Move over Patriots, there may be Super Bowl competition in a place where one wouldn’t have thought–Arrowhead. Ok, that was obviously hyperbole, but the fact remains that the Kansas City Chiefs could very well join the Patriots as favorites for the AFC conference title. I’ll admit it, initially I was skeptical too then after hearing whispers that the Chiefs were more than just a pushover is when I gave in and thought ‘wow, they could really do something.’ So let’s look at some of the team’s weapons: Eric Winston, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Dwyane Bowe and Jamaal Charles. The team has what a lot of others are lacking–balance and harmony on both offense and defense. The only flaw with the Chiefs that’s keeping them from being mentioned as a team headed for a big year is the fact that Matt Cassel isn’t Tom Brady. But then again…who is?
Matt Cassel is capable of being Mr. Reliable as he filled in for the aforementioned, Mr. Brady in 2008 and took the Patriots to an 11-5 season. But, with that said the well roundness of the team should compensate for the fact that Matt Cassel is mostly an average quarterback. The Chiefs did their due diligence in the off season by adding players who would enhance their strengths, as is the case for right tackle Eric Winston. The Chiefs have established themselves as a run happy team since they led the league in rushing in their 2010 playoff season, giving Cassel the ample protection that he needs to look for openings to match up with with his backs is going to be a vital part of their offensive strategy. Dwyane Bowe still hasn’t reported to camp but has been reported by KMBC to be in Kansas City and ready to sign the $9.5 million franchise tag, despite Coach Crennel not making contact with him. Also though, let’s also not underestimate the chemistry of the team with new coach Romeo Crennel as was displayed in that week 15 win over the then-perfect Greenbay Packers. Last year they started off slow and were hit hard by injuries, Jamaal Charles’ ACL injury threw a wrench in their 2011 season. Charles has been off to a promising start with preseason giving him a test to his injured knee, but he’s still moving well down the field as he carried for 12 yards three times against the Cardinals. If the team can remain healthy one should really contemplate weather or not this is a team to keep an eye on.
The AFC has fallen into a stubborn rut imbibed in the depths of mediocrity for the past few seasons. Conversely, the NFC has been a bustling team where even the 49?ers and Lions are good again and no team is a guaranteed shoe-in for a ticket to the Superbowl. The AFC has pretty much been the Patriots for the taking as the Jets continually fail to answer the call, the Ravens keep getting older and the Steelers are just as mighty as the Pats. With Peyton Manning’s move to Denver the AFC West and the conference as a whole has just gotten a much needed energy jolt and we should look out to see if we can see a true battle down the stretch. The Kansas City Chiefs could be the new look San Francisco 49?ers of this season–new coach, revitalized defense and offense and an under the radar Quarterback looking to make his mark.
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