Victory in Europe: Chiefs rising/falling into London

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Sep 28, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; General view of the playing of the national anthem with British and United States flag on the field before the NFL International Series game between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is a significant game. It can build a winning streak or send the franchise into a tailspin. It’s a “home” game that isn’t at home. IT has a general feeling of being a little bit off.

The words are the same, but they sound a little different. The field is still grass but the dimensions make it feel a strange. I can only imagine how different the tailgating is going to be.

This game’s conclusion will mark the mid-point of the Chiefs 2015 season. While it has not gone as expected, all is not lost. Only 2 teams have more than a 1 game lead on a wildcard position. By finishing the first half off with a win, the team can set itself up for a run in the second half. This game is important.

As the team flies over to London, there are a group of players and groups that are in transition. Some are getting better; some are losing ground.

Rising Player: Sean Smith

Smith got back in the lineup against he Bengals and now has four games under his belt for this season. He struggled a bit against Chicago. He struggled with speed against the Vikings. Now, he has found his stride. Despite playing against three Pittsburgh receivers with a speed advantage, Smith put up his best performance of the season against the Steelers. He will be a focus after the team’s bye with games against both Denver and San Diego.

Falling Player: Ben Grubbs

The former Pro-Bowler has had an up-and-down first half of his first season in Kansas City. An aging veteran, he was expected to be solid, but has been anything but. He has see-sawed and had a bad run against the entire NFC North. Heading into the last of that division’s teams in the Lions, Grubbs has hit with another curveball. He was ruled out late Thursday, hours prior to the team’s flight to London. His absence will change the lineup that is in desperate need of continuity.

Jeff Allen has just returned and should stay at right tackle. Mitch Morse has been solid in the middle and should not be asked to slide outside to guard. That move would downgrade two positions. Jah Reid hasn’t repped at guard since leaving Baltimore, but could be an option. The top option for the left guard slot is simple and dangerous. Its Zach Fulton. Make one change on the line and take your chances with a second year player with 19 starts.

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