This guy is why. If you are a Chiefs fan you have to be concerned about Denver's chances of beating us out of a playoff spot. Denver plays Chicago on Sunday and the Bears are struggling (a la Chiefs style with Cutler gone to injury) on offense right now. I believe that Caleb Hanie is a decent backup QB. I saw him fill in as a rookie for the Bears starter in a couple of games a couple years back. Without going back and looking it up (time constraints are a bummer), I think it was Orton. Whoever he was backing up is not the point though. Hanie looked competent then and he looks to have a fluid throwing motion now. His biggest problem versus the Chiefs last Sunday was the bears offensive line. They simply couldn't stop the Chiefs from getting to Hanie. I think Lovie gets that fixed this week.
The Bears have only Matt Forte and Major Wright (S) on the injury report who did not practice yesterday. The Broncos have McGahee, Royal and Clady all out of practice yesterday. That is going to make Tebow's life a bit tougher on offense against Urlacher and the boys. Tillman is a bit banged up for the Bears but he should play. In addition, Von Miller is still suffering with a thumb problem that will limit his effectiveness for Denver.
This game is no gimmee for Denver. In Denver's seven wins, they have only averaged beating their opponents by just a touch over 5 points per game. Two of their wins were in overtime by FGs. If the Bears defense can control the ground game and force Tebow to throw the ball, they have a good chance of winning the game. Lovie smith recently commented that Urlacher will most likely be responsible for covering Tebow coming out of the backfield. The Bears love to get Urlacher one on one with the opposing QB. After getting beat by the lowly Chiefs last week, the Bears defense will have their ears pinned back.
Warren Sapp recently discussed how to stop the Tebow Option on defense. High School and college football players are coached to 'force' the toss when the QB is running the option by putting their shoulder on the ball carrier (QB) and driving through taking him to the ground when possible. Hit that QB hard and force that toss. Make him pay for running that play. That's how turnovers happen and that's how QBs begin to lose faith in the play. For some reason, NFL defenses that have played Tebow so far have been hesitant to do this. Sapp's answer was to hit Tebow repeatedly on those plays until they stopped running them. Sounds to me like a good plan. With Urlacher on Tebow this week, it's quite possible that we will see Brady Quinn have to relieve Tebow for a few plays while the Broncos equipment guys unscrew Tebow's helmet after a couple of those hits. I mean, looking out your helmet's ear hole makes it hard to see defenders coming your way.
Oakland plays Green Bay this week, so barring a miracle, they will drop to 7-6. If Urlacher can take Tebow out of their game, the Broncos would also become 7-6. San Diego will most likely beat Buffalo in San Diego which will make them 6-7.
The Chiefs are nearly in a must win situation versus the Jets this week. If the defense can contain Sanchez (not really that diffcult given the way he's been playing lately), Shone Green and a hobbled LaDanian Tomlinson is all they will have to lean on. Even McKnight (the Jets return man) has a dislocated elbow that will most likely keep him on the sidelines. Once again this game is set up for the Chiefs to win if they can just control the ball and play good defense. If they get burned on big plays, it's lights out. Plaxico Burress has lost his speed and will not be a problem for our secondary. Santonio Holmes is the one I'd worry about if I was RAC. I'm pretty sure that Holmes lack of production this season is precisely because the Jets opponents have seen the same thing. If they keep him under control, the Chiefs have a very decent shot at winning this game. Tyler Palko has to do his best Matt Cassel imitation and not turn the ball over for that to happen.
What will happen? I believe that the Bears will beat Tebow the magnificent because the Bears are playing for their playoff lives at 7-5 in the NFC wildcard race. Denver knows that they are not in a no win situation and will play conservatively to awaiting some injured players return next week. Caleb Hanie finds that loose receiver this week and Robbie Gould makes that 41 yarder to beat the Broncos in a squeeker, 17-14. It's time for Denver to lose one of the close ones.
The Raiders lose and the Chargers win. The chiefs ride the wave of momentum from last week and win back to back road games for the first time since 2004. Another first for this team, this year. Will Thomas Jones throw a TD pass for the Chiefs this week? Final score Chiefs 20, Jets 17 and it may go into overtime.
If these predictions come true, we will be looking at an AFC West with the Broncos and Raiders at 7-6 and the Chiefs and the Chargers at 6-7 with three games to play. You won't be able to shine a flashlight between the Chiefs and the Broncos if this happens. No matter what the Chiefs do against Green Bay in this scenario, it goes a bit further in making it likely that the battle for the AFC West crown comes down to Week 17 in Denver between the Chiefs and Tebow. I can't wait.