When: Sunday, Oct. 20
Time: 3:25 PM, CT
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
TV Broadcast: CBS (3:25 PM CT): Jim Nantz, Phil Simms., commentators. NFL Red Zone; DirecTV – 715.
Radio Broadcast: Over 60 radio stations on the Chiefs Radio Network; Mitch Holthus, Len Dawson, Kendall Gammon, commentators. Westwood One Radio: Tom McCarthy, Rod Woodson. Chiefs Spanish Radio: La Gran D (1340 AM); Play-by-Play: Enrique Morales, Color Commentator: Oscar Monterroso, Sideline Reporter: Ricardo Soto.
SIRIUS: 113 (Hou.), 86 (KC). XM: 86 (KC).
The Kansas City Chiefs, now 6-0 after beating the Oakland Raiders last Sunday, once again proved that you can win in the NFL with breathtaking defense, solid special teams play, and an offense that may be stuck in neutral but at least isn’t going backwards.
Oh … and having 75,000 crazed fans in red setting a new world record for loudest outdoor stadium doesn’t hurt either!
Old-timers who were in attendance at Arrowhead for the Raiders game marveled at how it had recaptured the magic the stadium used to hold. You know, like 10 years ago when nobody ever won in Kansas City? And by “old-timer” I’m talking about anyone over the age of 20 who remembers going to see Trent Green, Priest Holmes, and Tony Gonzalez in the early 2000’s.
However, that fan base was cheering done for the record-setting offense the Chiefs were running under Dick Vermeil that put fantasy football nerds into a catatonic state with all the points they scored. It was loud, but not … LOUD!!!!!
REAL old-timers who regularly cheered Derrick Thomas, Neil Smith, Dan Saleamua, Kevin Ross and others play in the late 80’s to the mid-90’s during the Marty Schottenheimer era remember the stadium-rocking screams that helped those defenses set records that still haven’t been broken. Well, at least not yet.
Sunday saw the return of the defensive cheering that is almost a primal force which intimidates opponents, causes false starts and delay of game penalties by the bushel, and leaves the Chiefs Nation in a catatonic state for the remainder of Sunday trying to recover.
While free-wheeling offense is fun, teams that play the kind of defense the Chiefs are playing right now make NFL fans dig deep for that little extra to help Hali or Houston get sacks, DJ to make tackles for losses, or Berry, Cooper, and Demps to intercept passes.
That is the kind of screaming that literally comes from the gut and at some point, almost becomes a religious experience. And, if the Chiefs want to get to 7-0 by defeating the visiting Houston Texans, they will need the fans to repeat last week’s performance.
Before the season began, the Texans were a sexy pick to make the AFC Championship Game this year. Their roster is packed with Pro Bowl caliber players on both sides of the ball, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in J.J. Watt, and head coach Gary Kubiak seemingly had enough experience to make good decisions most of the time. He might not be Vince Lombardi, but he wasn’t Rich Kotite either. (Google that kiddies, if you want to know more.)
This is an extraordinarily dangerous game for the Chiefs because if Houston doesn’t turn the ball over, they have the kind of offense that can put points on the scoreboard. And their defense is good enough to shut anyone down. Let’s be real, it won’t take much to shut the Chiefs offense down right now.
Here are three things Chiefs fans should be watching for during Sunday’s game if the Chiefs are going to improve to 6-0:
Bob Sutton Needs To Channel His Inner-Nigel Tufnel: If the Raiders game was an example of Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton’s desire to turn the defensive pressure dial up to 10, then this week he needs to follow the example of legendary rocker, Nigel Tufnel, of Spinal Tap, and turn it up to 11. With Houston QB Matt Schaub hurt, head coach Gary Kubiak has bypassed veteran back-up TJ Yates for former college phenom, Case Keenum, who will be making his first career start. Chiefs fans have already seen veteran QBs, Eli Manning and to a lesser extent Tony Romo, get flummoxed by the atmosphere at Arrowhead, as well as Terrelle Pryor melt down in the fourth quarter. Sutton needs to blitz Keenum from the moment the kid steps off the bus. Could the Chiefs get beat on a play or two? Maybe. But chances are by the fourth quarter, Keenum will be reminiscing about how nice it was to play in college at Houston.
Chiefs need to get three turnovers or more: The Chiefs currently lead the NFL with a +12 turnover ratio, while Houston ranks 31st at -12. Only the New York Giants have turned the ball over more than the Texans. The Texans still have one of the league’s best defenses despite the problems they are having, so KC probably won’t be running up and down the field. It is vital to get a couple of short fields and get an easy score or two. Of course, the Texans have set a dubious NFL record by throwing a pick-six for a touchdown in five straight games, and that would be helpful too.
Keep Arian Foster, J.J. Watt, and Andre Johnson from going off: The Texans are a talented team, but they are in a big-time slump and scuffling. Well, scuffling outside of these three uber-talented players who can single-handedly take over a game and bring home a win for Houston. Foster is one of the two or three running backs in the league that is on par with Jamaal Charles, while Johnson at 50% is better than all of the Chiefs receivers combined. Unfortunately, Johnson is much healthier than 50% and could have one of those 10-catch, 200 yard, multi-TD games even with Keenum at QB. And J.J. Watt is the best defensive player the Chiefs will line up against all year – even more dominant than Von Miller of the Broncos. Watt could easily knock Alex Smith into next week, and keep Jamaal Charles in check. Throw in linebacker Brian Cushing who is a tackling machine, and the Chiefs will have their hands full on both sides of the ball. Keep Foster under 100 total yards, Johnson under 100 yards receiving, and Watt to one sack or less and things should turn out OK for the Chiefs.
Prediction: Does the clock strike midnight on the Chiefs Cinderella undefeated season this week? Chiefs fans need to prepare for a frustrating day on offense and another close game midway through the third quarter before the Texans give up a big play on special teams and a turnover or two on offense and the Chiefs go into the last five minutes of the game running out the clock.
Score: Chiefs – 20, Texans – 16.
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