Chiefs navigate wild course to playoffs

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Dec 13, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford (55) sacks San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 10-3. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs sit in prime position with three weeks remaining in the regular season. The team produced a complete team effort in the rain in Week 14. They have the easiest remaining schedule of the playoff-hopeful franchises, but they have to plot a course through their personnel and philosophical issues to continue to progress and prepare for a playoff spot.

Dodge This

The Kansas City Chiefs, and Justin Houston in particular, have dodged a bullet. Houston made a trip to Alabama to see renowned Dr James Andrews and get a second opinion on his injured knee.  the injury has already kept Houston off the filed for longer than originally expected.

Thursday, the hyperextension was confirmed by Dr. Andrews. Everyone involved can breathe a sigh of relief.

The diagnosis confirmation leaves Houston and the Chiefs relieved, but uncertain about his return. He is likely out one more week at the very least, but could sit until the first Chiefs’ matchup of the postseason.

That would be a cautious plan, but would pay dividends in long run. It would allow Houston to rest his injured knee as well as the rest of his body. Having Houston return in the team’s first playoff contest with fresh legs is a luxury the team can afford. The progression of backup Dee Ford is picking up steam. His three-sack performance against the Chargers is a day that NFL pass-rushers dream of. Most never come close to a day like that.

Dee Ford has not “made it” yet, though. He is still a work in progress. He needs a secondary “counter move” or two to round out his repertoire and he needs to build strength in order to convert his speed to power. Although, he needs to develop better hand fighting, Ford has made progress at it this season.  His rushes against the Chargers displayed that well.

If Houston sits until the playoffs, it will be a bunt Dee Ford’s development. More game-reps will sharpen his instincts and expand his understanding of the game in real-time. Three additional starts will only help him prepare to be a true force as the third pass-rusher in 2015 and the Hali heir of the future. Letting him finish the season as the starter is a win-win-win for both players and the team.

Hear the bottom line

“Episode two looks at the week 14 Chiefs win vs the Chargers, Dee Ford, Albert Wilson, Alex Smith, the running backs, special teams and Travis Kelce. We touch on the remaining AFC West teams and the NFL playoff picture too.”

Listen to or download the new “Check with Me” podcast, hosted by myself and Chris Clark. For more on the Chiefs, the AFC West and the playoff picture, we hit our takeaways and insights from the Chiefs each week.

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