This week the 8-3 Kansas City Chiefs face the Atlanta Falcons, the top team in the NFC South. While there is more than one way to skin a cat, these are the three things that are required for the Chiefs to walk away 9-3, further solidifying their chances at post season play.
1. Justin Houston. Eric Berry. Marcus Peters.
With three sacks last week, Houston looked absolutely dominated the right side of the Denver Broncos offensive line. More of the same will be required this week as Matt Ryan is playing at an MVP level. Disrupting that passing attack will be huge.
For those who also enjoyed the chaos last Sunday Night, it seemed like Eric Berry channeled his inner Brian Dawkins laying players out left and right. His ability to tackle in the open field and disrupt the short passing game will be huge, especially against players like Taylor Gabriel who are excellent after the catch. Limiting after the catch opportunities from Gabriel, Freeman, and Coleman will be top priority for this offense.
As for Marcus Peters. We know what his job will be. May God be with you son.
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TNT, T n’T, the dynamite package that is Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. If you want to produce on offense, get these guys the football. Hill is coming off a career performance, but his impact is no surprise to Chiefs Kingdom as he seems to show weekly that he possesses an elite skill set. Kelce will be a big target on 3rd downs, where Kansas City has struggled as of late. Maximizing possessions and scoring points is more important now than ever, as the Atlanta offense is liable to put up 35 points.
3. Control the Tempo
Good teams find ways to run the football. When you need to preserve a lead and drain the clock, the run game has to find success. Spencer Ware is coming off three games of 60 yards or more on an average of 15 carries per game. More will be required from him if this game is close and it could be the difference between 9-3 or 8-4. On the other side of the house, the Falcons have an excellent running duo in Freeman and Coleman. Stopping the run early can lead to Atlanta abandoning the rushing attack, allowing Houston and company to pin their ears back and get at the quarterback.
This is a must win for Kansas City if they want to evaluate where they stand with other playoff contenders and make their claim for the wild card spot. Miami is charging hard and Denver isn’t entirely out of the picture.