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Arrowheadlines: Kansas City Chiefs News 9/7

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Good morning. Lots of Kansas City Chiefs news for you today. We have season predictions, game previews, player stories, and a New York Giants' beat reporter's memory of that first game after 9/11. Here is today's news.

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2016 Kansas City Chiefs Roster: Breaking it Down from Chiefs.com

It's the deepest and most talented roster Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey has put together in his four years leading the organization, which is saying something.

Over the past three years, the Chiefs have won 31 regular-season games and have been to the playoffs twice, winning their first postseason contest in more than two decades by beating the Houston Texans by a score of 30-0 in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs last year.

They've done all of this with one of the youngest rosters in the league each and every year.

Chiefs Gameday Style: The Best Dressed of the Preseason from Chiefs.com

As the season looms around the corner, the Kansas City Chiefs took business trips to both Los Angeles and Chicago for their preseason matchups.

Our Chiefs.com team captured the stylish squad as they travelled for game days.

Check out our list of the best dressed of the Chiefs preseason and vote on Twitter for your pick in our fan poll:

Around the AFC West: Broncos Kick Off Season With Super Bowl Rematch Thursday from Chiefs.com

San Diego Chargers

Preseason Power Poll: No. 17
Week 1 Opponent: at Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. CT

The Chargers open their season at Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday against the Chiefs in the first AFC West divisional matchup of the year.

Some relevant links:

Rookie corner KeiVarae Russell is trying to master the Chiefs' terminology from The Kansas City Star

Since training camp started, the 5-foot-11, 192-pounder has watched a player at the same position taken three rounds later than he was — Georgia Tech rookie D.J. White — actually start the second preseason game, while Russell himself has been relegated solely to second- and third-team duty.

He also watched the Chiefs deal for another young corner, San Francisco's Kenneth Acker, who immediately earned reps ahead of him. Acker started the final preseason game while Russell came off the bench.

So what gives? Russell says he's simply struggled with the Chiefs' defensive terminology, most of which he heard and used at Notre Dame but directly conflicts with what it meant in college.

Chiefs taking leap of faith with a bunch of young cornerbacks from ESPN

The Chiefs have a good idea what they will get from Peters, who was selected as the NFL's defensive rookie of the year in 2015 after intercepting eight passes. Gaines was on his way to establishing himself as a starter last season but tore his ACL three games in, ending his year.

Otherwise, it's largely a mystery for the Chiefs at cornerback. Kenneth Acker was a starter last year, but for the San Francisco 49ers. Nelson played little as a rookie for the Chiefs last year. KeiVarae Russell (third round) and D.J. White (sixth round) arrived via this year's draft.

Even so, the Chiefs don't seem bothered by going with so many young players at corner.

Here's why the Chiefs kept WR De'Anthony Thomas from ESPN

The Chiefs have been better offensively with Thomas on the field than without.

In 2014, Thomas' rookie season, the Chiefs averaged 6.5 yards per play when he was on the field, regardless of whether he got the ball or not. They averaged 5.0 yards per play when he wasn't. They averaged 6.4 yards per rushing attempt when he was in the game, 4.1 yards per attempt when he wasn't.

The difference in yards per play with or without Thomas was slight last season (5.7 yards with, 5.5 yards without). But the Chiefs still ran the ball much better when he was in their lineup (5.9 yards per attempt) than when he wasn't (4.6 yards).

That's dramatic stuff.

These numbers show the value of Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce from ESPN

The numbers were even more dramatic for the Chiefs with and without Kelce, who didn't miss any games and sat out just 75 snaps. The Chiefs averaged 5.7 yards per play with Kelce in the game and 4.1 without. They ran the ball almost a half-yard better when Kelce played (4.7 per carry) than when he didn't (4.3).

Chiefs are better with Jamaal Charles and Spencer Ware in the game, too from ESPN

My findings on how much better his team is offensively with De'Anthony Thomas in their lineup led me to research the numbers for some other Kansas City Chiefs skill players.

I started with the running backs and found the 2015 Chiefs, not surprisingly, to be better when either Jamaal Charles or Spencer Ware was in their lineup. The numbers got worse for the Chiefs when either Charcandrick West or Knile Davis was their running back.

For Charles, the Chiefs averaged 5.7 yards per play when he was in the game (and regardless of whether he got the ball or not) and 5.5 yards when he wasn't.

Predicting the over/under stats for the Chiefs' star players from The Kansas City Star

Alex Smith

Total passing yards: 3,500

Prediction: Over. Smith has never thrown for 3,500 yards in a season, but he was close last year (3,486) and the offensive line should be a little better this year with a big upgrade at right tackle. I also think the offense may have to throw more than did it last year, because the defense might not be as good due to the uncertain status of Justin Houston. The good news is that Smith looked poised and confident in the preseason, and has a terrific grasp of the offense entering his fourth year in Andy Reid's system. He's still risk-averse, but he'll take some shots to the players he trusts (Maclin, Kelce and maybe Chris Conley) and is poised to have his best year as a pro.

Mellinger Minutes: Chiefs game-by-game prediction, Royals' playoff path and more from The Kansas City Star

Maybe you're like me, and you've developed a bit of a love-hate thing with football. I despise much of what the NFL does, and often find a very uncomfortable and hypocritical feeling being so invested in a brutal sport I do not want my sons to play, but right now, I am very much looking forward to all of it.

Anyway, last week I promised you a game-by-game Chiefs prediction, and I will say one more time that you should pay more attention to Terez's than mine, but here goes anyway:

Sunday, Chargers at home: the Chiefs are a touchdown favorite, and for good reason, because the Chargers stink but this will be a good test for the defense, particularly the edge rush and young corners. But, still: Chiefs win, 1-0.

NFL Nation's bold predictions for 2016 NFL regular season from ESPN

The Chiefs will win their first AFC West championship since 2010.

If that isn't bold enough, the offense will lead the way. Quarterback Alex Smith will set a career best for touchdown passes -- the bar is currently a modest 23 -- and the play of the line will be another key factor. -- Adam Teicher

Chiefs reshuffle practice squad, add Ramik Wilson from Chiefs Digest

The Chiefs reshuffled their practice squad Tuesday, retaining linebacker Ramik Wilson and offensive lineman Jordan Devey, both of who officially cleared waivers Monday.

The team also added Terrance Mitchell and Julian Wilson to the practice squad.

The Chiefs cleared room on the practice squad by releasing linebacker Tyrell Adams, offensive linemen Daniel Munyer and defensive backs Shak Randolph and Brock Vereen.

Run of lopsided openers for the Chiefs could end on Sunday from ESPN

If the Kansas City Chiefs should expect the unexpected in the most unpredictable of games, the regular-season opener, they should prepare for a competitive game on Sunday when they play the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs haven't played a competitive game in a season-opener in three years that Andy Reid has been their coach. They've all been lopsided contests, so if the Chiefs and Chargers have to go deep into the fourth quarter to determine the outcome on Sunday, that would make for an unusual season-opener.

In fact, the Chiefs were on the losing end of blowouts in the two season-openers before Reid's arrival, too. Kansas City has to go back to 2010 for a competitive opener, when the Chiefs held off the Chargers 21-14 on a rainy Monday night at Arrowhead.

Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Chiefs from Chargers.com

What to Watch For...

On Offense for the Chargers

Philip Rivers is under center for his 13th season, including 11th as the team's starting QB.  Number 17 led the NFL and set new franchise records with 437 completions and 661 attempts last year, and was just 10 shy of tying Dan Fouts' mark with 4,792 passing yards.  His top targets will once again be Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen, while newcomer Travis Benjamin looks to inject a speed element to the passing game.  On the ground, Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead aim to establish a potent rushing attack from Week 1.

In the long run, the Chargers need balance to their offense from The Press Enterprise

After finishing 4-12 and in the AFC West basement last season, there's plenty of room for improvement.

That's especially true with a running attack which was pedestrian at best. The Chargers were 31st in rushing last year and there's 32 teams.

The Chargers know what everyone does: Philip Rivers enters his 13th season Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, longing for a running game to lean on.

It wasn't that way last year, despite the Chargers' best intentions.

Fantasy Football Week 1 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em: Derek Carr's dream matchup and all the bust alerts from CBS Sports

Sit 'Em

Philip Rivers QB / San Diego Chargers (Week 1 projections at KC)

FPTS: 14.8

It's been two years since Rivers had a big game against the Chiefs, and he's averaged just nine Fantasy points in a standard league against Kansas City in his past four meetings, with two touchdowns and five interceptions over that span. He also has one game in his past five years at Arrowhead Stadium with more than 18 Fantasy points, and that came in 2013. Now, the good news for Rivers is Chiefs standout pass rusher Justin Houston (knee) is out, but Kansas City does have Eric Berry back from his holdout. We don't expect Rivers to score just nine Fantasy points in this outing, but his ceiling might be capped at around 18 points, which lowers his value and puts him outside of the Top 12 heading into this matchup.

Fantasy fallout: Sifting through backfield messes in KC, Baltimore from ESPN

Ware a good option (for Week 1, anyway). The one good thing about the Chiefs' backfield is that the pecking order seems pretty clear for at least one week -- with Spencer Ware in line for the leading role.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he thinks it's "a stretch" that starter Jamaal Charles could play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers as he continues to work his way back slowly from last year's ACL injury. Ware has been Charles' primary replacement all preseason.

March-Lillard to start for Chiefs on Sunday from The Danville Commercial News

March-Lillard, who is listed as one of the starting inside linebackers on the Chiefs depth chart for the season-opening game against the San Diego Chargers, will join the likes of Jason Anderson and Keon Clark as former Danville High athletes to play professional sports.

"I'm blessed to have this opportunity,'' March-Lillard said. "I'm there representing my family and friends, first and foremost, representing Danville and the University of Akron. I want to show these people that I'm big enough and fast enough to play at this level.

"I always knew what I wanted to do and I'm able to use football as my giving stone, as my rock for my foundation. I learned a lot from my family and the people of Danville.''

Chiefs President Mark Donovan: "ready for season opener" from KWCH

Team President Mark Donovan said the team is prepared to host its season opener.

"We've got a lot of people in our organization who are very experienced in this and who know what to expect," he said. "That's the one thing preseason does give you, the opportunity to run-through and gets you ready. Not only are we ready, but we're really excited for the season and especially to kick off the season at Arrowhead."

Woody Paige: NFL predictions - P stands for powerful from The Colorado Springs Gazette

The Kansas City Chiefs won't get Jamaal Charles back to speed for a couple of weeks and Justin Houston for the first half of the season, but they've got everyone else, and they will win six of their last seven for an 11-5 record.

The Colossal Game is Christmas Day in K.C., and the Broncos lose and finish 10-6 - with other defeats to Carolina (30-20), Cincinnati, San Diego, Oakland and New England. Oakland ends up 8-8 and San Diego 6-10.

NFL 2016 season predictions and preview from The Washington Post

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

2015 RECORD: 11-5

OUTLOOK: Andy Reid did a terrific coaching job last season to get the Chiefs into the playoffs. He should have them back in the thick of the division race this season, with RB Jamaal Charles returning from last season's knee injury to help QB Alex Smith. Charles's comeback remains a work in progress, with questions persisting about his readiness to resume being a full-time player early in the season. The more pressing issue might be the return of LB Tamba Hali from his knee injury. The Chiefs might have a difficult time being without Hali's pass rushing presence given that fellow LB Justin Houston will miss the start of the season.

Rick Gosselin's NFL power rankings: Do the Cowboys even crack the top 25 to start the season? from The Dallas Morning News

8. Kansas City. The Chiefs won 11 games in 2015 despite the injury absence of their best offensive weapon, RB Jamaal Charles, for 11 games. He's back and so is the KC running game.

The NFL's 8 best undrafted players from FOX Sports

RB Priest Holmes, 1997-2007

Holmes signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 1997 and won a Super Bowl in Baltimore in 2001. But his real individual success came as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, when he led the league in rushing yards (1,555) in 2001 and in rushing TDs in 2002 (21) and 2003 (27).

Insiders: Colts' schedule looks like a winner from The Indianapolis Star

Week 8: Kansas City at Colts, 1 p.m., CBS

Holder: The defense will have to keep the Chiefs in check here given the ability of Kansas City's defense to turn back opponents. Also - and this will start to sound familiar as you continue reading - we're taking Luck over Alex Smith nine times out of 10. Colts 23, Chiefs 20

Keefer: The Colts earn their most decisive victory of the season with the defense delivering its best performance. Finally, Indy starts to see what the unit looks like when all the pieces are healthy. Colts 35, Chiefs 17

Detroit News AFC team rankings from The Detroit News

4. Kansas City Chiefs

Under coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs have gone 11-5, 9-7 and 11-5 the past three seasons and have ranked in the top five in scoring defense and rushing offense each of those years. Kansas City returns plenty of talent on both sides of the ball but the defense will be without linebacker Justin Houston, who will miss at least the first six weeks on the PUP list. The biggest questions are how running back Jamaal Charles will respond after coming off his second ACL surgery and if quarterback Alex Smith is able to take that next step and make the Chiefs viable title contenders.

10 injuries that will shape Week 1 of the NFL season from FOX Sports

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs (knee)

Charles' 2015 season ended with a torn ACL in Week 5, and Kansas City has been taking it slow with the four-time Pro Bowl selection given that it went 10-1 after losing its start running back. Charles said he was "full-go" last week, but Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters Monday that Charles is a stretch to play in Sunday's opener against the Chargers. KC kept three running backs - Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and Knile Davis - on the roster in case Charles can't go, and the Chiefs had little trouble running the ball against San Diego in two wins last year. Ware had 11 carries for 96 yards in Week 11 and West and Ware combined for 18 carries for 106 yards in Week 14. There seems to be little reason to force the issue with Charles on Sunday.

The 2016 Uni Watch NFL preview from ABC News

Most NFL teams put a logo or other graphic on their nose bumper -- that little white panel at the base of the helmet's forehead area. But for the third straight season, the Chiefs are one of two teams (the other is Washington) that are keeping that area blank:

Mock Draft: DeShone Kizer shows No. 1 skills in dramatic loss from UPI

21. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-5): Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State: Derrick Johnson is still playing well, but as he enters his age 34 season, his best years are behind him. McMillan gives the Chiefs a future anchor for the middle of their defense.

BRAZILIAN CAIRO SANTOS SAID PROTESTS IN NFL from Torcedores.com [translated from the original Portuguese]

Cairo, which 24 years will start his third season in the Chiefs on Sunday, the 11th, against the San Diego Chargers, said he respected the decision of Kaepernick, but did not talk much about the protest:

"In general, I prefer not position myself about it. Every coach has his way of dealing with these things that happen off the field, and our technical prefer that we focus within the football lines and also in my career as an ambassador of the NFL in Brazil. But everyone has the right to express their opinion. "

Cairo Santos trust back to the playoffs and even going to the Super Bowl from Globo.com [translated from the original Portuguese]

Since I arrived in 2014, this is the best squad we have and is the best opportunity (a successful season). We're trying to fit - analyzed the player, who commented on the calendar. - Outside the conference, we have easier games than last year, when our table was very difficult. Theoretically, the path of the playoffs and the Super Bowl is not easy, but we have bigger chances than in the past two years.

Fifteen years later: My 9/11 experience as a Giants beat writer from NFL.com

Players went to Jersey City, where they loaded supplies onto trucks. They went into the city, to firehouses, to visit first responders, to shake the hands of police officers on the streets, to boost morale, to say thank you to weary heroes. It was such an emotional time, where every eye blink seemed to capture an image from a movie set. But it was real, a new reality.

As the healing began, it was so obvious that the qualities we love in our sports -- resolve, resilience, our competitive spirit and heart -- were what we had to rely on in our daily lives. When Mike Piazza hit that home run in the Mets' first game back in New York, it was as if we all rounded the bases with him.

And when football returned, when the Giants went to Kansas City on Sept. 23, it was as if -- in that moment -- we were all in it together. When the Giants took the field, the Chiefs fans cheered. They cheered.

The national anthem sounded a little clearer. The sky felt bluer. We were ready for a distraction. We needed to be distracted.