Victory in Europe: Chiefs rising/falling into London

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Oct 2, 2015; London, United Kingdom; General view of Wembley Stadium in advance of the NFL International Series game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rising Squad: Air Attack

The Maclin injury seems to be a hiccup. If he doesn’t play against the Lions, the Chiefs have solid options in Albert Wilson and Chris Conley. Wilson has made big plays for several weeks running and Conley had the most efficient performance by a receiver this season in week 7. He went 6-for-7 with a touchdown and 70+ yards receiving. De’Anthony Thomas has been producing and would round out a very young trio without Maclin.

If Maclin can return from the concussion protocol, all the better. Smith has been able to look downfield more in recent weeks. Having his top target back with capable options in at the “x” and “slot” positions bodes well for the passing game versus the Lions.

Falling Squad: Run Defense

Mike DeVito has been ruled out forth contest in London. Ramik Wilson has been ruled out as well. These two are key defenders to stopping the run. Mike Devito has a strong backup in Jaye Howard and that is something that Wilson cannot boast.

Without Wilson, the Chiefs will have to rely on Josh Mauga. Mauga’s liability against the run is plain to see, but one stat illustrates the fall-off form Wilson to Mauga. Wilson has just one missed tackle on the season. Mauga is credited with six.

The Lions have struggled running the ball with rookie Ameer Abdullah. However, Abdullah is a home-run hitter. If he can get to the second level, he can break runs to the end zone. The Chiefs cannot afford for Mauga to miss.

Bottom line in Greenwich time

Wembley stadium is huge. The time change is significant. It’s a challenge for any team to play overseas in London. Returning to the US, and the bye week, with a Victory in Europe will have a critical affect on the rest of the season. A record of 3-5 isn’t good, but it’s the first step toward .500. in 2015, there is a very good chance a .500 team will be a wildcard in the AFC.

Check back next week. I’ll have more …

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