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September 17, 2004

Preview: Wk 2, KC vs Carolina « Kansas City Chiefs »

Normally, I don't like it when people place too much emphasis on one game. Every team plays 16 games, and teams can get hot and go cold. An injury at the wrong time can make a huge difference in a team's ability to win. Weather can affect home-field advantage, as well.

But all that being said, I am going to go against my typical attitude and say that this game may be the most important game we play all season. At the very least, it will be an important indicator of what we can expect for the rest of the season.

Denver is a darn good team, and we played at their stadium for their home opener. They were more polished than I expected, more prepared and ready to go. My feeling is that Kansas City was still trying to figure out exactly how they were going to deal injuries to significant role players at the LB, WR, and TE positions, and that they didn't do it right.

Well, the advantages Denver enjoyed are now mostly in KC's favor: playing at home with one of the best homefield advantages in the NFL, in the home opener, against an opponent reeling from an unfortunate drastic injury to a significant player.

Kansas City had a chance to see how the new elements and new schemes and new approaches worked, and identified some problems and blindspots. But in the Panthers, we are facing a team that has a mediocre and relatively inexperience QB, a powerful but unspeedy/unshifty RB, and a possibly sub-par offensive line. An average offense, in other words, rather than one of the best, rather than one designed to sow and exploit confusion. This should give us an accurate assessment of our defense, and give them a chance to build some confidence and rapport, as well as growing one week more comfortable with Gunther's system.

On the other hand, I haven't seen KC do anything, really, to address the problems on offense. I hope that one step was to contact the NFL regarding the non-calls on defensive interference being inflicted on Tony Gonzales. If that doesn't get resolved, then TG can't draw attention off of the WRs, and it may be difficult to get our offense truly untracked. And don't forget that the Panthers have one of the best D-lines in the NFL, and their secondary isn't shabby.

Then again, we won't face another DB of Champ Bailey's caliber. (and the truly ironic aspect of Bailey's acquisition is it seems Denver has finally developed some excellent DBs of their own...although it is possible it was just Champ making everyone look better...?)

And so while a loss this week won't be a total disaster (the defense could still grow better and getting players healthy could result in a late season surge), a win is likely enough that a loss would be a major hit on our hopes and expectations for the season. If we lose, I don't think we'll make the playoffs this year. And even if we win, the way we win will be important, too, in predicting how the rest of the season goes. We need to avoid injuries and have smooth execution on both sides of the ball.

Posted by Nathan at 08:26 AM | Comments (4)

Then there's that pesky Quentin Griffin to worry about running all over the place.

Posted by: tina at September 18, 2004 09:44 PM

He plays for the Carolina Panthers, too???

Posted by: Nathan at September 19, 2004 07:29 AM

Nah, I was just commenting on one of denver's advantages, not about kc or carolina.

Posted by: tina at September 19, 2004 06:05 PM

Sorry...sometimes I let elements of the surreal permeate my responses. I knew what you were getting at, but it amused me to play the idiot.

(there's a set-up for anyone who wants to take it...)

Posted by: Nathan at September 19, 2004 09:30 PM
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