It's All About The Match-ups When Asking If The Chiefs Can Win The AFC West

A lot of fans in Kansas City are wondering if the Chiefs will be able to win the AFC West title after the disappointing loss to the San Diego Chargers. Many questions are starting to swirl like:  Will the Chiefs show up ready to play for their playoff lives the next three weeks?  Will they keep their home field advantage?  Can they win on the road?

When it comes to evaluating whether the Kansas City Chiefs will be successful these last three games it can be concluded that...it all comes down to how KC opponents match up.

The Chiefs are now in week 14 of the 2011 season and the book is out on how the KC offense can be stopped.  We find similarities when reviewing the success of the three most recent teams (Oakland, Denver, San Diego) that have found the answer to stopping Kansas City:

  1. All three teams frequently put 8 in the box.
  2. All three teams had one very good cover corner.
  3. All three teams where more physical than the Chiefs at the line of scrimmage.
  4. All three teams coached linebackers to played down hill football at the second level. 

So the question isn't...will the Chiefs come ready to play?  It's not can they coach better, will they play better, what is the record of the other team.  The question is...how does the KC Chiefs match up with their last three opponents?

Do these next thee opponents have what it takes to put together the 4 criteria listed above?

THE SAINT LOUIS RAMS:

Corner:  Do the Rams have a Champ Bailey, a Nnamdi Asomugha, or a Quentin Jammer?  The Rams play a lot of cover 2 zone and really aren't use to locking down one particular receiver with a great corner. Ron Bartell would be the Saint Louis answer to cover Dwayne Bowe in man-to-man.  But don't look for Bartell to have the success that the previously mentioned corners have had if the Rams do decide to lock horns with the KC receiver.

Physical Defense:  The Rams aren't really a defensive team that goes out and beats up teams every week.  Those types of teams, the physical ones, are just the types of teams that the Chiefs have been having problems with.  Sure the defensive ends for the Rams may be able to cause some problems.  But for the most part the Saint Louis Rams don't have that overly physical defense.

Outlook:  Look for the Chiefs to have a good day offensively against the Rams.  The Rams just aren't a team that has good match-ups to counter the KC offense.  St. Louis might try and stack the box against the Chiefs to slow down the KC running attack but without a overly physical defense and the lack of a shutdown corner...Chiefs end up being able to move the ball.

TENNESSEE TITANS:

Corner:  The Titans have had injury problems with their corners and have frequently had to go to their #3 and #4 options.   Cortland Finnegan is the closest to a shut down corner that the Titans have but he has not necessary played that well this season.  Considering that and the fact that the Titans play cover 2 most of the time the Chiefs should not expect any type of exclusive man coverage on Bowe.

Physical Defense:  The Titans front four are very quick and that type of quickness has given the Chiefs problems in the past (Indianapolis Colts).  But when it comes to being overly physical...that is not really how this defense is put together.

Outlook:  Look for the Chiefs to have problems with the quick front four of the Tennessee Titans.  But because Tennessee doesn't have those great cover guys the Chiefs will be able to take advantage of the Titans when they try and put 8 in the box...look for KC to be able to move the ball.

OAKLAND RAIDERS:

Corner:  The Raiders have just the type of defense that the Chiefs are having problems with and it all starts with the great cover corner Nnamdi Asomugha.  Asomugha is just the type of corner that teams need to shut down the only experienced KC receiving threat to dedicate 8 in to the box. 

Physical Defense:  The Oakland defensive front 7 is very physical.  The first time the Chiefs played Oakland the KC line had problems keeping the defensive lineman from creating "bubbles" in the backfield.  The outside linebackers were also a problem as the forced themselves up field and frequently won battles with KC fullbacks and tight ends.

Outlook:  Oakland's style of defense will be a big problem for the Kansas City offense.  With the match-up problems the Oakland defense posses it is very likely that the Chiefs will have another tough day moving the ball.  Look for the last game of the season to be a battle for the KC offense.


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