Into the Home Stretch for the Kansas City Chiefs
Thanksgiving weekend is past and the NFL is into the home stretch.
The Kansas City Chiefs pick up the schedule after Thanksgiving and their bye week with a visit to Oakland. It’s the AFC’s best vs. the AFC’s worst. We'll have the play by play Sunday on 97.9 KICK FM with the Chiefs Fox Football Radio Network. The Chiefs enter the home stretch at 9-2. And they're in a near ideal position. ESPN’s Playoff Machine for 2018 is active. That lets you go game by game through the remaining schedule and get a sense of how the playoff picture might shake out. It appears to me that a win for the Chiefs Sunday in Oakland locks down a playoff berth. A division title is very probable and locking down the #1 seed in the AFC is very do-able too.
For starters, the schedule is Chiefs-friendly. Home and home games with the Raiders, Baltimore and the LA Chargers also visit Arrowhead. The Chiefs also have a road game at Seattle. The Chargers still have a shot at the AFC West, but to pull that off, they need a win on a Thursday night in Arrowhead and some help. The Bolts get a short week for that one and they have to travel for an outdoor night game in Kansas City. And the Chargers still have Philip Rivers at quarterback. His calling card through his career is the game-- and occasionally season killing-- interception. Rivers threw the ’17 Chargers season away on a cold night at Arrowhead. He threw the Chargers out of the season opener against the Chiefs out in Carson back in September. A really ugly interception in a home game with Denver let the Broncos out of a 19-7 hole a couple weeks ago and did much to fuel a Bronco come-from-behind win. Rivers will probably have another bad night at Arrowhead on the 13th.
In addition to the game in Oakland Sunday, the Chiefs make a trip to Seattle on December 23rd. This is 2018, not 2013. The Legion of Boom has largely been disbanded. They’ll have trouble with the Chiefs offense. More trouble than Russell Wilson and associates can overcome.
The biggest factor for the Chiefs is continued good health. Very often, that is the difference in January. Injuries told the tale for the Chiefs in '17. A lack of injuries did much to help the Eagles claim the 52nd Lombardi Trophy.
And it woudn't hurt to add Eric Berry back into the secondary for the stretch run and for January. (and February..) Numerous media reports indicate that EB will be back on the practice field this week. Wouldn't surprise me if he's back on the field for the Baltimore game on December 9th.