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Arrowheadlines: Kansas City Chiefs News 1/5

Good morning! Here is today's Kansas City Chiefs news. Enjoy!

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Andy Reid on facing Texans: "What a great challenge for our OL" from The Mothership

Q: Is Marcus Peters more prepared for this challenge than he was in the first matchup against Houston?

REID: "Yeah, I think - well just by experience, I would tell you yes. (DeAndre Hopkins) is a good receiver, he'll get up - I mean, (Marcus Peters) is going to challenge everybody, so he's not going to back down from anything. That should be - that's one of those you want to watch and see as a fan and I think as a coach. You're curious to see how he does against that player. He's had some big challenges to this day so he's risen to each one of them."

Q: What are the odds we see the offense open up a little bit more like the Indianapolis game in 2013?

REID: "We haven't been saving much, to be honest with you. Every week here our back's been to the wall and I'd like to tell you that this is a one-and-done thing but this is the way it's been for about the last six, seven, eight weeks. We'll see - we'll see what we can put together."

Ron Parker's Versatility Paramount to Chiefs Defensive Success This Season from The Mothership

Just like that, Gaines, the team's starting nickelback (slot corner), was lost for the season.

Moving forward, the Chiefs would rely on the versatility of fifth-year player Ron Parker, who had already moved around from cornerback to safety multiple times in his three seasons with the club.

But he didn't have much experience playing on the inside.

"That's a whole different world in there when you get inside," Chiefs coach Andy Reid explained of Parker moving to nickelback. "I'm proud of him for the job that he's done. It's not easy. We saw him do it our first year, against San Diego, and again, it's not an easy thing to do."

Parker ranks second on the team with 72 tackles this season.

"His flexibility is huge for us," Reid added. "He can play corner, he can play nickel and he can play safety. That's a pretty good deal."

The Merger Part Three: TV Saves the AFL from The Mothership

It's not too strong a statement to say that Lamar Hunt changed the face of American sports.  While he never considered himself a pioneer in any way, clearly his ideas on where sports figured in a marketplace blossoming in the post-war world were prescient and ones that he and a few far-seeing executives in his newly formed American Football League recognized.

Television and sport were on the verge of creating a symbiotic relationship.  In Hunt's original sketched notes made on American Airlines stationary back when he considered forming a new football league, he recognized the importance of all league teams sharing in what could be gained from a television network contract. Poll: Chiefs vs. Raiders: Top Plays

Even Andy Reid must admit that Chiefs are riding a wave of momentum into postseason from The Kansas City Star

To publicly acknowledge a competitive advantage is verboten to most coaches, and Andy Reid is part of that majority.

The Chiefs arrive at Saturday's playoff game at Houston with a gale-force wind at their backs, winners of a franchise-record 10 straight after starting 1-5.

The next longest winning streak in the NFL is four, by Washington.

Obviously, this is how any team would prefer to enter the postseason, but the best Reid could express is to not disagree with the idea.

"I think there's something to that," Reid said. "You come in with a certain confidence."

But Reid was correct about Houston when he added, "they have the same thing going."

Chiefs' Dee Ford joins Mitch Morse in concussion protocol from Chiefs Digest

"We're going to test him for concussions and go through that whole protocol," Reid said. "We don't have the results or anything like that yet."

Ford has filled in for Justin Houston (knee) the past five games, but the Chiefs could have Houston back for the playoffs.

Chiefs' pass rush may face another challenge if Dee Ford can't play against Texans from ESPN

Outside linebacker Dee Ford, a starter for the past five games, was being evaluated for a possible concussion a day after the Chiefs finished the regular season with a 23-17 win over the Oakland Raiders.

The possible absence of Ford, who has four sacks in his past four games, would increase the need for the Chiefs to have both of their Pro Bowl pass rushers,Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, as close to full strength as possible for Saturday's first-round playoff game against the Texans in Houston.

Uncertainty continues to surround Chiefs' edge rushers ahead of playoffs from Chiefs Digest

In a perfect world, the Chiefs will have starting outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali in the lineup for the first round of the playoffs.

Hali appears on track to be ready for Saturday's game against the Houston Texans after playing 14 of 57 total defensive snaps in the season finale...

...Houston's status, however, is unclear.

2016 Kansas City Chiefs home and away opponents determined from ESPN

My take: The Chiefs had better be a strong team away from Arrowhead Stadium because, as in 2015, their road schedule is more difficult than their home schedule. They'll face four 2015 playoff teams on the road but just one at Arrowhead. The Chiefs will have four games against teams that will pick in the top five in the draft, one each against the Titans and Jaguars and two against the Chargers.

Chiefs' 2016 opponents announced from Chiefs Digest

Of note, the Chiefs will not play the Buffalo Bills for the first time since the 2007 season. Kansas City and Buffalo previously met in eight straight regular-season games (2008-15).

Chiefs at long last will have the better QB in a playoff game from ESPN

If having the better quarterback is the biggest factor in determining the winner of an NFL playoff game, there's a good reason the Kansas City Chiefs have lost eight straight postseason games.

But it's also why that losing streak should end on Sunday against the Texans in Houston. For the first time in what seems like forever, the Chiefs, with Alex Smith, will have the advantage at quarterback over a January opponent.

More than ever, Chiefs counting on Alex Smith avoiding interceptions from ESPN

Smith promised his two picks on Sunday wouldn't make him gun shy in Houston.

"I would say the opposite here at playoff time," Smith said. "There is no tomorrow. You're trying to go out there and cut loose.

"The mindset is to execute the offense and score points," he continued. "That's it. That's what we're trying to do. I don't care how we do it, whether it's running or passing. I don't care who's scoring. It's not about protecting the football or anything [else]. I'm trying to go out there and make good decisions."

'Humble' Chiefs stick to the plan and turn their season around from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City

There was no "Eureka!" moment in the Kansas City Chiefs' remarkable turnaround.

No moment of clarity, no major shakeup in scheme or personnel. The Chiefs didn't abandon the run game when Jamaal Charles got hurt or stop blitzing quarterbacks when Justin Houston went down.

Rather, they stuck to their convictions behind the steady hand of coach Andy Reid, and it paid off with a franchise-record 10 consecutive victories and a return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.

Chiefs much different team than last time they faced Texans from ESPN

Travis Kelce led the Chiefs in receiving in Houston with six catches, 106 yards and two touchdowns. But the yardage and touchdowns were season highs for him and he's been replaced by Jeremy Maclin as quarterback Alex Smith's go-to receiver.

Maclin wound up leading the Chiefs in catches (87), receiving yards (1,088) and touchdowns (8). His 25-yard catch from Smith gave the Chiefs their first touchdown against Oakland.

"For sure,'' Smith said when asked whether the Chiefs were a different team than they were four months ago. "The whole season, kind of figuring out who you are and your strengths, dealing with injuries and overcoming things and all that. We're both in different spots.''

Ranking the clearest paths to the Super Bowl from ESPN

7. Kansas City Chiefs: Ron Rivera is probably the coach of the year in the NFC. Andy Reid is the coach of the year in the AFC. The Chiefs allowed only 128 points over the final 10 games. Except for his back-to-back interceptions Sunday against Oakland, Alex Smith does a great job of protecting the ball. The path isn't bad to start. They are favored to beat the Houston Texans. After that, it could be tough. Smith would go into the divisional round with a 2-2 playoff record, but it's hard to think he's good enough to win three playoff games -- unless we see some of the best play of his career.

A good year to be a wild card in NFL playoffs from The Associated Press via The Calgary Sun

They have done what's necessary in 10 straight games for one of the great turnarounds in NFL history. The Chiefs rank first in the AFC with a plus-14 turnover margin. The defence is formidable and might get back its best player, linebacker Justin Houston (knee). They're 5-3 on the road and already have won at the Texans, in the season opener, when KC wasn't nearly so strong.

"First of all they have a lot of good players and they have a really good coaching staff. That combination is tough," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said.

"On defence they've got really good pass rushers with (Tamba) Hali and Houston and they've got a good secondary playing at a high level, their linebackers fly around, their front seven is really, really good.

"Offensively Alex Smith's had a good year, receivers, (Jeremy) Maclin. I know Jamaal Charles is on IR now, but they've still got running backs, Kelce the tight end, a really good offensive line. So it's a big challenge."

New England Patriots playoff opponents: Are Chiefs, Texans or Bengals the toughest draw? from MassLive

Why they scare you: Well, they've won 10 games in a row. Let's start there. And they won the final five without stud outside linebacker Justin Houston, who suffered a hyperextended knee on Nov. 29 versus Buffalo. The Patriots are plenty familiar with the KC duo of Houston and Tamba Hali. Together, they combined for three sacks and a forced fumble in Kansas City's Week 4 rout of New England a year ago.

As for now?

Different teams, different game, but still a ferocious pass rush against a leaky Patriots offensive line.

On the other side of the ball, Kansas City's ground game has remained potent despite losing Jamaal Charles to an ACL tear early in the season. The Chiefs racked up 2,044 yards rushing at a clip of 4.7 yards per carry. New England's run defense has been shaky at times.

The Chiefs also rank second in the NFL with a +14 give/take ratio. They won the turnover battle in all but three games.

Texans face challenge in red-hot Chiefs as they prepare for 1st playoff game since 2012 from The Associated Press via The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The Texans are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and now have to come up with a plan to derail the Kansas City Chiefs, winners of 10 in a row.

They'll do it with a defense that surged in the last nine games after struggling early. Houston (9-7) went 7-2 in that stretch in large part because the defense allowed an NFL-best 12.7 points a game.

"There's a lot of trust on that side of the ball among each other and with the coaches," coach Bill O'Brien said. "You've got some guys playing some great football ... you've got better tackling, better communication. All the things that you need to play good football in this league and good defense in this league, you're having it."

NFL power rankings: Panthers reclaim throne, Cardinals and Chiefs not far behind from SB Nation

On the back of a very strong finish in which they won their final 10 games, the Chiefs come in third on our list, tops among the AFC field despite their No. 5 seeding. That's what a 1-5 start will buy you, I guess. The AFC's No. 1 seed in the Broncos aren't far behind, but lingering questions about the quarterback situation cloud their potential to take it all the way to Santa Clara. Will it be Peyton Manning's team again or will Brock Osweiler get another shot? More important, is it clear which option is worse? Neither Manning nor Osweiler have been impressive this year, but Denver's elite and suffocating defense carried them. That pass rush, combined with that secondary, will be a big deal in the postseason.

Green enters Chiefs Hall of Fame from The St. Joseph News-Press

Gary Green came back for a Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame weekend for the second time in the past three years.

This time, though, the former cornerback became the guest of honor.

Kansas City's first-round draft pick in the 1977 draft became the 45th former player to have his name placed among the ‘ring of honor' that lines the inside of Arrowhead Stadium.

Del Rio: Chiefs forced Raiders' offense 'off the rails' to end season from FOX Sports

Del Rio, via ESPN: "At one time we were red hot. I feel we lost our way a little bit, got off the rails. We had nowhere near the productivity we expected to have."

That fact has to be deflating for a head coach who wanted his young team to end on a high note. Instead, they regressed from the big-play offense which once led the league in passing touchdowns of over 25 yards.

Their breakdowns started up front, even with Pro Bowl opponents Justin Houston and Tamba Hali out.

2015 NFL regular-season awards from ESPN

Comeback Player of the Year

Winner: Eric Berry, Chiefs. This seems like a simple rule. If you beat cancer and come back from offseason chemotherapy to re-establish yourself as one of the best players at your position in football, you deserve to win Comeback Player of the Year. With all due respect to Carson Palmer, Tyrann Mathieu and nearly half of the Cardinals' roster, this should not be up for debate. All agreed? Good.

A Look At The Broncos 3 Possible Opponents In Their Divisional Playoff Game from CBS Denver

In their two regular season games against division rivals the Chiefs, the Broncos won once (in Kansas City) and lost once (in Denver).

The Chiefs looked like they were destined for disappointment after losing five straight games early in the season, but they haven't lost since Oct. 18. And their defeat of the Broncos on Nov. 15 was Denver's most lopsided loss of the season.

Chiefs return to the scene of team's last major triumph from KCTV5

It was a fabulous NFL playoff match up: Houston hosting Kansas City.

One team carrying a 10-game winning streak into the postseason, facing one of the league's top Cinderella stories.

In 1994.

That year, it was Houston that had won its last 10 regular season games, while Kansas City was living out a fairytale season.

Joe Montana and Marcus Allen had helped spearhead an offensive Renaissance in KC, turning "Martyball" into "Montana Mania."

The Astrodome was deafening that day as Warren Moon and company carried a 10-0 lead into halftime.

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