This Sunday the Kansas City Chiefs welcome the New Orleans Saints to Arrowhead Stadium, and it once again is a game the Chiefs must win.
The Chiefs come into this one feeling good. They sit 3-2 after beating Oakland last week, and are looking to shake their early season inconsistencies and win back to back games for the first time this season. As any of us who follow the team knows, the Chiefs have been very much Jekyll and Hyde this year. The Saints on the other hand come in with an overall record of 2-3, but are also feeling pretty good right now. After an 0-3 start New Orleans has rattled off back to back wins, over San Diego and Carolina respectively, and are starting to build some momentum. The Saints have a high powered offense, that is capable of putting up points on anybody. Their QB Drew Brees is a future Hall of Famer and playing like it through the first quarter of 2016. Defensively the Saints leave a lot to be desired. The match-up from the Chiefs’ perspective is very advantageous. New Orleans comes in as the 32nd rated Scoring Defense in the NFL, and 31st in total yards allowed, the Chiefs have a tremendous opportunity to score some points against this defense. Truthfully, there’s no reason the Chiefs should lose this game. If they come out with energy and a good game plan, then they’ll walk away with a 4-2 record and on the right path for the season. There are a couple things that worry me though:
- The Chiefs haven’t shown consistency all year. KC has gone win/loss/win/loss/win in the 5 games they’ve played and that inconsistency scares me because by that trend we’re due to drop a game.
- Drew Brees is going to get his, he’s going to put some points on the board, the question is how much and how fast? I never like the Chiefs’ chances in a shootout, especially with a Hall of Fame QB like Brees.
- The Chiefs placed Allen Bailey and Justin March-Lillard on IR this week. Rookie Chris Jones will have his first career start at DE and the Chiefs will have a new ILB next to DJ as well. Just a couple of moving parts on defense that give me a little bit of nerves going into Sunday against a powerful offense.
The fact that the Chiefs are playing the Saints at Arrowhead as compared to the Superdome is massive to me. The Saints are a much different team outdoors on grass than they are in a dome. The Sea of Red will be in full force and we’ve seen what a rocking Arrowhead can do to opposing offenses (just ask Tom Brady). Overall, as I stated before, the Chiefs are the better team and should win this game convincingly. I have 3 Keys to Victory for the Chiefs:
- Run the Ball – The running game was huge for the Chiefs last week in Oakland. It needs to be again this week. The Chiefs need to win the time of possession battle to limit Drew Brees’ opportunities with the football, and the easiest way to do that is to pound the rock with Spencer Ware and Jamaal Charles. Grind it out, ball control offense will be the #1 key to defeating the Saints.
- Avoid Turnovers – I know it’s cliche, but it really is key. Look at the first 5 games of the year. The 2 losses the Chiefs have sustained, it has been largely due to turnovers. Drew Brees is still one of the best passers in the game. The absolute last thing the Chiefs can afford is to give him extra opportunities to beat them. Hang onto the ball and be smart and there’s no way you lose if you’re the Chiefs.
- Pressure Drew Brees – the Chiefs got some very exciting news this past week…Justin Houston is back on the practice field! Now he’s still a week or 2 away from returning to game action, but he has been sorely missed. The Chiefs currently sit 31st in the league in Sacks with only 7 total on the season. Brees has been sacked only 8 times total so far this year. Getting sacks isn’t the only way to pressure the quarterback, true enough. But regardless of whether or not you put him on the ground and get Sloan his Big Mac’s, you’ve got to get in his face. If Brees has too much time he will find holes in the defense and pick us apart. Dee Ford, Tamba Hali, and Frank Zombo are going to have to get some pressure on the Saints quarterback.
Simple as that. Do those 3 things on Sunday and the Chiefs will win! Last week showed that the Chiefs have possibly turned a corner. If they did, then the next several weeks are going to be A LOT of fun. Don’t forget pregame starts Sunday at 11 AM with Kickoff at high noon on Topeka’s Rock Leader V100!