Good morning! The pre-party starts tonight here in New Jersey and blows wide open on Sunday across the rest of the country. It's Football. Today's Kansas City Chiefs news includes season predictions, previews of Sunday's game, and a look at a certain tight end who is Hall of Fame bound. Enjoy (and don't forget to set your fantasy rosters)!
"I've got to say thank you to the NFL people for scheduling it the first game of the season," said Gonzalez, whose 174 starts for the Chiefs during 1997-2008 rank second in club history. "The only way it could be more special ... is if it was the last game of the season, and there were playoff implications.
"The most special part about it is the fans. There's no doubt about it. That's what I miss, the fans, the atmosphere. The fan support they gave me and my family, I count that as my family because they're always there with me when I'm on the field."
Gonzalez Looking Forward To His Homecoming from KC Star
"Obviously they're a great team and have done some big things in the last couple of years and have a lot great players," said
Andy Studebaker, who is one of several reserve outside linebackers expected to see an increased workload in Hali's absence. "But you know, so do we. We've been working hard all of camp. We've known that they were coming this entire time and I think we're going to be prepared and we're going to be ready for them."
Chiefs Defense Readies For Falcons With Several Starters In Question from The Mothership
KC Star Video: Chiefs Open Season With Injuries
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs Live! 9-4-12
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs 2012 Kickoff Luncheon
In the last game between both teams at Arrowhead on Oct. 24, 2004, Kansas City set an NFL record with two running backs - Priest Holmes and Derrick Blaylock - each recording four rushing TDs in a 56-10 victory. All four of Holmes' TDs came in the fi rst half while Blaylock scored one in the fi rst half and the final three TDs of the game in the second half.
Chiefs vs Falcon - Game 1 from The Mothership
"As we all know, McCluster was a running back before. Now, he's a receiver. But you are right about McCluster and Charles. They both have outstanding speed. They change direction a lot. The play will be going one way and they'll decide to go the other way. You have to do a great job of everyone being disciplined on their cut backs as well. The difficult part of it not only those two guys, but you have [Peyton Hillis]. He's a down-hill, run you over guy. They've got a lot of weapons. ... the good thing is that there is only one ball. Only one guy gets to touch it at a time. They pose a problem, but I think our guys are excited about paying them."
Atlanta Falcons: Preview Of Kansas City Chiefs from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The fifth-year pro, nicknamed "Matty Ice," has proven that, while he might be a step below the NFL's elite of Aaron Rodgers, Dree Brees and Tom Brady, he can definitely get the ball to Atlanta's playmakers at wide receiver, Roddy White and Julio Jones. Last season, Ryan passed for 4,177 yards with 29 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while leading Atlanta to a 10-6 record and an NFC wild-card berth.
But what if Ryan gets hurt and is forced to leave Sunday's season opener against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium? That's where things could get murky.
After Ryan, Falcons' QB Situation Gets Murky from KC Star
Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 20) - Surprise team of 2010 trying to get back on track after rash of knee injuries last year.
Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 16) - Haven't looked very good in preseason and that concerns me ... need a fast start.
Voters' Comments About Kansas City Chiefs For AP Pro32 from The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Esquire published a list pairing beers with NFL teams and determined that your Kansas City Chiefs go best with Boulevard's 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat. While I have to give some praise for being up on the latest releases from Boulevard, Hoppy Wheat is not the first liquor that comes to mind when I'm thinking of the Chiefs.
I'm thinking copious amounts of booze (either in victory or to wipe away the taste of defeat) and as a result, I've put together a list of five recommended liquor pairings for the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs.
Five Drinks You Should Be Paring With The Chiefs This Year from The Pitch
What do Chiefs safety Eric Berry and Mets pitcher RA Dickey have in common? Roots at University of Tennessee and a love of literature. Maybe the mutual alma mater is just a coincidence, but it's rare to find two professional athletes who love to both read and write. Dickey is a prolific reader, and penned a memoir, too. Now, it turns out that Berry has written poems, songs and screenplays.
Pro Bowl Poet: Kansas City Chiefs' Eric Berry Wrote Poetry While Sidelined With Injury from The New York Daily News
Get your red out.
The Kansas City Chiefs' Red Friday, a long-standing tradition in the greater Kansas City area and now in its 20th year, will return Sept. 7 and Lee's Summit will be in the mix.
Get The Red Out from Lee's Summit Journal
At first glance, you'd have to give the Chiefs the edge for the sole fact this game is being played at Arrowhead. And if Kansas City can get out to a fast start like they did against the Arizona Cardinals in their first exhibition game, fans will leave happy and the bandwagon jumpers will have to stay on their perch for another few weeks.
But with those factors in hand, it's fair to say, this game does boil down to the respective starting quarterbacks.
First Look: Falcons vs. Chiefs from Warpaint Illustrated
If you're looking for a sleeper special, look no further than the Kansas City Chiefs. Sometimes a laughing stock and a perennial bottom dweller in the AFC West, the Chiefs finished a solid 7-9 last season, and appear to be on the upswing.
The offense is not sparse in the talent department: running backs Jamal Charles and Peyton Hillis can both be pro-bowl caliber, and wide receivers Dwayne Bowe and Jon Baldwin provide athletic targets for quarterback Matt Cassel. The real key for the Chiefs is their young, fast defense. Third-year safety Eric Berry is a star in the making and OLB Tamba Hali anchors a stellar core of linebackers.
Inside The NFL: Patriots, 49ers Cream Of The 2012-13 NFL Crop from The Tufts Daily
The Kansas City Chiefs last year were the best in the league at defending the quarterback without getting pressure on him, one reason they were the first team to beat the Packers.
Total QBR Gets Minor Modifications from ESPN
For all of their troubles last year, at least the Chiefs had a pair of lockdown corners in Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr. Not anymore. Carr signed with the CB-needy Cowboys and his free agent replacement, ex-Raider Stanford Routt, was beaten for eight TDs as the supposed heir-apparent to Nnamdi Asomugha.
James from Knoxville: Bill, How do you see the KC backfield reps being split?
BW: It will be interesting to see. I think the Chiefs are not caught up in numbers. They just want to exploit Charles' speed and Hillis' power the best they can.
Chat Wrap: Demaryius Thomas Prediction from ESPN
The best part of the Gonzalez split from Kansas City was that it was clean. It never got ugly and both sides decided it was for the best for Gonzalez. It's not a surprise that it happened because of the respect the Chiefs' ownership and Gonzalez have for each other.
I'm sure we'll see that mutual respect turn into a positive return for Gonzalez this weekend.
Should Be A Happy Reunion For Gonzalez from ESPN