Tag Archives: Kansas City Chiefs

Quit Being Lazy Trent Dilfer

Some people just blow my minds with their ignorance, stupidity, or laziness. Trent Dilfer, you’ve managed to once again personify what makes the “Worldwide leader” a joke so often.

Seriously, you’re doubting the Falcons because you compare them to the 2003 Kansas City Chiefs? If you want to doubt them, fine. But at least try to find something factual, relevant, and accurate to base your belief on.
Sure, the Chiefs had a great regular season and got beat in the first round. But you know what? A lot of teams have done that in NFL history. So let’s compare the Falcons to all of them. Or, better yet, let’s compare the Falcons to all the teams who had good regular season and who went on to have deep January playoff runs. The Falcons could compare to all such teams, as your criteria for comparison is pretty much that they were football teams who won a lot of regular season games.

The Chiefs had an abysmal defense that year. And I don’t mean just a merely mediocre defense, but absolutely horrible. They were the 25th best defense of the year, however, they had the next to last ranked run defense in 2003. It was atrocious.

In general, teams that make deep playoff runs play good run defense. You can escape shoddy pass defense, but if you can’t stop the run, you generally don’t stand a chance of playing late into January. If you can, you can mask other defensive deficiencies, especially if you have a good offense that doesn’t turn the ball over.

So heading into the 2003 season playoffs, the Chiefs biggest weakness was a HUGE weakness. Red flags were up everywhere.

Beyond just the huge red flag of an absolutely worthless run defense, Kansas City had not exactly come into the post-season on a high note. They started the year 9-0, but finished it 4-3. The Chiefs spent the 2003 season losing 3 of their last 4 road games, including the last two by 18 points and 25 points.

A sign of a team ready to compete in January is a team that can win on the road. Winning on the road consistently, against anyone, is the sign of a contending team. The Chiefs were not only not winning on the road, in their final two outings they weren’t even competitive.

They allowed 159 or more rushing yards in 5 of their last 7 games, including three games of allowing 200 yards on the ground.

So the thought of the Chiefs losing their first playoff game should not have been unheard of, or thought to be crazy. It especially should have been deemed less insane if this defensively challenged team were to face someone with an offense equally as explosive as theirs, like, say, the Colts.

The result, a game with no punts that the Chiefs lost. If their lousy defense can get one stop somewhere along the way, they win the game. However, when your defense was as lousy as theirs, playing an offense like the Colts, it’s not shocking.

Now compare that team to the Falcons.

That Atlanta defense, overall, has been rather medicore, ranking 16th. However, in terms of points allowed, they’ve allowed the 7th fewest. But more importantly, their run defense has been a top ten unit. Atlanta can, and often does, stop the run. The Chiefs couldn’t have contained this year’s Packers running game.

Atlanta has also closed out the year winning 8 straight games, and it would take a collapse of epic proportions to not wind up winning 9 of their last 10.

They’ve also gone 6-2 on the road this year, losing in overtime to a pretty dadgum good Steelers team, and a loss in Philadelphia. They’ve endured a stretch of four road games in five weeks, and simply won all five games, by an average of 12 points.

So yeah, these two teams are just mirror images of each other. Nice call Trent. Just laziness from an “analyst” who wanted to find something controversial to say, and find some way to back it up. Perhaps he and Skip Bayless should do lunch.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Falcons, NFL, Sports

How the AFC Playoff Race is Shaping Up

So we’ve reached the 3/4 mark of the NFL season, and the picture of the 2010 NFL season is starting to come into focus and become a lot clearer.

The New England Patriots are very good, scary good even, especially on offense. In fact, their offense is performing at a level that equals that of the historically great 2007 Patriots offense, and it’s doing it with a rag-tag collection of football players. I don’t think there can be an argument against Tom Brady as the MVP at this point.

The Patriots defense is less than stellar, and the secondary has struggled mightily this year. However, getting home field advantage int the playoffs might matter as much to New England as it will any team in football. Forcing teams to play outside in Foxboro in January will do more to upgrade this pass defense than anything short of adding Darrelle Revis or Champ Bailey.

Newsflash, Mark Sanchez is not a very good quarterback. He’s not anywhere remotely close to the level of a Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco when it comes to great young quarterbacks in this league. As a matter of fact, if you really look at it, Sanchez isn’t performing better than any of the top young quarterback prospects of the 2008 and 2009 drafts. Even Chad Henne is playing better football this year. If you want one reason the Jets are over-hyped, it starts with their over-hyped quarterback.

Speaking of over-hyped, I think it’s a term that also applies to the Jets secondary. Their pass defense is only 17th in the NFL right now, and against number one receivers they are a pedestrian 13th. For a team who supposedly has the best shut down corner in the NFL, you’d expect better.

The theme of this Jets team is clearly a team that is more about brash, arrogant boasting, and hyped superstars than it is about being a truly great football team. They are now destined to begin the playoffs on the road. The good thing for the Jets is that the AFC’s 4th seed won’t pose a too imposing challenge. However, if they get to round two, on the road, I don’t think the Jets have a chance against any of the three big dogs in the conference. And no, after Monday night, the Jets no longer belong in the conversation regarding the AFC’s elite.

With games left at Chicago and Pittsburgh, the Jets could easily wind up with five losses and as just the sixth seed in the AFC and forced to likely start the playoffs potentially in Kansas City. As of right now, they aren’t in any real danger of missing the playoffs. However, if there is a hangover from the embarrassing showing against the Patriots this upcoming Sunday against the Dolphins and the Jets lose this game, things could get testy in New York, and this hype machine is going to have to fight for its playoff life with two brutal road games looming.

The Miami Dolphins loss last weekend to Cleveland did serious damages to their playoff hopes, in fact, it may have ruined them. The Phins have a favorable schedule in the closing month with Buffalo and Detroit both coming to South Florida before they head north to play a Patriots team that will likely be resting their starters.

If, and that’s a huge if, Miami can beat the Jets, the combination of the win, and the two remaining schedules, will at least put some pressure on the Jets, and give Miami a fighting chance. The Dolphins 6-6 record is a perfect microcosm of their season. They excel at nothing, and yet, aren’t particularly bad at any one phase of the game.

In other words, they’ve lacked a significant play maker to transform this team from mediocre to good. They thought that they obtained such a player in Brandon Marshall, but the reality of the situation is that Marshall hasn’t even performed like a legit NFL starting receiver this year. Both Bo Hartline and Devon Bess have outplayed him this year. If Miami fans want somewhere to point blame for their failure to take the next step this year, they need look no farther than Marshall. Despite being thrown at 100 times this year, Marshall has only pulled in 58 passes, and just one touchdown.

There are no questions though as to whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens still belong in the conversation. It’s just unfortunate that one of them will have to start the playoffs on the road, and that likely will be Baltimore. Of course, this wasn’t a problem for the Ravens last year as they marched right into New England and put a whipping on the Patriots.

Baltimore’s schedule sets up favorably, so they should be able to get back past the Jets and into the 5th spot in the conference, which could be huge. It’s likely the 4 seed from the AFC will be the AFC South winner, which would mean Jacksonville or an injury depleted Colts team.

The Steelers would absolutely rather New England have to come to their building in January, but it doesn’t appear that will be the case. The Steelers defense is good enough though to go to Foxboro and beat the Patriots. They also have the weapons on offense to take advantage of New England’s secondary. If anyone seems likely ┬ápotentially take down New England, it’s these Steelers. Winning the game against Baltimore to get themselves a top two seed was paramount, they will need all hands on deck to get by New England. Don’t be shocked though if they see Baltimore in the 2nd round, and don’t be shocked if they don’t survive it this time around.

The Chargers loss last week did wonders for the Kansas City Chiefs and their bid for the playoffs. If I need to remind you, remember I pegged this Chiefs team as my sleeper team in the NFL over the summer. Unless the Chiefs completely fall asleep at the wheel now, they are going to be hosting a playoff game in about a month.

The problem for the Chiefs is that they don’t play good enough defense and special teams to really be considered a threat to make a post-season run. Stopping people and winning the field position battle is how you win in January in the NFL, and the Chiefs just aren’t good enough in those phases of the game.

However, if Kansas City can draw the Jets in the first round, they stand an excellent chance of getting out of round one. You know Thomas Jones would be extra motivated to take on the Jets, and you’ve got to like the chances of Brandon Flowers severely limiting Santonio Holmes impact for the Jets.

The Chiefs travel to San Diego on Sunday to play the Chargers, a victory will pretty much eliminate the Chargers from the division and playoff race. The team who beat San Diego last week, Oakland will be traveling to Jacksonville in a weekend that sets itself up as a potential elimination weekend in the AFC West.

That Oakland game with Jacksonville could be extremely big. A Raiders victory and the door in the AFC South gets swung wide open for everyone in that division to have a chance to waltz right in. It also puts the Raiders in position to continue to apply pressure on the Chiefs, who by the time their game gets to the 2nd half will know if the Raiders have won or not.

It’s very possible the three teams in the west enter the last three games of the season with just one game between them all. If that’s the case, advantage San Diego. The Chargers get San Francisco, Denver and Cincinnati to close the year. A win over Kansas City, and it seems another December charge from the Chargers will be inevitable. With Oakland or Kansas City guaranteed to lose (barring a tie) one more time, suddenly San Diego might become the favorite to win this division after all. Yes, this week is an enormous week in the AFC West.

The Jaguars seem to be sitting rather pretty in the AFC South at the moment. Even though they play at Indianapolis in two weeks, the schedule absolutely favors the Jaguars and their playoff push. They get the aforementioned Raiders at home this week, and then close the season with a game at home against the hapless Redskins and on the road against a Texans team that will likely be playing for a coach on the way out.

The way to beat Jacksonville is to make them turn the ball over, something the Oakland Raiders absolutely do not do. In fact, only the Broncos force fewer turnovers per drive than the Raiders do. If you’re a Jaguar fan, you’ve got to like what you’ve got coming up. But enjoy the finish of the regular season and the likely division title Jaguar fans, because in the playoffs, the potential first round match-ups do not at all favor Jacksonville. It doesn’t matter whether it is Baltimore or New York, the Jaguars don’t match up favorably with either. Their hope at this point to win a game in the playoffs has to be a New York Jets collapse and perhaps the San Diego Chargers sneaking in.

With the Colts at 6-6, and severely hampered by injuries, it may be too much to ask for the Colts to win the last four games and finish 10-6, meaning Jacksonville needs to just find two wins to get to 9 and likely ensure at least a tie with the Colts. Of course, if the Jaguars win their next two games, the division will be over.

You would think the Colts have to feel good about the fact that they do get to play the absolutely inept Titans twice in the seasons final four games, but it might not be all roses. Even if they sweep the Titans, for one, that only puts them at eight wins. More importantly though, the Titans may not be a match-up that the Colts have the upper hand in.

The Titans are outstanding on special teams and play some pretty good defense. The Colts are the second worst team in the league on special teams, and the offense has become a turnover machine in recent weeks. That combination is exactly the kind of mixture that will get you beat by Jeff Fisher coached team, even if Rusty Smith is playing quarterback.

The Titans, with three division games left, still have a mathematical chance to work their way back into the playoffs. What this team wouldn’t do for healthy, and quality play at quarterback right now. With it, it wouldn’t be that far fetched to see the Titans winning their next two games at home, and being 7-7 in position to put major pressure on Jacksonville and Indianapolis in the division. Unfortunately, the smoke and mirrors of Rusty Smith at quarterback might win a game or two here down the stretch, it probably just won’t be enough. However, with two left with the Colts, they can absolutely ruin the Colts rein in the AFC South.

At this point in the season, it just looks to be too much for the Colts to get their way into the playoffs, and you can see it even in Peyton Manning’s play lately. He’s still one of the games best quarterbacks, but his value is perhaps inflated a bit this year because of the complete lack of running game. It should be noted, that on a per play basis, Manning hasn’t been among the league’s top ten quarterbacks this year. Obviously, the supporting cast around him factors heavily into this, but it’s something that can’t be ignored, and this is with a Colts offensive line that is the best in the league still at protecting the quarterback.

You can’t rule out the Houston Texans, yet. However, by next Tuesday morning you likely can. Their game with Baltimore next Monday night is absolutely huge. It’s quite possibly the most important game in Gary Kubiak’s coaching career. A loss, the playoffs are gone, and so likely is Kubiak at the end of the year.

In fact, next week’s game with Baltimore can severely alter the playoff landscape. A Baltimore loss would be their fifth, suddenly opening up the door for any number of teams still at the six loss mark with three games to play in the season. Not only that, it keeps Houston very much alive in the AFC south race, and with a home game with Jacksonville in week 17 looming, the pressure will get seriously turned up on Jacksonville to not slip up prior to that tilt.

However, a loss that eliminates Houston puts this as a team who is probably going to be very aware they are playing for a lame duck coach, with little to play for. That approach will probably lend itself to the Texans effort dwindling on a week by week basis, and that could be very important for the Jaguars as they will be trying to wrap up a playoff berth at the seasons ends against the Texans.

The Texans offense has been lethal this year, performing at a pace that’s not far removed from being one of the ten best offensive teams of the past 18 years. Unfortunately for Houston, their defense is historically even worse, as it still has a chance to be the worst defense the NFL has seen in that same time span. If the Texans defense had even just been bad, and not historically bad, the AFC South would likely be getting wrapped up in the next two weeks by the Texans. Instead, a regime change could be in place.

Leave a comment

Filed under NFL, Sports

Notes From Football Outsiders Week 2 Ratings

The Packers and Falcons have been, overall, the two best teams in the league over the course of two weeks. That’s really not surprising, considering how utterly dominant both were last week in easy victories. As the year goes on, this may or may not hold true, but I thought the numbers from the first two weeks might help tell us which 2-0 teams are for real, and which 0-2 teams should be just fine.

Green Bay is just about everybody’s darling, and it’s tough to argue with what they’ve done so far this year. The only chink in the armor so far has been their run defense, but that’s largely due to Michael Vick and Michael Vick alone, coming on in the 2nd half against them. So I won’t hold that too much against them (though next to last in the league never looks good). A lot of people picked Green Bay to be a legit Super Bowl contender, and there’s been nothing so far to indicate those prognostications were wrong.

The Falcons being number two might come as a surprise, except when you look at what that defense did to Tennessee, and they way the Steelers won on the road in Nashville, that Pittsburgh loss looks less and less disappointing. The Birds are 6th in offense, and 7th in both defense and special teams. The Falcons offensive ranking definitely benefits when its adjusted for opponent, and with only two opponents played so far, it will take a few weeks before this really rounds into shape. Early returns though are the Duntae Robinson signing to be worth it. The Falcons pass defense has been really good. The run defense is pretty far down the list, but that is basically due to two runs for touchdowns of 130 plus total yards.

What might be surprising is that Tampa is 3rd right now, benefiting from a strong early season defensive showing. They sure will get a great test this week with Pittsburgh. They’ve only beaten Cleveland and Carolina, and neither overly impressive. Still though, this speaks well for this teams chance to be competitive. What’s disconcerting is their offensive line. It’s been average at best, in pass protection, and absolutely horrible when it comes to the ground game. Over 1/4 of their running plays have been stopped at, or behind the line of scrimmage. The good news is they were the last place team in the South a year ago, and we know how that goes.

The AFC East, as expected, looks brutal. Miami, the Jets, and Patriots all come across in the top ten. I’m really looking forward to the Jets/Dolphins game this week. Miami could send a real statement by getting off to a 3-0 start, and if that’s the case, the Jets really can’t afford to be 1-2. Without Revis to put on Marshall, things could get interesting.

Houston has been catching everyone’s eye, and rightfully so. But they only come in at tenth, due to the fact that their defense has arguably been the worst in football so far this year. Manning and McNabb have both shredded them (interesting how far down the rankings Houston’s pass defense is, and how much Atlanta’s has risen). The Texans surely will remain and compete thanks to that offense that averages nearly a field goal per drive. But unless that defense gets shored up, can we really expect them to challenge for much more?

The Seahawks are playing good defense, and really good special teams. Golden Tate could also be used more offensively to provide a boost there. Do not at all rule them out of the post-season, especially since the 49ers seem dependent on beating themselves every way possible.

Pittsburgh and Tennessee are 1 and 2 defensively, and that’s not a surprise, at all. The Steelers run defense has been absolutely sick this year, whereas the Titans pass defense has been tops in the NFL. Unfortunately, only the Bills average fewer yards per drive than these two. No team in football has a worse successful drive rate than the Steelers, and nobody in the league scores fewer touchdowns per drive. The difference between those two teams is that the Steelers know good quarterback play is on the horizon. The Titans? Not so much. Pittsburgh might be scary, scary good this season.

Baltimore’s offense has got to get it together. They are next to last in points per drive, and 2nd to last in terms of how often they turn the ball over per drive. Their defense is good, but it’s not good enough to make up for that kind of horrible production, as we saw against Cincinnati. If their defense can’t wreak absolute havoc and force turnovers, they might be in trouble. Joe Flacco has seemingly taken several steps back. Perhaps it is just an apparition, and he’ll right the ship. He better, because they are going to have a difficult time beating teams who take care of the football if they don’t.

The Chiefs have been mid-pack on offense and defense. It’s special teams where they’ve shined, and it’s where they will have to continue to shine to probably seriously contend for a playoff spot. If Matt Cassell could pick his play up a bit, that would go a long way to making this team more legit. The running game is solid, but would be helped if there was something resembling a threat via the passing attack.

The Eagles are probably in more trouble than people are willing to say, even with Vick and his talents under center. The defense has been terrible, and it’s been bad against the run and pass. The offensive line is in shambles. A bad defense and bad offensive line means bad things. The offensive line appears to be faring better in run blocking, but that’s rather misleading. A ton of the Eagles rushing yards have come in the open field, and have been courtesy of runs of 10+ yards. The line hasn’t exactly done a good job of moving defensive lines off the ball. And with pass protection, well, no team has been worse.

Cowboy fans need not panic. They may be 0-2, but they still rank mid-pack, and they have clearly played poorly these first two games. This team still oozes with the potential to be very good. The Cowboys would be better served to run the ball more. They do it well, and if they did, they could increase the number of explosive plays in the running game (they do have Felix Jones back there), as they rank near the bottom of the league. Only the Saints have been less effective at making plays out in the open field (and I find it shocking that teams with Reggie Bush and Felix Jones rank at the bottom of this category). Defensively there could still be some concern with Dallas, it’s almost in the bottom fourth, and it’s largely due to ineffective pass defense. If their pass rush can’t get there, quarterbacks are having way too much fun against this secondary.

The Saints may be 2-0 right now, but they have not at all done it in the impressive manner with which they played last year. The offense has been good, but not spectacular, and just lost Reggie Bush (who I contend is still overrated, but that’s for another day). The defense though has had plenty of problems. Did you see San Francisco march all over them Monday night? This Falcons team is going to provide them a real test. The Saints seem to be getting knocked around a bit more, on both sides of the ball. Their run defense ranks 30th. On the other side of the line of scrimmage, In short yardage situations, the running game has been almost useless, converting on just 33% of their attempts. That’s bad.

Minnesota is 0-2 for a reason. Their offense stinks. Their defense stinks. And their special teams are just average. 16th in yards per drive, but only 29th in points per drive tells of a team who can’t put the ball in the endzone in the redzone. The good thing for the offense, is Sidney Rice, healthy, can definitely fix what ails them. The passing game has been downright terrible, and the offensive line isn’t completely to blame. On the other side of the ball, the pass defense has been pretty bad too. There’s still hope for this team, however, 0-2 Dallas looks in much better shape.

I don’t care what Donovan McNabb does, the Redskins defense better get better, and in a hurry. It’s bad all the way around. Granted, they did face the Texans offense, but they did so with a 17 point second half lead that they squandered. Yeah, the defense in D.C. is bad. Sure, the Skins are one 4th down stop away from being 2-0, but they are also some common sense by the Cowboys away from being 0-2. Don’t get your hopes up Redskins fans.

The Lions are indeed 0-2, but they’ve had a chance to win both their games, and rightfully won their opener against the Bears, but that’s neither here nor there. What’s a good sign for them is that they aren’t in the bottom fourth of either offense or defense. That’s improvement. The special teams are solid. This team isn’t going to the playoffs, but everyone who plays them better be ready to fight for 60 minutes. Give them one more off-season to address the offensive line (which is the worst run blocking line in the league thus far), and they may be okay.

Shocker, tell me if you heard this before. The Raiders are in the bottom 5 of the league, again. The offense is once against worthless, and the blame doesn’t go all on the offensive line. The running game has been solid, and the pass protection, while nothing to write home about, hasn’t been as bad as some. The change to Gradkowski definitely sparked some life into the offense. It will be interesting to see how they play the next couple of weeks. If only they had some wide receivers. And, well, maybe a run defense.

The Cardinals fall from grace is going to be a very, very rough one. Their quarterback situation is an absolute mess, and their special teams are horrible. Bad field position with a struggling quarterback is a bad, bad thing.

And surprise, surprise, the Bills are the worst team in football, and it’s a spot they will probably occupy all season long.

Leave a comment

Filed under NFL, Sports

Chiefs A Threat For A Turnaround?

When asked off the top of my head to name my biggest turnaround team, with no time to really mull it over, the Chiefs are who I came up with.

Aside from a talent aspect, most good teams start up top, and let’s face it, I think the Chiefs are in good shape there with Pioli running things.

The coaching staff Todd Haley has assembled is almost a who’s who. Two pretty big architects as assistants in some Super Bowl teams, though not nearly as successful in their head coaching endeavors, will be part of the Chiefs staff with Charlie Weiss and Romeo Crennell. If I’m not mistaken, Gary Gibbs, Maurice Carthon and Emmett Thomas are all also apart of this staff. Not a bad assembly of coaching talent, and in this league, that can be a huge difference.

The Chiefs biggest weakness, to me, is going to be up front on defense. If Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson can be what they were supposed to be when drafted, or just come relatively close, I think it changes the entire outlook of this team. I think Eric Berry becomes a difference maker in the secondary, and the linebacking corps, while not great, I think is solid. I think it was hurt by an under-performing defensive front a year ago. I also think that contributed to some problems in the secondary.

Offensively the line gelled once Jamaal Charles became THE guy. Now they have Thomas Jones to spell him, a proven back, who should reap the benefits of that improved line play. Charles is explosive, and I see him having another big year.

The receivers have some questions, but this is where Dexter McCluster, in my opinion, makes the biggest difference. He might have been listed as a running back, but I think he’ll line up everywhere, and they are going to just find ways to put the ball in his hands, and when that happens, big things will happen. This should ease some of the pressure of Dwayne Bowe, who has the potential to be a really good receiver.

Quarterback is still a quandary. Matt Cassell is the third highest paid quarterback in the league this year, so they will give him every chance to prove it, or earn some of it. He, in the right situation, can thrive. I think the pieces surrounding him this year are better suited to provide that situation, especially the coaching staff, and that new toy in in McCluster. Adding Ryan Lilja to the offensive line doesn’t do anything to hurt matters either.

Their return game could be deadly, as Javier Arenas, McCluster, and Berry will all vie for the honors of making game-breaking special teams plays.

I just think that with Oakland being Oakland, Denver not sure where exactly they are going, at least in my view, and San Diego losing a lot of talent and having the potential loss of Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson, not to mention Norv Turner still being in charge, there is a potential window for the Chiefs to slip thru this year, and if not this season, certainly in 2011.

Leave a comment

Filed under NFL