Coach Haley loves to break the season down into quarters. While I had never looked at a football season from that perspective before this year, I think its a pretty damned good way to convert a full season into a more familiar mindset...the same mindset we use every single week during each game.
1st quarter: Chiefs - 3, Opponents - 1
2nd quarter: Chiefs - 2, Opponents - 2
So the Chiefs came out with some monster scoring drives in the first quarter, but faced some stiff opposition at the 15-minute mark. The second quarter revealed a few weaknesses that opponents have used to test the team. Even so, the Chiefs were able to maintain pace with the opposition throughout the quarter. Of primary concern for the fans, the team allowed the opponents to steal a score as time expired to end the first half. Time for Haley & Co. to go into the locker room and make their halftime adjustments.
So now let's all run to the bathroom, reload on some beer and take a look ahead at the 3rd quarter...
And starting with the ball to open the 2nd half:
The Broncos will be coming off their bye week, but given that they are also coming off a solid beat-down from the Raiders at Mile High followed by a tough loss to the 49ers in London, they needed it! Looking back even further, the Broncos have only won 4 of their last 18 games. The last time the Chiefs went to Denver, the Kool-ade flowed freely and many have pointed to that game as a major turning point for our team.
Common Opponent results: Colts - Lost 13-27, Raiders - Lost 14-59, 49ers - Lost 16-24
My prediction: Look for the Chiefs to exploit a weak opponent and score early in the 3rd quarter!
After an easy score to start the second half:
Hmmm...That guy sure looks familiar. Ah well, taking the next possession of the 3rd quarter will be the Arizona Cardinals. Apparently, in an attempt to fill the void left by the loss of Todd Haley, Coach Whisenhunt searched the NFL for a team to emulate and settled on the 2009 Oakland Raiders. They somehow beat the Saints in Arizona and have also notched wins against the Rams (Week 1) and Raiders (Week 3). Since their bye week, the Cardinals are winless. Prior to coming into Arrowhead, they meet the Seahawks for the 2nd time this season. Looks highly likely that the Cardinals will be staring at a 4-game losing streak and a 3-6 record. Even in the NFC West, they will probably be concentrating more on the NFL draft possibilities then on their former OC.
Common Opponent results: Raiders - Win 24-23, Chargers - Lose 10-41
My prediction: Looks like the Chiefs score on their first two possessions to start the 2nd half!
And following a hearty Thanksgiving feast, we have:
While the SH-60 Seahawk helicopter may be a formidable opponent, the Seattle Seahawks don't always pack the same punch. Currently, the Seahawks are sharing the lead in the NFC West with the Rams at 4-4, but have been outscored by their last two opponents 74 - 10! They face a 2-week road trip to division-rival Arizona and then to New Orleans before returning to Seattle to meet the Chiefs. The Seahawks are beginning to show signs of wear and tear at halftime and that will likely only get worse.
Common Opponent results: 49er's - Win 31-6, Broncos - Lose 14-31, Chargers - Win 27-20, Arizona (at Seattle) - Win 22-10, Raiders - Lose 3-33.
My prediction: On paper, this should be yet another score for the Chiefs, but these Seahawks will be hungry and will prevent a Chiefs 3rd quarter shutout.
And our 3rd quarter closes with a strong sense of deja vu:
Yep. A second serving of Donkey stew! Following our visit to Denver, the Broncos will head out to San Diego and then will return to Mile High for a replay of the January 2009 BCS Championship QB battle. I figure, by Week 12, the Broncos will be so far out of the playoff hunt that Tebow will get the start against Bradford.
My prediction: The Chiefs close out the 3rd quarter with a solid score!
So there you have it. Look for a 3 - 1 third quarter for the season. Looking at the rising strength of the teams we will be up against in the 4th quarter, I think anything less than 3 wins in the 3rd quarter would place us in a tough spot. As always, fire away and remember...