The summer walk-through of the Kansas City Chiefs’ schedule continues with a look at a Week 11 home game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Links to previous game previews can be found below.
If all goes according to plan for both teams than this November 18 game will be significant in the playoff picture and could end up deciding a wild-card berth. Cincinnati got into the postseason last year as the #6 seed and has high expectations this year. Kansas City is only two years removed from the playoffs and has key personnel returning from injuries.
What the Chiefs won’t be is rested for this game, as they’ll be on a short week following a Monday night game in Pittsburgh. Cincinnati, on the other hand, is making its only road appearance in the month of November. We can further add that with this game sandwiched between the Steelers on MNF and the Denver Broncos on November 25, its possible Kansas City might be caught unfocused. This does contradict the earlier point about the game potentially ending up as winner-take-all for a playoff berth, but it underscores just how fluid things are likely be in November, not just for the Chiefs, but for the teams they match up with.
From a personnel standpoint, Kansas City’s offensive line is going to be challenged on the interior. In most of the previous game previews we’ve talked of issues like containing the outside edge and focusing on new free agent offensive tackle Eric Winston. The Cincinnati defense is a 4-3 set and tackle Geno Atkins leads up a unit that can wreak havoc up the middle, not only against the run but with gut pressure up the middle. The KC guards, Ryan Lilja and Jon Asamoah, have to play well, and this will be a big test for second-year center Rodney Hudson. And if either guard struggles early in the year, rookie Jeff Allen could be installed by the time November 18 rolls around.
Kansas City’s defense can create their own mismatch problems. Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton did a nice job in his rookie year, but the team still finished 20th in passing yards, and the rush game was equally mediocre. The free-agent signing of BenJarvus Green-Ellis is not likely to help Cincy. “The Law Firm”, as he was known with the New England Patriots, is likely to find that running was a lot easier when you had Tom Brady taking the focus off you.
Overall, this is a game that is there for Kansas City to win. If each team plays according to form, it won’t likely be pretty—more like tough, defensive-minded and in the 17-13 range, but with homefield on their side a focused Chiefs team can emerge with what is likely to be a must-have game.
Follow me on Twitter @DanFlaherty
PREVIOUS SUMMER WALK-THROUGHS
Week 1: vs Atlanta
Week 2: at Buffalo
Week 3: at New Orleans
Week 4: vs San Diego
Week 5: vs Baltimore
Week 6: at Tampa Bay
Week 7: Bye Week Evaluation Points
Week 8: vs. Oakland
Week 9: at San Diego
Week 10: at Pittsburgh