The summer walk-through of the Kansas City Chiefs schedule reaches December, as this installment focuses on a Week 13 home game with the Carolina Panthers on December 2. Please visit the link below to see the game previews of Weeks 1 thru 12.
This game will be the conclusion of a three-game homestand for Kansas City that started with the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos. Last year’s results would suggest Week 13 to be the easiest of the three, although Carolina is a team on the rise and may be a tough out by December. For their part though, the Panthers are in a tough schedule spot. They’ll be on a short week, coming off a Monday night date with the Philadelphia Eagles, also on the road.
Strategically, the defensive abilities of Kansas City head coach Romeo Crennel and his staff are going to be tested in this game. In an ideal world, the Chiefs create problems for an offense with the attacking of outside linebacker Tamba Hali. Carolina is one of the few teams that can turn that strategy against a defense, thanks to the running ability of Cam Newton and his ability to improvise. Newton is least dangerous when he can be kept in the pocket. So if you’re Crennel, what way do you play this game? Do you play to your strength, turn Hali loose and dare Newton to beat you? Or do you play to the opponent’s weakness and keep your linebacker at home and make the quarterback beat you in a more conventional way?
There are good arguments on both sides, but one way Kansas City could render them irrelevant would be to exploit a Carolina defense that ranked in the bottom quarter of the league against both the run and pass. The surest way to stop Newton is to keep him on the sidelines and playing from behind, and we’ll know by December 2 how Carolina head coach Ron Rivera is doing at crafting a defense.
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