Tankville...where running backs come to retire.
The Kansas City Chiefs open up Arrowhead Stadium for 2008 play in Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders. Both teams were 4-12 last year, with the Raiders taking one in KC and the Chiefs taking a win in Oakland.
The tempting match up to point out is the newly souped up Raiders' secondary against the Chiefs' young corp of receivers. The addition of former Falcon Pro Bowl CB DeAngelo Hall catapults this secondary into probably one of the best in the league. A Hall-Bowe matchup sounds great to watch but it won't be the most intriguing. We know Dwayne Bowe is fantastic and we don't need a good performance against the Raiders to prove it again.
I again think that the most interesting data from this game will come from the defensive line. The Chiefs squeaked in at 28th overall last year in rushing defense, a mark that absolutely must be improved for the team to progress as a whole. Teams absolutely stomped the Chiefs last year on the ground. Selvin Young and LaDainian Tomlinson had monster days against us, helping bump that 130 yard/game average the Chiefs relinquished last year.
The Raiders will be another early and difficult test for an unproven squad of defensive linemen. Last year, RB Justin Fargas became the first Raider to rush for over 100 yards at Arrowhead since 1978. Highly touted second year RB Michael Bush will get his first chance to play on an NFL field, after spending 2007 on the PUP list.
And there is this other guy they have...McFadden? Yeah, that's it. Darren McFadden. We'll keep an eye on him too.
In other words, the Raiders are stacked at running back and should prove to be a worthy challenge to our youngsters on the defensive line.
I'm going to assume a vast improvement over 2007 on the offensive line, which means I'm shifting the utmost importance of development to our defensive line. Worked right, the talent is there on that line to create an intimidating force. Worked wrong, and like our offensive line, the team could be harmed for seasons to come.
To sum it up, the Chiefs have a lot riding on pretty much every position on the team.