Chiefs Opponent Preview: Get to Know the Detroit Lions from The Mothership
Offensively, the Lions are led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is completing the highest percentage of his passes in his career thus far in 2015 (65 percent) but has also tossed 9 interceptions, which is only surpassed by Peyton Manning and Sam Bradford (they lead the league with 10).
One of the reasons for those numbers is the lack of a running game for the Lions, who average a league-worst 68 yards per game on the ground.
Because of that, the Lions often find themselves in long-yardage situations. Take that combined with a league-worst passer rating of 49.53 against the blitz, which can happen often if you're facing a third-and-long consistently, they have turned the ball over a league-high 18 times this season as a team.
Chiefs vs. Lions: Five Things to Watch from The Mothership
4. How will the Lions new play caller affect things?
The Lions made a few changes with the coaching staff before they left for London earlier this week.
Joe Lombardi was fired as offensive coordinator and Jim Bob Cooter was promoted to the position from previously working as the quarterbacks coach.
On Sunday, Cooter will call plays for the first time in his coaching career.
"I don't think that part's a big deal," Sutton said. "The hardest part for us is they can emphasize something more and-or less than what they did before. Then they have certain players he may want to highlight more or they have a feeling as a staff. It's just going to be one of those things that you have to kind of adjust on the run.
"You still have to play and do that, you just can't rely on your normal pre-work to get ready for a game as far as their tendencies. That's what you just don't know. I don't think what plays they'll run will change that much."
Chiefs QB Alex Smith Has Learned the Hard Way from The Mothership
So when things didn't go necessarily as planned to start the 2015 season, Smith's unwavering temperament was perfect for a Chiefs offense with plenty of young players looking to their veteran leader on how to react and move forward.
"I think I've learned it the hard way," Smith said of how to handle difficult situations. "I've been through some tough periods and been through different things, and one of the things that I've taken away is it's so easy to panic early. It's easy to lose your cool.
"You want to make these crazy changes, you want to do all of this stuff and you continue to look at the film until you see the bigger picture. You see how close we were in a bunch of these games. A play here, a play there and our record's very different."
"[Peters] seems to me like he's been playing in the NFL for a long time," Taylor explains on the video, "[he] understands concepts, understands situations, is not afraid to gamble. All he's been doing is making plays."
Chiefs will face a Lions offense in flux on Sunday in London from The Kansas City Star
After allowing seven sacks and 13 hits on quarterback Matthew Stafford in a 28-19 loss to Minnesota, Caldwell canned offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, offensive-line coach Jeremiah Washburn and assistant offensive line coach Terry Heffernan.
In are new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, the former quarterbacks coach, and new offensive-line coach Ron Prince, who is also the tight ends coach. Both have Kansas City-area connections: Cooter was the Chiefs' quality-control coach in 2012, and Prince went 17-20 as Kansas State's head coach from 2006 to 2008.
Whether it matters enough to give the Lions — who rank 29th in points scored (19.9 per game) and dead last in rushing offense (68.0 yards) — a boost against the Chiefs at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at Wembley Stadium remains to be seen.
Week 8: Thursday injury report from Chiefs Digest
Left guard Ben Grubbs (neck), defensive end Mike DeVito (concussion) and rookie inside linebacker Ramik Wilson (ankle) will not play Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Other than those three players, the Chiefs are in good shape.
Outside linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) returned to a full practice after not working out Wednesday.
Zach Fulton, recently benched as the starting right guard, is the logical choice to replace Grubbs, who started the first seven games.
This isn't good news for the Chiefs. Their offensive line had its best game of the season last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers after they inserted two new starters and moved Eric Fisher to left tackle. They were looking for some stability and won't get that after losing Grubbs.
Chiefs' Charcandrick West impresses Lions' nose tackle from The Kansas City Star
But Ngata also noted that Charles' replacement - second-year pro Charcandrick West - was pretty impressive in his own right last week, when he rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in 22 carries in the Chiefs' 23-13 win over the Steelers.
"He's actually really good, too," Ngata said. "I don't think people were expecting that out of him. He's a great player and did a good job. Hopefully we don't let him do that."
Ngata credited the Chiefs' rebuilt offensive line for some of West's success.
RB Charcandrick West's 100-yard effort more impressive upon closer review from Chiefs Digest
There are a handful of reasons the 110-yard performance Charcandrick West had for the Chiefs in the victory over Pittsburgh in Week 7 was so special.
West had to overcome plenty to even be in position to have a big running day. He was running in a league that doesn't like to run so much, and he was doing it without an NFL pedigree, entering pro football as an undrafted rookie that had to battle his way off the practice squad for a chance to achieve his dream.
It all combined to make the diminutive product (5-10, 205 pounds) of Abilene Christian University the NFL weekend's most unexpected performance.
The healthiest trend as it relates to how concussions are being handled in the NFL is that it appears the message has been received by the injured players and coaches. Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin is the latest example.
Chiefs devise ways to help fans enjoy ‘home' game in London both here and abroad from The Kansas City Star
Before settling on a watch party at Johnny's Tavern in the Power and Light District, Donovan said, the Chiefs contemplated many options.
"So (the game's at) 8:30 in the morning; that impacts what you're going to do and what you can do," Donovan said. "And we talked about everything. You can imagine the meetings. It was sort of fun to say ‘OK, are we gonna do kegs and eggs, are we gonna do a concert, are we going to open the stadium and broadcast it and have a watch party there?' "
The more they talked about it, the more they realized they needed something that was in a central location that gives people the opportunity to do whatever they want to do and can expand, if necessary.
This is the fourth NFL game going back to last season to begin in London at 2:30 p.m. local time.
That translates to 9:30 a.m. in the Eastern time zone, where all of the teams to play in the early game have been located until now. The Chiefs are the first Central time zone to have a morning start to a London game.
Sunday is the first day for standard time in the United States, so kickoff time will feel like 9:30 a.m. to fans in Kansas City.
Regardless, the morning games generally haven't fared as well in the local markets with regard to TV ratings as games with a more traditional start time.
Overcoming jet lag from 9-hour flight to London no small matter for Chiefs from Chiefs Digest
Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who is four month shy of finishing requirements to become a medical doctor, agreed.
"It's not everybody has a chance to travel overseas and not everybody has experienced jet lag," Duvernay-Tardif said. "A two-hour, three-hour jet lag when you travel inside the country is really not the same thing as a six-hour."
If not prepared, travelers will experience insomnia and side effects, which could include constipation and diarrhea, Purnell said.
"Your whole body chemistry is off because the melatonin is the hormone in your body that helps tell us when to sleep, when to wake up," he said. "And with the melatonin not being active as it should, once it gets disrupted, the whole body is off."
Lions have past experience in London, unlike Chiefs from The Kansas City Star
But Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, whose team defeated the Atlanta Falcons 22-21 at Wembley Stadium last October, isn't sure their prior experience in London will prove to be such a big advantage.
"One of the things you learn very quickly in this league is that there aren't many edges to be gained other than fine play," Caldwell said. "That's what makes a difference."
Lions receiver Golden Tate is a little more optimistic, however.
That left the Lions or the Cleveland Browns as the realistic options. Neither team travels as well as the Bears or Steelers, so the Chiefs decided they could live without one game or the other being played in Kansas City.
At that point, the decision was easy. The NFL preferred the Lions, who have more star power than the Browns. They also are coming off a playoff season, though they currently have an inferior record (1-6) than that of the Browns (2-5).
Chiefs make London debut looking to build on victory over Pittsburgh from FS Kansas City
With the running game sputtering, Cooter is expected to lean more on Stafford. However, he's tossed nine interceptions, three shy of his total from last season.
He's re-establishing a rhythm with Calvin Johnson. The star wide receiver has 11 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games after scoring once in the previous five.
"He's a younger guy and definitely has a lot of fire in him," Johnson said of Cooter.
Chiefs' Tamba Hali keeps moving up franchise sacks list from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
Long before Justin Houston began terrorizing quarterbacks, it was Tamba Hali who was following in the footsteps of the great Kansas City Chiefs pass rushers.
Guys such as Derrick Thomas, Art Still and Neil Smith.
It won't be long until he's following just one.
Hali had had two more sacks last weekend against Pittsburgh to give him 82 1/2 for his 10-year career. He needs just four more to match Smith for second-most in franchise history, trailing only the 126 1/2 sacks that Thomas racked up during his Hall of Fame career.
Lions' London trip part of NFL's expansion strategy from The Detroit Free Press
The novelty of American football in London has long since worn off, but with the NFL's International Series now in its ninth season, the buzz about the league's global foothold is growing louder by the day.
The Lions and Kansas City Chiefs will meet Sunday at Wembley Stadium in the 14th game of the series, teams with a combined 3-11 record that will play in front of a sellout crowd of more than 80,000.
For the Lions, this is the second straight season they've played abroad, and it surely won't be the last.
Every Thursday we'll take a look at the Detroit Lions' upcoming opponent and gather all the information and links you'll need to get to know the opposition.
This week, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Madness will perform live on the field before kickoff at Wembley, which seems fitting for this game between one team that came from nowhere to beat Pittsburgh last week, and another that decided the best time to overhaul its offensive coaching staff was a few short hours before they were scheduled to board a team flight to London.
Firing Joe Lombardi, Jeremiah Washburn, and Terry Heffernan makes enough sense to me, but given that this team is already too far gone to salvage a playoff bid (sorry, Detroit fans) would it not have made more sense to wait until the bye rather than add a further layer of confusion to an already logistically challenging week?
Given this context, I feel like I ought to back Kansas City - especially after Charcandrick West showed against Pittsburgh that he may be able to pick up some of the Jamaal Charles slack after all. And yet, I find myself leaning Detroit's way. Perhaps this is because it is easy to imagine Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron making hay against the Chiefs' atrocious secondary, or maybe I just can't bring myself to bet against a guy named Jim Bob Cooter.
Lions to win
Why Isn't The NFL Enforcing Its Uniform Code? from Forbes
The NFL has been holding steadfast in its efforts to appear tonedeaf, repeatedly fining players for their efforts to raise awareness about cancer. Those efforts have broken the league's official uniform rules, hence the fines, but the punishments seem more than a little ironic during a month in which the NFL is purportedly doing the exact same thing with its ubiquitous pink gear.
But what's really curious isn't that the NFL is punishing its players for such harmless actions - it's made quite the reputation for just that - but rather that the league isn't fully enforcing its uniform code as presently written.