The Chiefs are playing at a high level and the Cardinals aren’t. This is how the Chiefs can ensure victory against one of the worst teams in the NFL.
The Kansas City Chiefs continued their dominance last week against the Cleveland Browns in a not-so-surprising victory. Now, for the second week in a row, the Chiefs enter the week as favorites to beat a struggling team—this week being the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cards should not be overlooked. While I understand that the game against the L.A. Rams, set for next week, has been circled by many as the game of the year, the Chiefs cannot allow themselves to be lackadaisical in their approach to the Cardinals at home. Here are the keys to victory against Arizona.
Keep the defense on their heels and don’t be totally predictable.
This is simple. The Cardinals are pretty decent against the run because they flow to the ball very effectively. On this play, the 49ers line up in an offset I-formation and run a toss to the strongside. With relative ease, the Cardinals are able to crash down on Matt Breida, giving him nowhere to go. Notice how the entire defense shifts to that side of the field. I wish that Bob Sutton’s defenses flowed that well.
What this means for the Chiefs is that they will need to mix it up. This is not a problem for Andy Reid and co. If the Cardinals have any idea of where a running play may be going they are very good at stopping it before it gets started. The Chiefs will likely to spread defenders out better than San Fransisco did here.
Use the Cardinals defensive aggressiveness against them.
We see the most defensive collapses for the Cardinals in this part of their game. A lot of Arizona’s success comes from there aggressiveness, but so do their weaknesses. On this play, Matt Nagy calls a bootleg pass to Trey Burton. It is obvious that the Cardinals were nervous about speedy running back, Tarik Cohen. Off of the fake handoff, Mitch Trubisky rolls right to find a wide open receiver. Watch how the defense slides with the runner, by doing this the Bears are able to catch the linebacker out of position.
Patrick Mahomes will need to locate easy mismatches.
This is another one of those things that comes with the job of being a quarterback in the NFL. What makes it a bit different is that the Cardinals, like the Chiefs, have issues with man-to-man matchups from time to time. While the Cardinals like Deone Bucannon to be a hybrid guy and cover receivers as well as attack ball carriers, they don’t always have him in good situations. There are several other guys that I have seen out of place on their film. This is just too easy for Adam Thielen and Kirk Cousins. They see Josh Bynes lined up on Thielen and he makes a double move. See you later.
For the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes will need to be actively looking for these unfavorable matchups for the Cardinals. With a little help from Andy Reid’s playcalling, I think that the Chiefs will find these matchups at least twice. When it happens, the Chiefs had better capitalize on it.