FanPost

Week Eight Preview: Spoiler Alert

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It's been a few days since Thursday Night Football, and I can finally think straight. The Chiefs, 5-2, have lost their second straight game, and are enjoying a mini bye week before Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos in Arrowhead Stadium, but before we get into that matchup, we have to revisit the Thursday Night from Hell.

The game started off incredibly poorly, with a blatant OPI flag picked up and Amari Cooper gifted a TD. I try not to complain about the referees, because the zebras are all incompetent and will screw over every team that isn't based in Boston, but that particular call was highly egregious and resulted in the Raiders picking up an early lead.

Derek Carr's connection with Amari Cooper, which had lain dormant all season, finally awakened on Thursday Night Football, to the tune of 11 receptions, 210 yards, and 2 TDs (to those who had benched him in fantasy, you have my condolences); however, Derek Carr was not overall impressive despite his passing yards and TDs, having completed nearly 56% of his passes and throwing several balls that, had our secondary been playing their best, should have been intercepted. Speaking of the secondary, I'd like to speak in defense of Bob Sutton for a bit.

The defense in general played poorly, but the secondary was particularly bad, with Eric Murray getting smoked by Jared Cook repeatedly, Philip Gaines proving that he should be a depth player and not a featured guy, and Terrence Mitchell's average play not being enough to hold down the fort opposite Peters. Peters had a bit of a bounce-back game, but still wasn't near the level he had played at his first two seasons. With the Mormon Missile, Dan Sorenson, only knowing how to throw himself in the general direction of the football, that leaves only Ron Parker and MP22 as the guys playing above-average on the back end of the defense, and it shows.

With the secondary playing as poorly as it has, Bob Sutton has had to adjust his defense accordingly, with more three-man rushes and eight men dropping into coverage to make up for the weaknesses. While Sutton has earned a lot of the flack that he has received from Chiefs Kingdom, it has annoyed me to no end that none of the blame is being put on the players; with Eric Berry, the best safety in the NFL and a HOF-caliber player, and Steven Nelson, our second-best CB, both on IR, the Chiefs secondary has become a weakness, and no DC would be able to cover up the fact that two of our three CBs in nickel are replacement-level players at best this year.

The pass rush is also injured, and a lot of the blame for the defense's poor performance lands on that; while Bob Sutton has had Justin Houston drop into coverage, I can't blame him; Houston is an elite cover guy for an OLB, and while fans (understandably) want him rushing the passer, putting him on a pass-rush and Dee Ford in coverage means that there's a significant weakness in the flat and short patterns, while Dee Ford rushing the passer and Houston in coverage might mean a small dropoff in the rush but a larger upgrade in the coverage game.

On the offensive side of the ball, we got a reminder about how our coach can be Doctor Reid and Mr. Andy. Doctor Reid, the offensive genius, has been coaching the first six weeks, and the offense hummed to the tune of one of the NFL's best, and for the most part, he was in control of this game, too. However, Mr. Andy, the deformed, twisted psychopath who forgets to feed Jamaal/Kareem the ball and instead gives touches to Demetrius Harris, Ross Travis, and CJ Spiller, with one of those Spiller touches coming on the final drive of the game for the Chiefs... Sorry, I got distracted by rage.

Alex Smith had another fantastic game, completing just under 70% of his passes for 342 yards and 3 TDs. While he probably won't win MVP without another big, signature win in prime time (this upcoming Broncos game would be ideal) he's having a career year, and the offense has looked incredible. Smith's on pace for 4523 yards passing, 34 touchdowns, and no interceptions, all of which would easily lap his previous bests (his current career high for passing yards, his 3500 mark set in 2015, is set to be overtaken in the middle of the week 14 game against the Raiders, FYI).

Kareem Hunt, another shining star for the offense, will only lose ROTY because Deshaun Watson exists. Hunt's seventh-straight game with 100 yards from scrimmage is a rookie record, and with over 1000 yards from scrimmage already, he's having one of the best rookie seasons of all time; should he continue, he'll end the season with approximately 1600 rushing yards, 650 receiving yards, and be tied for 14th all time in single-season yards from scrimmage (tied with Ahman Green's 2003 season). This would surpass Eric Dickerson's rookie season of 2204 yards from scrimmage to be the greatest rookie season of all time for a running back.

Now that some good has washed out the bad taste in my mouth, let's get into the week that was.

Week 7 Review

Sunday, Noon Arrowhead Time

Ravens (3-3) @ Vikings (4-2)

My Prediction: Ravens 12, Vikings 17
Actual Outcome: Ravens 16, Vikings 24
Fantasy play of the Game: Case Keenum, 7.42 pts

Off to a good start here, the Vikings took care of the faltering Ravens in their building, with Latavius Murray popping off for 113 yards at 6.3 yards a pop, collecting a touchdown along the way. The game wasn't all that special, in the grand scheme of things, but it looks like the Vikings, whose star safety Andrew Sendejo was suspended for a late hit on Monday, could be the favorite in this division for the first time in what seems like fifty years.

Saints (4-2) @ Packers (4-2)

My Prediction: Saints 24, Packers 23
Actual Outcome: Saints 26, Packers 17
Fantasy play of the Game: Willie Snead, IA

Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are now without a first-ballot HOFer at QB for the first time in almost three decades, and it became apparent that Mike McCarthy was not prepared to deal with that reality. The Saints had a good day lead by their ground game, and the defense continues to look the best that it has in years.

Jets (3-3) @ Dolphins (3-2)

My Prediction: Jets 20, Dolphins 7
Actual Outcome: Jets 28, Dolphins 31
Fantasy play of the Game: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, 8.1 pts

Jay Cutler's injury lead the way for the oldest backup QB in history (not really) Matt Moore to step in, and the Dolphins offense finally looked how it should. The Dolphins are a much friskier team with Moore than Cutler, and hopefully they can continue to improve now that the have a positive at the QB position.

Panthers (4-2) @ Bears (2-4)

My Prediction: Panthers 24, Bears 17
Actual Outcome: Panthers 3, Bears 17
Fantasy play of the Game: Christian McCaffrey, 4.6 pts

The Panthers have not looked good recently, and their two turnovers turned out to be the difference-maker in this game. Eddie Jackson took a fumble and a pick to the house, both from over seventy yards out, and helped the Bears to a win over Carolina. Trubisky didn't look great, but with the WRs he currently has, I can't blame him at all.

Cardinals (3-3) @ Rams (4-2)

My Prediction: Cardinals 20, Rams 33
Actual Outcome: Cardinals 0, Rams 33
Fantasy play of the Game: Sammy Watkins, 4.2 pts

Yeesh. The new, Adrian Peterson-led Cardinals didn't look good at all today, and the broken arm for Carson Palmer could have sealed a lost season for the Arizona team. Meanwhile, the Rams are flying high, and Jared Goff is looking like the number 1 overall pick. It's entirely possible that he and Wentz meet for the NFC Championship game, barring injuries and the like.

Buccaneers (2-3) @ Bills (3-2)

My Prediction: Bucs 18, Bills 24
Actual Outcome: Bucs 27, Bills 30
Fantasy play of the Game: Doug Martin, 8.0 pts

The Bills might be one of the most surprising teams of the NFL season, and that's saying something this year. While their defense didn't have the best day, they were able to secure a late fumble from the Bucs and allow Steven Hauschka to kick the game-winner. Meanwhile, the Bucs cannot get anything right so far, and with their bye week already come and gone, it could be a very long season for them.

Jaguars (3-3) @ Colts (2-4)

My Prediction: Jaggs 21, Colts 20
Actual Outcome: Jags 27, Colts 0
Fantasy play of the Game: Marqise Lee, 7.2 pts

With the Colts shut out, at home, by the Sacksonville Jaguars, it has to be a thought in the minds of Chuck Pagano and Chris Ballard to not activate Andrew Luck at all for this season. Jacoby Brissett is not a perfect QB, often holding the ball too long and taking unnecessary sacks (10 of them, in fact), and putting a shaky Andrew Luck out there is a recipe for another long-term injury. Tank the rest of the year, get a good, offensive coach to replace Pagano, and build up your team with a top-5 pick.

Titans (3-3) @ Browns (0-6)

My Prediction: Titans 30, Browns 17
Actual Outcome: Titans 12, Browns 9 (OT)
Fantasy play of the Game: Marcus Mariota, 8.92 pts

If you also got screwed by Mariota this weekend, rest assured that I lost because of him, too. The Titans and Browns were engaged in a battle of comic ineptitude most of today, and the Titans 4-3 record seems generous, with how bad they've been. The Browns are still hopeless.

Sunday, 3:05 Arrowhead Time

Cowboys (2-3) @ 49ers (0-6)

My Prediction: Cowboys 20, 49ers 21
Actual Outcome: Cowboys 40, 49ers 10
Fantasy play of the Game: Pierre Garçon, 4.9 pts

Okay, go ahead, get @FreezingColdTakes on the line, I got whomped on that one. The Beathard-lead 49ers were outclassed, outmatched, and outgunned in every facet of the game, and the Cowboys continue to get stronger as they year goes on.

Bengals (2-3) @ Steelers (4-2)

My Prediction: Bengals 17, Steelers 24
Actual Outcome: Bengals 14, Steelers 29
Fantasy play of the Game: JuJu Smith-Schuster, 9.9 pts

The Bengals suck, and the Steelers are rounding into form as the perennial powerhouse of the AFC that they are. Another dominating performance from the Pittsburgh D, and Andy Dalton's throwing the ball away on a pivotal 4th down sums up how the Bengals are playing this year.

Sunday, 3:25 Arrowhead Time

Seahawks (3-2) @ Giants (1-5)

My Prediction: Seahawks 28, Giants 10
Actual Outcome: Seahawks 24, Giants 7
Fantasy play of the Game: Thomas Rawls, 3.2 pts

The Seahawks, despite a leaky OL, continue to win in the NFC, and the Giants, minus their top receiving options, look like a JV squad in comparison. I don't think the Seahawks will do much in the playoffs, but they're looking like a Wild Card team at least.

Broncos (3-2) @ Chargers (2-4)

My Prediction: Broncos 21, Chargers 17
Actual Outcome: Broncos 0, Charger 21
Fantasy play of the Game: Bennie Fowler, 4.5 pts

Haha, the Broncos got Moss'd.

Sunday Night Football

Patriots (4-2) @ Falcons (3-2)

My Prediction: Patriots 3, Falcons 28
Actual Outcome: Patriots 23, Falcons 7
Fantasy play of the Game: Taylor Gabriel, 1.9 pts

The Falcons got their asses handed to them in FOG BOWL II: ELECTRIC FOGALOO. The Patriots have got their groove back, are 5-2, and everything is awful again.

Monday Night Football

Redskins (4-2) @ Eagles (5-1)

My Prediction: Redskins 27, Eagles 24
Actual Outcome: Redskins 24, Eagles 34
Fantasy play of the Game: Josh Doctson, 3.9 pts

The inherent danger in picking an upset came back to bite me, here. The Eagles are the best team in the NFC so far, only losing to the Chiefs, and Carson Wentz looks like an MVP candidate with his magical escapes and pretty deep balls.

Week 7 Pick Results: 8-6

Year to Date Results: 52-53

Week 8 Preview

Your division-leading, 5-2 Kansas City Chiefs are coming off a mini bye week, with 10 full days between their TNF loss against the Raiders and this week's game, the Monday Night Football match-up against the Denver Broncos (3-3). The Chiefs may hae lost two in a row, but a win here would put them at 6-2, with the next closest AFC West team at either 4-4 or 3-5, depending on how the Chargers and Raiders games shake out.

The Broncos, whose horse-faced fans may be found at MileHighReport.com, have been a weird team to figure out this season, winning three of their first four before dropping two straight to the previously-winless Giants and the struggling Los Angeles Chargers. Starting QB Trevor Siemian has been up and down at best, and missing Emmanuel Sanders last week obviously hurt him in week 7. Demaryius Thomas is a good WR1, but he couldn't carry the team by himself, and the Chargers ended up skunking the Broncos, 21-0.

The defense, while still very good, has also been very confusing. The Broncos shored up their run defense from last year, holding LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch, Ezekiel Elliot, and Melvin Gordon (twice) to under 100 yards on the ground combined. However, they also got torched by Orleans Darkwa against the Giants, and Darkwa ended up running for over one hundred yards by himself. Is Orleans Darkwa the next elite RB, or are the Broncos being replaced by pod people? (The Draw Play comic seems to think the second one.)

Despite that performance against Darkwa, the Broncos run defense has been very, very good. One of my former draft crushes, Adam Gotsis, has been a Grown Ass Man on that defensive line, and with Derek Wolfe and Domato Peko Jr. both playing well at the other DE spot and at NT, respectively, it might be difficult for the Chiefs to run on the Broncos in their base 3-4 defense.

However, the Broncos spend a lot of time in nickel due to their three good CBs, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., and Bradley Roby. The "No Fly Zone" defense has been one of the top secondaries in the league for a few years, and not much has changed this year, with the young safety Justin Simmons replacing the jettisoned TJ Ward in spades. Passing on the Broncos has always been a tall order, especially with Von Miller rushing the passer. Has it been the same so far this year? Consider the following:

Week 1, vs Chargers: 22/33, 192 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 99.6 RAT, W

Week 2, vs Cowboys: 30/50, 238 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 68.6 RAT, W

Week 3, @ Bills: 20/26, 213 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 126.0 RAT, L

Week 4, vs Raiders: 21/35, 249 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 78.7 RAT, W (combined from both Carr and Manuel)

Week 6, vs Giants: 11/19, 128 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 95.9 RAT, L

Week 7, @ Chargers: 15/26, 183 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 105.1 RAT, L

Firstly, the Broncos have already played half of their home games, and it's not even halfway through the season yet with a Bye week thrown in there. More importantly, the Broncos have not been impossible to pass against this year, despite still being a good defense. With the strength of the run defense, it's not like teams were just running all over the Broncos this year; the No Fly Zone defense just has had a step back. With Alex Smith currently playing like an MVP, I like this matchup.

The Broncos offense has been inconsistent, and the OL is at least partly responsible. Rookie LT Garett Bolles has been good on the OL, despite missing a game due to injury, and injuries and inconsistency have plagued the rest of the line, with starting RT Menelik Watson and backup/swing OT "Drama" Donald Stephenson going out with calf injuries. On Sunday, Allen Barbre, their backup LG, was given the start at RT, and was roasted by Joey Bosa. If the injuries are not healed by Monday, this is a good sign for the Chiefs, who need to be able to get pressure with the 3 or 4 man rushes that Bob Sutton is fond of using this year.

The offense has also got another problem, and his name is Trevor Siemian. Trev has not been an overall plus for the Broncos, and is starting to come under fire from Broncos fans. A revealing quote from this MHR article:

Trevor Siemian early on looked like a guy trying harder and harder to look more like Tim Tebow as far as accuracy goes. He was constantly overthrowing routes. Look guys and gals. I’m not going to lie to you...saying this is absolutely debilitatingly depressing. Why? Because the vast majority of his throws weren’t even more than 10 yards down the field.

Broncos Country, I don’t want to hear any more about Trevor Siemian being an accurate quarterback.

Pairing Siemian’s inability to read defenses and / or go through read progressions like a normal NFL QB with a line that is spotty in its blocking is a recipe for derptitude of the highest order. The first half saw another dropped INT as well as a nice strip-sack from the Broncos "starting" QB. It only got worse as the game went on with a 2nd dropped INT and another fumble. I stopped counting after 4 turnover plays that were his responsibility.

The honeymoon for #TeamTrev is over, and while the Chiefs D has been a get-right game for most QBs this year, I think the Chiefs have it in them to stifle this passing O, especially if Emmanuel Sanders misses a second game (I don't think he will).

The Denver running game has also been a struggle this year, with CJ Anderson netting 391 yards on 92 carries so far; while that's a nice 4.3 ypc, that's also not a lot of usage for a good RB. Jamaal Charles has been an okay change-of-pace guy, with 42 rushes for 196 yards, 4.7 yards per carry. While that YPC number may be a career low for him, he's still a dynamic guy.

The key matchup to watch is Tyreek Hill against Aqib Talib. Last year, Talib got the better of Tyreek fairly consistently, and if Tyreek's improved route-running can give him an opening, Hill's speed should be an easy way to burn Talib. It'll be a slobberknocker on the outside, methinks.

Chiefs Offense V Broncos Defense

This is a tough one for me. The Chiefs need their starting OL healthy, and if Mitch Morse and LDT both play, that will be a huge boon to this offense (the Chiefs have gone 1-2 in games without LDT in the starting lineup, although that might be a coincidence). Alex Smith didn't play his best against the Broncos last year, but with how well he's been playing so far, I'm at least kind of confident he'll perform adequately. I'm going to call this a push, because I'm wondering how effective Kareem Hunt will be against this Denver D.

Broncos Offense V Chiefs Defense

With how poorly the Chiefs have played on defense the last two weeks, even with Steven Nelson possibly returning for this game, I'm going to give the edge to the Broncos here. The Chiefs have not been a defensive team this year, and I'm worried that the Jamaal Charles Revenge Game will be a possible factor here.

Special Teams

The Chiefs still have the edge here, let's not get carried away.

Coaching

Vane Joseph seems to be a capable coach, and I think he might be a guy we get used to, but I'm going to give the edge to the Chiefs here.

How the Chiefs Can Win

Alex Smith has an excellent game, taking advantage of his mismatch TE, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill's unique speed lets him get past the Broncos CBs. Kareem Hunt is more Orleans Darkwa than Ezekiel Elliot, rushing for 90 yards and collecting 30 or so receiving yards as well. On defense, Marcus Peters goes full Marcus Peters, collecting a pair of picks on errant Trevor Siemian throws, and Steven Nelson's return allows the Chiefs to keep Philip Gaines on the sideline, and lets Terrence Mitchell not be a featured part of the defense.

How the Broncos Can Win

Target Terrence Mitchell and Philip Gaines whenever possible in the passing game, using 3 WR sets to keep the Chiefs in nickel defense. When the Chiefs line up with 2 down linemen, run the ball, preferably to Dee Ford's side. Contain Tyreek Hill, and let your CBs make plays on the Chiefs weak WR corps. Run the ball consistently, taking pressure off of Trevor Siemian, and don't make Trevor throw too many times.

My Prediction

I think that this will be a very, very close game, with two flawed teams going at it in Arrowhead Stadium. I am going to pick the Chiefs to win, but if the Broncos were to pull it off, I would not be surprised. Final score: 28-27

The Rest of the NFL

Teams on Bye

Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans

Thursday Night Fooball

Dolphins (4-2) @ Ravens (3-4): Dolphins 24, Ravens 21

I think that Matt Moore is a definite upgrade at QB for the Dolphins, and this should let an overachieving Dolphins team continue to win against a poor Ravens team. Fantasy play of the Game: Jay Ajayi

Sunday, 8:30am Arrowhead Time

Vikings (5-2) @ Browns (0-7): Vikings 27, Browns 12

Eugh, don't bother waking up for this one. London, I'm so sorry you're getting this game. Fantasy play of the Game: Latavius Murray

Sunday, Noon Arrowhead Time

Chargers (3-4) @ Patriots (5-2): Chargers 24, Patriots 30

Tommy Boy defends his turf for one of the first times this year, and despite a late-game comeback, the Chargers are unable to continue on their hot streak. Fantasy play of the Game: Mike Gillislee

Bears (3-4) @ Saints (5-2): Bears 13, Saints 23

While the Bears have been a fun little surprise at times, I don't think their offense is going to be able to get past the Saints defense (something I didn't think I'd be saying this year) and their D will fall short in stopping the most balanced Saints offense in years. Fantasy play of the Game: Alvin Kamara

Panthers (4-3) @ Buccaneers (3-4): Panthers 24, Bucs 23

A close game between two teams who cannot figure themselves out this season. I like the Panthers due to their defense, but this could go either way. Fantasy play of the Game: Doug Martin

Colts (2-5) @ Bengals (2-4): Colts 7, Bengals 14

Gross. The Colts are headed for a top 5 pick in the draft, and the Bengals aren't far behind. I'm taking the Bengals, but again, this is another toss-up game between bad teams. Fantasy play of the Game: Tyler Boyd

Raiders (3-4) @ Bills (4-2): Raiders 21, Bills 28

I think this has the capacity to be a good game. Missing Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders will stop giving carries to him and let their good RBs get the meaningful touches they deserve. I think the Bills have the better overall team right now, and they continue pushing the Patriots in the AFC East with a win here. Fantasy play of the Game: Jordan Matthews

49ers (0-7) @ Eagles (6-1): 49ers 3, Eagles 37

Bloodbath in Philly. Fantasy play of the Game: Wendell Smallwood

Falcons (3-3) @ Jets (3-4): Falcons 23, Jets 13

The Falcons aren't as good as I thought they were this year, and the Jets are better than anyone thought they would be. Still, I doubt that the Jets will be able to win this one, even at home. Fantasy play of the Game: Tevin Coleman

Sunday, 3:05 Arrowhead Time

Texans (3-3) @ Seahawks (4-2): Texans 21, Seahawks 18

With Cliff Avril out for the season, and contemplating retirement, an aging Seahawk defense loses another piece of what made it so good. In addition, Deshaun Watson has been a stud this year, albeit against some bad defenses. I think Watson pulls it out here. Fantasy play of the Game: Ryan Griffin

Sunday, 3:25 Arrowhead Time

Cowboys (3-3) @ Redskins (4-2): Cowboys 20, Redskins 24

The Cowboys keep in close, but I think the Redskins are just flat better than the Dallas team this year. Fantasy play of the Game: Vernon Davis

Sunday Night Football

Steelers (5-2) @ Lions (3-3): Steelers 27, Lions 26

I think the game will be good, but I don't think the Lions have what it takes to pull off the upset here. I'd love it if they did, though. Fantasy play of the Game: Jesse James

Final Thoughts

It might be time for the Chiefs to call in reinforcements from the free agency market. While the pickings are slim, veteran CB Byron Maxwell was released from the Dolphins, and Darelle Revis is still unemployed. Meanwhile, Dwight Freeney hasn't retired yet, and as he's visiting the Seahawks, might be interested in one last ride. A vet pass-rusher might help out, although I'm not sure if he'd be more effective than Tamba Hali coming off the PUP. Anyway, let's hope this week is kinder to us.

The Chiefs are one the warpath, enjoy the games.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.