Chiefs vs. Bengals: Game Preview from The Mothership
In the case of the Kansas City Chiefs (1-2), two losses in a row, first a heartbreaker to the Denver Broncos and then a poor performance last Monday night against the Green Bay Packers, have understandably put them on the wrong side of that perception.
But a win against an undefeated Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) team that has made the playoffs four seasons in a row could be just what the doctor ordered.
"Well, I've been through it," linebacker
Derrick Johnson, who became the all-time Chiefs tackle leader last week, said. "I've been through the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys through my 11 years here and it's early. That's the main focus that I'm telling the team - it's early."
And though it is early, very early indeed, the Chiefs are already facing the adversity that comes along with every season.
Chiefs vs. Bengals: How to Watch and Listen from The Mothership
Play-by-Play: Spero Dedes
Color Analyst: Solomon Wilcots
Game Day Forecast from The National Weather Service
Today A chance of sprinkles before 10am. Partly sunny, with a high near 71. East wind around 7 mph.
The Chiefs are 5 of 30 on third-down efficiency for a league-worst 16.7 percent conversion rate, a statistic that coincides with the team's inability to keep quarterback Alex Smith upright in the pocket.
Smith has been sacked a league-high 13 times heading into Sunday's game against the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals (3-0), which puts him on pace to be sacked a whopping 69 times on the season.
In comparison, Smith was sacked 11 times through the first three games of the 2014 season and finished the year with a career-high 45 times sacked.
Prediction: Bengals 27, Chiefs 20 from ESPN
Against a lesser opponent, the Chiefs' resolve might help earn them their second road victory of the season. But the Bengals are no lesser opponent. Quarterback aside, they are a better team than the Packers, and through three weeks, the Bengals' Andy Dalton is the league's second-rated passer behind only Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay.
The Chiefs should be good enough to compete with the Bengals and even beat them, but these are not normal times for them.
Sunday's total is currently set at 44.5. The UNDER is 9-1 in Kansas City's last 10 games against AFC North opponents and 8-1 in the last nine games between these two teams.
The Bengals have won and covered in each of their last three games against Kansas City and are on a good roll to start this season. Kansas City could end up keeping this game close, but with the way the Bengals are playing right now and how well they've played in recent seasons at home, Cincinnati looks like a solid play at -4.
Alabama notes: Saban wants Tide to play it cool from The Montgomery Advertiser
Scouts on hand: Ten NFL franchises had scouts on hand for the Alabama-Georgia game. Scouts from the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers were in the press box.
Andy Dalton has played well so far this season because he has a healthy complement of offensive weapons around him. Unlike last season when injuries forced Dalton to play without four of his top skill players, Cincinnati has been relatively injury-free this season. That has allowed a different playmaker to go off each week. In the opener, tight end Tyler Eifert was a fantasy owners' dream. In Week 2, Giovani Bernard made those who started him look like geniuses. And last week, receiver A.J. Green's 34 points (in ESPN's standard scoring system) made fantasy owners swoon. Will Green have another big day Sunday against the Chiefs? Or is it some other playmaker's turn? -- Coley Harvey
Sunday Playbook: Surging Bengals take on shaky Chiefs from The Buffalo News
Game of the day
Chiefs (1-2) at Bengals (3-0)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Bengals (-4)
The scoop: Desperate K.C. and Seattle next Sunday soften up Bengals for Bills? K.C. coming off consecutive losses to possible Super Bowl teams - Broncos and Packers. ... Chiefs' Jamaal Charles coming off three-TD game at Green Bay after fumble cost Denver game the week before. ... Cincy is second in league in offense (414) and stout defensively. This may be best Bengals team ever, even better than '81 and '88 teams that beat Bills on way to Super Bowl.
Outlook: Denver, Green Bay and now Cincy. Tough stretch for K.C., too. Bengals, with chance to go two up on Steelers in division, 27-21.
Minnesota native Ryan Harris entrusted with protecting Peyton Manning's blind side for Broncos from The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Then there is the altitude in Denver. The Broncos made sure to remind visiting teams of it with a sign on the tunnel that says: "On behalf of the residents of Denver, Colorado, welcome to the Mile High city. Elevation 5280'."
"Absolutely, there's an effect," Harris said. "It's something like 20 percent less oxygen up here. But everywhere you play is part of the process of looking for a win. Like when you go to Kansas City and you can't hear yourself think."
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears, hamstring, (Q): Jeffery is not expected to play Sunday, despite being listed as questionable, according to ESPN.com's Jeff Dickerson, citing a source. Jeffery has missed two consecutive games after suffering a setback in practice following the team's season opener and is still trying to get back to normal health. He did practice on a limited basis throughout the week. According to Dickerson, Jeffery is targeting a return next week when the Bears face the Kansas City Chiefs.
NFL Week 4 Preview: Denver Broncos look to slow Vikings, Adrian Peterson from The Associated Press via SouthCoastToday.com
Kansas City (1-2) at Cincinnati (3-0)
The Chiefs looked inept at times on Monday night at Green Bay, but the Packers' offense in particular can make any opponents appear clueless. If Kansas City doesn't at least try some more daring plays with the ball early on, it could find itself in a big hole against the Bengals, who surely will go deep with A.J. Green (18.6 yards per catch, 3 TDs) and Marvin Jones (17.9, 2).
KC has allowed an NFL-high 14 sacks and has lost three straight to Cincinnati.