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2018 Regular Season
Preview: Cards @ Chiefs

Setting the Stage
KC, led by their productive young QB (Mahomes) leads the AFC West with 8 wins and just 1 defeat. Last week, they had their way with the Browns in a spirited though somewhat one-sided battle..Cards - at 2 & 6 - are "retooling", "rebuilding" or whatever you want to call it - Earlier in the season, the Cardinal brass evidently saw the hand-writing on the wall and decided to give rookie QBOF (Josh Rosen) the benefit of an extra long break-in period. Rosen hasn't exactly set the world on fire, but he has shown directional progress from week to week. Recently, the Cards replaced OC Mike McCoy wiith QBC Byron Leftwich. Meanwhile, the Chiefs continue to "keep on doing what they're doing."


Chiefs' 's Last Game
The Chiefs outscored the Cleveland Browns 37 - 21. A few lkey stats issued by the KC website: Cheifs were penalized 11 times (vs. 4 for the Browns). They packed up 499 Net Offensive Yards (vs. 388 by the Browns). Time of Possession was 29:09 (vs 30:51 for Cleve).

(Note - NFL is no longer posting play by play logs in a timely manner - so the following is more of a narrative recap of quarter by quarter highlights.

First Quarter
K Hunt took a pass from Mahomes and took it 50-yds for a TD (Butker kick). Chiefs 7 - Cleve 0.

Joseph kicked a 51-yd FG. Chiefs 7 - Cleve 3.

First Quarter Score: Chiefs 7 - Cleve 3.


Second Quarter
Kelce - 11 yd TD pass from Mahomes (Butker kick) Chiefs 14 - Cleve 3.

Chubb - 3 yd TD run (2 pt conv failed). Chiefs 14 - Cleve 9

Hunt 0 1 yd TD run (Butker kick). Chiefs 21 - Cleve 9

D Johnson - 19-yd TD pass from Mayfield (2-pt conv failed). Chiefs 21 - Cleve 15

Second Quarter Score: Chiefs 21 - Cleve 15


Third Quarter
Kelce - 13 yd TD pass from Mahones (Butker kick). Chiefs 28 - Cleve 15

Hunt - 10 yd TD run (kick failed). Chiefs 34 - Cleve 15

Third Quarter Score: Chiefs 34 - Cleve 15

Fourth Quarter
D Johnsn - TD pass from Mayfield (2 pt cnv failed. Chiefs 34 - Cleve 21

Butker - 39 yd FG. Chiefs 37 - Cleve 21

Final Score: Chiefs 37 - Cleve 21


Team Stats to Date

First Downs - KC 220 - Opp 236

3rd Down Conversions - KC 46/95 - Opp 27/107

Off Yards - LA 3901 - Opp 3847

Rush Yds = KC 1052 - Opp 1123

Rush YPC - KC 4.7 - Opp 5.2

Pass Att - KC 317 - Opp 380

Pass Compl - KC 210 - Opp 243

Intercepted. - KC 7 - Opp 9

Sacks By - KC 26 - Opp 12

TD's - KC 26 - Opp 12 (Passing TD's - KC 29 / Opp 15)

Turnover Ratio +5

Chiefs in a Nutshell
In short" a reliable and explosive offense and a playmaking defense that can be scored-on.
Premier receiving threats are their TE (Kelce and WR Hill). K Hunt is their chief (pardon the pun) threat at RB. Their young QB (Mahomes) has sick TD totals. KC is outsacking their opponents 26 to 12. Major pass rushing threat is their ROLB Ford (followed by Jones, Bailey and Houston). Scary stat is "3rd Down Conversions" (KC offense converted 46 of 95 opportunities compared to 27 orf 107 by their opponents - that's roughly KC 48% vs Opponents 25%).


PLAYER STATISTICS TO DATE

Passing ....Mahomes - 210 for 317 - 2901 YPC...66.3%...9.2 YPC...29 TD's...7 Int...Rating: 116.7

Rushing....Hunt - 151 for 683...4.5 YPC...7 TDs
..................Mahomes - 32 for 137...4.3 YPC...2 TDs.
                       
Receiving
.................Kelce - 51 for 741...14.5 YPC...6 TDs
.................Hill - 48 for 774...16.1 YPC...7 TDs
................Watkins - 39 for 515...13.2 YPC...3 TDs
................Hunt - 21 for 312...14.9 YPC...6 TDs

Tackles...Hitchens - 79
...............Parker - 47
...............Fuller - 45
...............Nelson - 38
..............Murray - 39

Sacks.....Ford - 8
...............C Jones - 5
...............Bailey - 4
...............Houston 3

Interceptions......Nelson 2
...........................Parker 2



Chiefs' Offense

Quarterbacks
QB ..15 Mahomes...04 Henne

Running Backs
RB.....27 Hunt...32 Ware..26 D Williams...31 D Williams
FB....42 Sherman

Wide Receivers
WR1....10 T Hill...11 D Robinson
WR2 ...14 Watkins...17 Conley...19 Kemp

Tight Ends
TE......87 Klece...84 D Harris...82 Yelder

Offensive Line
LT.......72 Fisher
LG    ..75 Erving...66 McKenzie
OC    .61 Morse..62 Reiter...67 J Murray
RG.....77 Wylie...73 Allen
RT    ..71 Schwartz

Cardinal Defense

Defensive Interior Line
DE - 44 Golden, 91 Mayowa
DT - 98 Peters, 90 Nkemdiche, 72 Pierre, G Smith
NT - 95 Gunter, 72 Pierre
DE- 55 C Jones, 59 Zach Moore

Linebackers
SAM - 43 Reddick, 92 Gardeck, xx J Walker
MLB - 57 Bynes, 47 Zeke Turner
WILL - 20 Bucannon, 51 Hodges

Defensive Backs
LCB - 21 Peterson, 26 B Williams
RCB - 23 Benwikere, 28 J Taylor
SS - 36 Baker, 30 Ford, 35 Pleasant
FS - 41 Bethea, 38 Boston
, 40 Tillman*


Matchup: KC Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Mahomes has been posting sick numbers (28 TDs/7 Ints) thus far. His favorite target is his TE Kelce (51 catches - 741 total receiving yards -14.5 YPC). Hill's numbers (48 catches/ 774 total yards/16.1 YPC) are almost as gaudy. Mahomes has pretty good mobility - second leading Chiefs' ground gainer (4.3 YPC).

Chiefs' pass blockers have only allowed Mahomes to be sacked 12 times. Mahomes has done a good job spreading around the goodies - (Kelce, Hill Watkins and Hunt have scored 6, 7, 3 and 6 receiving TDs).

Defensively, the Cards' pass rush - now that Golden is available pretty much full-time - has returned to its old "sack-happy" self. Chandler Jones leads the team in sacks but, truth be told, any of the starters on the Front 7 is capable of putting the QB on his back. (Cards were relentless in their most recent game vs. the Niners - putting pressure on Beathard literally play after play).

In the secondary, they continue to get All Pro productiom from Peterson and solid safety play from the "Killer Bees" (Bethea, Boston and Baker). Cards have been so-so at the other CB spot - rotating J Taylor and Benwireke. Bubba Baker is quietly emerging as the deserved heir to Tyrann Mathieu's CB/S role.

Key Matchups: Kelce vs. Boston...Peterson vs. Hill...Bynes vs Mahomes. Chiefs' OL vs C Jones, Golden & Nkemdiche


Matchup: KC Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
KC gives up more ground yards than it generates. Their bell-cow is Kareem Hunt (5-11 216) who averages 4.7 YPC and is a TD-machine (with 7 rushing and 6 receiving TD's).)

Key Matchups: .KC OL vs. Cardinal Front 7. Cards could assign Buccannon or B Baker to "spy" on Hunt


Cardinal Offense

Quarterbacks
03 Rosen, 07 Glennon

Running Back
23 D Johnson, 29 Edmonds, 22 Logan, 32 Coleman

Wide Receivers
WR - 11 Fitzgerald, 13 Kirk, 16 Sherfield
WR - 16 C Williams, 14 Nelson, 12 K Wright

Tight Ends
TE1 - 86 Seals-Jones, 84 Gresham, 82 J Phillips

Offensive Line
LT- 74 Humphries, 79 Cunningham
LG - 76 Iupati, 68 Vujnovich,
OC- 64 Cole, 62 Munyer
RG- 67 Pugh, 70 Aboushi, 78 Gossett
RT - 71 A Smith, 75 Golditch


KC Defense

Defensive Line
LDE.....95 C Jones...94 Jenkins
NT.....91 Nnadi...98 X Williams
RDE......97 Bailey...74 Hamilton

Linebackers
LOLB....50 Houston...92 Kpassagnon
LILB.....53 Hitchens...44 O' Daniel...54 Orchard
RILB....59 Ragland....56 Niemann
ROLB .55 Ford...57 Speaks...51 Zombo

Defensive Backs
LCB....20 Nelson...22 Scandrick...35 C Ward
RCB...23 Fuller...39 T Smith
S .....29 Berry...21 Murray...30 Shaw
S......38 Parker...24 Lucas


Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. KC Pass Defense
Rosen is a dynamic presence (i.e. he's far from being a finished product but improves in various aspects of his play from game to game). His biggest challenge will be to deal with a Chief's pass rush (which has racked up 26 sacks compared to just 2 allowed by Chief pass blockers). How well Josh avoids sacks/turnovers and locates/hits his open receivers will determine the outcome of this football game.

Note - Looking at the matchups, this looks like a "catch me if you can" dual featuring Cardinal receivers out running Chief DB's before the Chief pass rushers catch up with Rosen. If Josh has time to hit his man, Cards win. If not, Josh gets flattened. If past trends are allowed to continue, look for Byron Leftwich to make screen passes to D Johnson a greater part of his offensive repertroire.

Key Matchups:
Cardinal OL vs. Ford, Jones, Bailey, Houston...Fitzgerald, Kirk vs. Nelson, Parker...D Johnson vs Houston

Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. KC Run Defense
Stopping the run isn't a Chief strong suit. Since their offensive forte is racking up lots of points, look for Leftwich to run the ball until the Chiefs can prove they can stop it (i.e. shorten the game via the run and deny the Chiefs a lot of time to chalk up more points).

Key Matchups:
Cardinal OL vs KC Front 7...D Johnson vs. Hitchens


Special Teams

KC Special Teams

K       07 Butker       
P       02 D Colquit         
H       02D Colquit
LS     41 Winchester
KR    39 T Smith
PR    10 T Hill

Cardinals Special Teams
P - 02 Lee
K- 04 Dawson
H - 02 Lee
LS -46 Brewer
KR - 22 Logan, 14 Nelson
PR - 13 Kirk, 22 Logan


Matchup: KC Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
Lee vs. Colquitt - pretty much a wash...Dawson vs. Butker - Gotta give it to Dawson (although he hasn't been 100% fail-safe. ).

Kirk is beginning to emerge as a returning threat, but Cards have decided to re-activate their rookie scatback, Logan - what the roles of each return guy will turn out to be has yet to be determined.


Coaching / Intangibles
Andy Reid has been HC for 6 years. A hallmark of his team has been shrewd talent-evaluation and an offense that operates like a Swiss watch.


How to Beat the Chiefs
Contain Kelce and Hunt. Hands up on the pass rush (to block Mahomes' passing lanes).
Continue to develop the screen game (to occupy Chief pass rushers and shorten the clock). Protect Rosen.

 
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