Chiefs improving to close out regular season
Chiefs keep driving on as regular season closes
These Kansas City Chiefs have plenty to play for in the final week of the season.
Having clinched a playoff berth at the very least, the team has to stay focused on doing their part of achieving the bigger prize. The #2 seeds give the team a week off, true, but that’s not the only effect it offers. Home field advantage, even for just a single round, is worth its weight in gold. San Diego is a team capable of derailing that hope and has to be taken seriously.
Ironically, the Chiefs will need some help from the team they dismantled last week. The team cannot allow their focus to slip in the last week of the regular season. If the Denver Broncos can beat the Derek Carr-less Raiders to finish their season, Kansas City can take the #2 seed, the first round bye, and at least one playoff game in Arrowhead. If either game’s outcome goes against the Chiefs, they will find themselves on the road for a first-round wildcard game. That could mean another trip to Houston to face the Texans.
On the Locked on Chiefs podcast, we got into the weeds on the playoff scenarios. Here’s the show:
Focus on taking the prize
Taking is the operable word here. Reid has to continue to get better in one area in order to accomplish that goal. Reid has to maintain his aggressive offensive attack beyond building a 2-score lead. In successive weeks, the offense has gotten off to exciting starts and built a lead only to see Andy Reid take his foot off the gas. Against the Titans, it cost them a win. Against the Broncos, it wasn’t as pronounced and didn’t cost the team anything.
Nov 22, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) runs the ball during the second half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. Kansas City won 33-3. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
San Diego is unlikely to have enough firepower to threaten Kansas City for long, but the Chiefs have to take this week as a next step toward building powerful momentum. The Chargers may have Melvin Gordon available. The KC defense has to be prepared to take another step forward and suffocate the Gordon and the San Diego offense.
The team also needs to play like a champion. That doesn’t mean bravado and slapping a locker room sign. It means understanding that they are a high-caliber playoff team and playing like it. They have to dominate teams like the Chargers when they are clearly the superior team. They cannot overlook teams. They must play intense football this week in preparation for the weeks that follow. That is the sign of a Super Bowl contender hitting its stride and the postseason is ready to begin. That is what this team can be.
Beware of these missteps
With Justin Houston not playing Christmas night against the Denver Broncos, it was up to Dee Ford to supply the pass rush. He was able to get enough pressure on the quarterback out of rhythm and disrupt the Denver passing game. He may very well have to do it again.
Justin Houston missed practice to start this week. The team could decide to leave him to rest and go to San Diego without him. He is listed with swelling in the knee. An extra week off to rest could ensure that Houston is ready for the Chiefs first playoff game, whenever that may be.
Tamba Hali has been in the same situation all season. Dadi Nicolas has very little experience but did see a few snaps last week. Overall, it will likely fall to Ford to be the main pass rusher. He has feasted on the Chargers in the past. Look for him to do so again.
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