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Chiefs vs. Dolphins 2014: 5 things to know before Week 3

The Kansas City Chiefs face the Miami Dolphins at 3:25 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) on CBS. What should we be watching for out of the Chiefs today? Here are five things I'll be thinking about during the game.

Doug Pensinger

1. As much of a must-win as you can get in Week 3

The difference between 1-2 and 0-3: 25 percent of 1-2 teams make the playoffs while two percent of 0-3 teams make the playoffs. The odds are against the Chiefs either way (12 percent for 0-2 teams) but this is a significant game this early in the season.

If the Chiefs can find a win in Miami, they'll be 1-2 entering a Monday Night Football home game against New England. Now, the Patriots are clearly the better team. We know that. But if the Chiefs prove today they're not terrible, are you telling me Arrowhead can't get up for a huge home game against the AFC's elite? We've seen it happen before.

If the Chiefs lose this game against Miami, I give them about a five percent chance of winning against New England next week. Call it momentum or whatever you want, I just can't see the Chiefs competing if they're 0-3 entering that game. That would be demoralizing.

For the purposes of keeping hope in the season, this game is critical.

Note: For all your Jamaal Charles questions, see here.

2. The Chiefs still don't have a turnover

They are one of three teams yet to force a turnover this season. After the way they won games last season with the second best turnover differential in the NFL, that's an amazing sentence to type. The Chiefs absolutely must win the turnover battle vs. the Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill's deep ball is not great so the Chiefs need to take advantage of his inaccuracy on those passes.

Chiefs DC Bob Sutton in response to the lack of turnovers: "It's sad." Clearly, this is something the Chiefs want to fix.

3. Chiefs o-line faces another big test

The PFF grades weren't impressing anyone but watching the tape the Chiefs offensive line did a good job against the Broncos, who have one of the best pair of pass rushers in football. The Dolphins' Cameron Wake is another terrific pass rusher so the Chiefs o-line will be facing another big test.

The Chiefs offensive line is very young so it's reasonable to expect that you'll see more improvement out of them from Week 1 to Week 17 than most lines.

4. Chiefs nickel defense will see lots of work

As BJ Kissel noted this week, the Dolphins played a lot last week with three receivers on the field. That means the Chiefs will likely be in their nickel defense. Though they will rotate that means Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey on the line and Chris Owens coming in at cornerback. This is a passing defense, which leaves it vulnerable to the run. Poe, Bailey and the Chiefs linebackers will be tasked with keeping them honest in the run game.

5. Travis Kelce needs more than one third of the snaps

You see Kelce going from 18 snaps in Week 1 to 32 snaps in Week 2 and you think Andy Reid is finally getting him on the field more. But upon inspection, that's just 32 and 37 percent of the snaps, respectively, in each of those games. Not really increasing his workload too much when you look at it like that. Surely it won't happen but I think Kelce needs at least 50 percent of the snaps in this game, which would likely require more two tight end sets for the Chiefs.

MNChiefsfan put it best when he pointed out that Kelce on the field is more valuable than whatever third receiver the Chiefs have (Junior Hemingway or AJ Jenkins).

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