Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals: 5 Things To Watch For In Week 14

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5. Deep-Ball Development

Oct 19, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) looks to pass during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Calling Kansas City’s front five an “offensive line” is like calling “1234” a password. Technically, it offers protection, but it usually ends up being breached.

That said, if the Chiefs hope to hone their vertical game, this is the week to do it.

Calais Campbell is the most nightmarish 3-4 defensive end not named J.J. Watt. If Kansas City heaves it downfield, chipping No. 93 will be a prerequisite.

However, outside of him, Alex Okafor is the only pass-rushing threat that Arizona presents—the same Alex Okafor who was manhandled by Eric Fisher during Senior Bowl drills. (Disclaimer: Given the state of the current line, I wouldn’t bank on deja vu.)

If the planets align, and Alex Smith drops back with a relatively clean pocket, he should have his fair share of downfield opportunities.

In all likelihood, Rashad Johnson and Tony Jefferson will get the nod as the starting safeties. The former allows 18.2 yards per reception, and receivers catch 81.5 percent of targets versus the latter.

On the outside, Antonio Cromartie is still largely underrated. Conversely, his parter in crime, Patrick Peterson, is the most overhyped corner in the league. Easily.

He has been flagged for three more penalties than any other cornerback, all the while being torched for eight touchdowns. The last time Smith faced Peterson, he scorched the then-rookie for two touchdowns and 58 yards on 5-of-5 passing.

Obviously, two years is night and day in regards to a player’s development. But of corners who have played a quarter of defensive snaps, Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranks Peterson No. 88 of 117.