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Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 12/19

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Game Day!!! If you're not pumped for this game, you're not paying attention to what's at stake. Today's Kansas City Chiefs news steps up to the challenge. Cassel, Smith, and Jones each get great stories. It's nice that readers of the New York Times get to hear how much Jones feels at home in KC. Get to reading, Chiefs fans. To the fans going to the game, reclaim Arrowhead East for us. Go Chiefs!

So much talk about how Cassel could get Kansas City behind him, to embrace him, to look past a light background and $63 million contract and truly believe in a starting quarterback for the first time since at least Trent Green and maybe even Joe Montana.

Turns out everyone had it wrong. Cassel didn’t need to do any of those things. He just needed to have an organ removed before the San Diego game.

Who knew emergency surgery could be a good career move? But Cassel’s return from an appendectomy — possibly today — will be remembered as the turning point in how Kansas City feels about him.

Appendectomy may have been best thing for Cassel’s image from KC Star

Those rookies carry several burdens: They could someday make up the nucleus of a team built with character and judgment in mind, but for now, they are at an impressionable stage. Their mentors matter, and the lessons they learn as rookies will influence the veterans they will become — and what they pass on to future players, too.

Smith is a prominent voice in those players’ ears. On the surface, he seems to be precisely what the Chiefs don’t want on their roster, which was carefully constructed months ago mostly with players who lack baggage. Now, there is perhaps no player in this locker room with more influence on the Chiefs’ future than Smith.

There’s more to the Chiefs’ Shaun Smith than his brash behavior  from KC Star Video: Playbook: Chiefs vs. Rams

On Thanksgiving night, Thomas Jones stood atop a stage in front of thousands in downtown Kansas City, Mo. At that moment, he felt, for the first time in forever, that he had found a home...

...In freezing weather, on live television, they flipped on the lights. Weeks later, Jones struggled to describe the feeling in a telephone interview.

"Looking out from that stage, I felt like Mick Jagger," he said. "The energy was amazing..."

...Four times each week, he eats dinner at his favorite restaurant, Jack Stack Barbecue, where they prepare his order on sight (fire-skewered wings, half pint of baked beans and half pint of salad), no words required. This meal requires an extra hour of working out, but Jones has no complaints. "I feel like I'm part of the barbecue staff," he said.

Energized by New City and Its Barbecue, Jones Thrives With the Chiefs from The New York Times

Bottom line

This game is was already tricky enough to forecast because of uncertainty at quarterback for the Chiefs. It's more difficult given the way the Chiefs played last week. If they can't run the ball or take pressure off their quarterback again, it's going to be another long day. But given the way the Chiefs blistered their three other NFC West opponents, it's logical to think the Chiefs can find a way to get it done today.Prediction: Chiefs 20, Rams 17

Chiefs-Rams scouting report from KC Star

One co-leader, the St. Louis Rams, hosts the Kansas City Chiefs. The other, the Seattle Seahawks, plays at home against the Atlanta Falcons. The best-case scenario for the self-esteem of the NFC West is that either the Rams or Seahawks - or both - will win, and the division leader will have a .500 record at 7-7.

But given that the Chiefs and Falcons lead their own divisions, perhaps the more likely outcome is that both the Rams and Seahawks will lose. If that happens, they would remain the co-leaders of the NFC West at 6-8, and the NFL would move a step closer to having a team with a losing record reach the playoffs for the first time ever in a non-strike season.

A West-case scenario for the NFC playoffs from The Washington Post

He has thrown for more than 200 yards only once, and Kansas City has scored 10 points or less on six occasions. The Chiefs definitely pulled in the reins on their offense in last week's shutout loss to San Diego, allowing Croyle to attempt just 17 passes. He completed only seven for 40 yards. The good news is that Kansas City faces St. Louis on Sunday, and while the Rams can be a tough challenge when playing in the Edward Jones Dome, the Chiefs have won nine straight games against NFC West foes, including a 3-0 mark this year.

Around the NFL for Week 15 from FOX Sports

Missouri showdown

This may be the best weekend for football watching this NFL season with a host of elite matchups involving playoff-caliber teams: Eagles (9-4) at Giants (9-4), Jets (9-4) at Steelers (9-4), Saints (10-3) at Ravens (9-4) and Packers (8-5) at Patriots (11-2). But the most surprising matchup of elite clubs this weekend is the battle of division leaders in Missouri: the Chiefs at the Rams. Kansas City leads the AFC West at 8-5, and the Rams share first place in the NFC West at 6-7. Both teams are trying to close the deal on worst-to-first resurrections. Kansas City finished 4-12 in 2009, the Rams 1-15.

From the observation deck . . . from The Sacramento Bee

We're going bowling. For the next three weeks. The 35-game extravaganza, which includes two-thirds of the membership of the BCS conferences, starts Saturday. With all the fanfare of the New Mexico Bowl, here are the members of the All-Bowl Team:    

Cotton Davidson: Francis Marion "Cotton" Davidson actually played in the Cotton Bowl. The stadium, not the game. That occurred in 1962, when he played for the Dallas Texans of the AFL, who called the facility home before leaving to become the Kansas City Chiefs and ultimately join the NFL. Davidson also backed up Johnny Unitas for the Baltimore Colts, whose franchise had been known five years earlier as -- you got it -- the Dallas Texans.

Pete Rose Highlights Page 2's All Bowl Team from ESPN   

Bryan from Fort Bragg, NC., wants to know if I think the Chiefs can win the AFC West. 

BW:Sure, they are the favorites. If they can win their final three games, the Chiefs will win the division. I wouldn't be too worried about the loss at San Diego last week. Matt Cassel wasn't playing and it changed everything. The Chiefs are a fine, young team. This is a team that is getting better and it will be very good next season. If Kansas City makes the playoffs this season, it will spark what should be a strong future.

Mailbag: McNabb to Oakland in 2011? from ESPN

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