Though heavily favored in this week 10 battle, Kansas City has a problem before them as they face the defending NFL Most Valuable Player, Cam Newton. With starters Alex Smith, Spencer Ware returning to the offense this week, efficiency is key as the Chiefs defense forced four turnovers that the Nick Foles led offense took little advantage of.
Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin will not play this week after leaving early last week with a groin injury. Pro Bowl pass rusher Justin Houston, who eyed a week 9 return, is questionable to play. While Carolina is a struggling team, they are no stranger to winning games and Kansas City will need all of their pieces if they want to avoid an upset.
Due to match up advantages, Sundays game could go either way. Here are the three things Kansas City needs to do if they want to improve to 7-2:
1. Locate #59
I say this anytime I talk the Carolina Panthers defense. If you don’t track Luke every down you will pay for it. This west coast offense moves quick, but Kuechly is quicker. This passing offense needs to avoid the middle of the field and the run blocking needs to prepare for a bowling ball at middle linebacker.
2. Win Individual Match ups on Defense
The battle this week will be Marcus Peters and E.J. Gaines against Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin. Kansas City loves their man on man coverage, but these are big, physical receivers who may cause chaos if they are left on an island. Peters needs to do what he has been doing all season. A physical presence out wide who will capitalize on one bad throw.
3. Convert on Third Down
Last week, Kansas City converted an atrocious 7 percent of their third down attempts against Jacksonville. I understand injuries can set a team back, but success is not found for teams that cannot convert and keep drives alive. Converting on third down and getting seven points every red zone attempt are crucial to the success as Cam Newton is prone to drop 40 points on teams who keep giving him the football back.
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