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Chiefs expecting Panthers to have best defensive line they’ll see this year

The Kansas City Chiefs are getting ready to face one of the best defensive lines in football. The Jets had some talent up front but they don’t have the whole package that the Panthers do. Their defense led them to the Super Bowl last year.

“You could argue this will be the best defensive line that we’ve played up to this game or that we’ll play this season,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said this week via quotes from the Chiefs. “They’re a good bunch, man. They get after it – their whole front seven.”

That’s the talking point this week as Brad Childress echoed Reid’s praise for the Panthers defense.

“It’s the toughest front they’ve had all year,” Childress said of the test the Chiefs offensive line faces. “They’re substantial. They’re very, very strong. They’re very good on the get-off -- particularly at their place. You’re going to have to change snap counts and that’s always tough in a hostile environment.”

It’s not just the defensive line. Luke Kuechly is outstanding. Andy Reid couldn’t believe safety / linebacker Thomas Davis was still playing at such a high level. Childress said one thing they do well is get some push up the middle from the d-line which makes it hard to operate in the run and pass.

“You obviously start with Kuechly,” Childress said, “he quarterbacks that whole operation. He gets people set and lined up. Thomas Davis is not too shabby either. Those guys are good. Someone was just asking me, ‘Why are those guys so good against the run?’ Their safeties do an excellent job of fitting the run. They play their gaps, they play them hard, they can be in your backfield from a deep alignment, they hold their alignments until the very last second on the play clock and (defensive coordinator) Sean (McDermott) does a great job with those guys.”

This group seems comparable talent-wise to the Chiefs when they’re healthy. The Dontari Poe / Chris Jones combo up the middle with Justin Houston and Dee Ford coming off the edges and Eric Berry crashing in run support. You wouldn’t want to face the Chiefs, would you? This’ll be a great test on Sunday.

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