After back-to-back gut wrenching losses, the Kansas City Chiefs find themselves in a three game skid and heading on the road to face RGIII and the Washington Redskins. The Chiefs have dropped three straight division games, ultimately knocking them out of the division race with their rival, the Denver Broncos.
If the Chiefs can grab this win on Sunday, and either the Dolphins or Ravens lose, the Chiefs will clinch a spot in the AFC playoff bracket. Considering where the Chiefs have been in the month of December the last few seasons, I’ll take it.
The Chiefs offense continues to show it’s growth while the defense seems to show it’s decline. Quarterback Alex Smith has been playing lights out but as we have seen all season long, he cannot do it alone. After reviewing the film from last weeks game, I tallied at least five drops, two of which were on the final drive from Donnie Avery. On top of that, Anthony Fasano is being riddled with injuries after he suffered another concussion this week when his head smacked the ground after an attempted catch.
Kansas City’s offense lacks explosive players down the field, but we already knew that. The challenge that needs to be presented to these receivers is their YAC (yards after catch). Dwayne Bowe made a killing off of the 8 yard slant and go back in 2010. The Chiefs receivers have got to find a way to make plays when it seems like there isn’t much there. Alex Smith has been dropping dimes while his receivers have been dropping the ball. This is December football in the NFL, it’s time to nut up or shut up.
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS:
As mentioned earlier, Kansas City is on the road this week against Bobby three sticks (Robert Griffin III) and his Washington Redskins. When you looked at this game after the schedules were released last spring, most were to think this was going to be a very tough game for KC on the road against one of the NFC’s best teams. Oh how the NFL plays out.
The Redskins currently sit dead last in a very weak NFC east with a record of just 3-9. RGIII isn’t having to terrible of a year, considering his ACL surgery during the off season. Robert has thrown for 3,039 yards and 15 touchdowns. Whats getting him this year though, is the interceptions. He’s thrown 11 ints, 2 of which have come in the last three games and also he has fumbled twice. His offensive line isn’t giving him much help either, giving up 15 sacks in their last 3 games. Tamba Hali, I’m looking at you.
But for every bad RGIII passing game, there is a good Alfred Morris running game. The Redskins currently rank as the number one rushing offense in the NFL with an average of 150 yards per game. Large part of that is due to the downhill running of Alfred Morris. He’s rushed for 996 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Skins’ run a ton of the zone read option with RGIII and Morris so it will be important for KC to stay discipline and not get burned for big plays.
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the fourth time in his career last Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Charles became only the fifth running back in Chiefs history to eclipse 1,000 carries for his career last week, and his 93-yard afternoon allowed him to become the first player in the history of the franchise with four 1,000-yard seasons. So simply put, he’s been nothing short of amazing. Oh and yeah, if it’s first and goal inside the five, please feed this man the rock Andy Reid.
MATCH-UPS TO WATCH:
My main dude, Donald Stephenson, has answered the bell when his name has been called all season long. Stephenson, and Schwartz, were so dominant against San Diego two weeks ago that the coaching staff stuck with them as the starters on the right side against Denver. Jon Asamoah and Eric Fisher were healthy scratches, this speaks volumes at some levels.
Chiefs starting left tackle, Branden Albert, suffered from a hyper-extended knee which is great news considering how gruesome the injury first looked. Albert has been listed day-to-day by coach Reid and if he can’t go, Donald will get the nod at left tackle. The Redskins have a dynamic pass rush of their own with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan.
Orakpo has accounted for 8.5 sacks and Kerrigan has 6.5 with three forced fumbles. If there were any silver linings to the Chiefs loss last week, one of them would have to be the fact that Alex Smith was not touched in that game. Donald, along with the rest of his offensive linemen, need to keep Smith upright and continue to build off of what they’ve accomplished the last few weeks.
Donnie Avery had drop issues before he ever signed with the Chiefs this past off season so this really shouldn’t be a big surprise to see. What I want to know, is why isn’t Junior Hemingway getting more opportunities at receiver? The Chiefs lack explosiveness at the position and this kid has done nothing but make the most out of his opportunities when he’s touched the field. Washington is ranked 27th against the pass so the Chiefs will have opportunities to make plays down the field. I say give Junior a shot.
Jordan Reed is quickly becoming one of the more explosive tight ends in this league. He’s third in receptions for the Skins’ with 45 catches for 499 yards and 3 touchdowns. If the Redskins get into the redzone, Reed is where RGIII is going to look first. Eric Berry and company need to keep their eye’s on him, much like they did against Jordan Cameron in the Browns game.
The Chiefs are 4-1 on the road this season and 3-0 against the other teams out of the NFC East. Kansas City enters Washington as a 2.5 point favorite and both teams are coming off losing streaks. The Skins’ have currently lost four in-a-row, including blowing a 14 point lead at home to their rival the New York Giants.
Kansas City currently holds a 3 game lead on the 5th seed in the AFC with four games left and they need this win more than the Skins’ do. The possibility of Justin Houston making his return should be a concern for Washington. If Kansas City can continue their growth on offense and get back to their dominance on defense, they should be able to get this win.
The game starts at 12 PM CDT on FOX.