday night.