Chiefs Can't Beat Themselves

After the 49ers game, where the Chiefs dismantled the NFC Powerhouse, the enthusiasm of a 3-0 start took a sharp nosedive. But once the weekend hit in earnest on Friday, those nerves of anticipation started coming back. And the Chiefs face an angry Colts team looking to save their sinking ship. So will they save it?

Let me answer that question at the end of this commentary. For now, I'll say this. If Kansas City wants to shock the NFL and defeat the Colts on Sunday, I say it's possible. Because I think the only team that can beat Kansas City at Indy, are the Chiefs themselves.

You can take out of the Colt equation. The fact that's the team Kansas City is playing on Sunday is irrelevant. It no longer matters whom the Chiefs line up against at home or on the road. If they believe they can win, they'll defeat the Colts or anyone else for that matter.

If they don't, they'll leave Lucas Oil Field with a 3-1 record. That's still not bad. But 4-0 sounds much better.

All throughout the week every single NFL analyst, who has ventured an opinion on this game has said the same thing; the Colts will defeat the Chiefs. They made those predictions despite the fact; the Colts can't run the ball on offense nor defend against it on defense. Both are absolute indisputable facts.

They correctly point out that none of that matters because the Colts have Quarterback Peyton Manning on their side. However, the opposite could be argued. Quarterbacks like the Broncos Kyle Orton, the Chargers Philip Rivers and the Rams Sam Bradford all share the same 2-2 record as Manning.

Matt Cassel is the NFL's only undefeated starting quarterback.
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On the flip side, quarterbacks like the Chiefs very own Matt Cassel stand 3-0. The Buccaneers Josh Freeman has led Tampa Bay to a 2-1 record. The Falcons Matt Ryan is 3-1 and so are AFC East competitors Tom Brady (Patriots) and Mark Sanchez (Jets). Even Drew Brees despite no running game and needing some major luck to win games, stands 3-1 on the young season.

But I argue, are any of them better quarterbacks than Manning? I'd have to say only Brady and Brees are in that exclusive club. The rest are all unproven NFL quarterbacks.

That doesn't negate their accomplishments over Manning this season. Instead, it shows that the quarterback position means different things to different teams.

The elite quarterbacks get that label because they are able to carry their teams on their shoulders and often guide them to Super Bowls. That's what Manning has done twice in his career.

On Sunday, he faces a young Chiefs defense that plays with a fly-to-the-ball attitude, which could cause severe problems for the Colts offense. Manning might just have to play his best game of the year to defeat them.

For the Chiefs Matt Cassel, simply has to follow the script that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has prepared for him. In fact, based on early returns of the Colts defense, Weis could have a field day running the ball and throwing the ball down field against the Colts wounded and leaky defense.

Still we're talking about the same Matt Cassel who has yet to show the consistency his coaches would like to see out of him from week to week. But he's a better quarterback heading into the Colts game, than he was when the season started.

And when consider, he's yet to hit the loss column as a starter in 2010, he's done more than enough to keep the Chiefs in first place in the AFC West with a perfect 3-0 record.

In the first quarter of the season, Manning has struggled to overcome the singular deficiency of his offense. Cassel, to his credit, has overcome all of them including slow starts, turnovers, bad reads, failing to execute some easy passes and missing wide open receivers with errant throws.

Manning on the other hand has failed to overcome his teams' inability to run the football. The Colts average a whopping 75 yards rushing per game. That's the same average the Chiefs defense has given up in three games. Joseph Addai has been below average for the Colts in four games. On the flip side, the Chiefs Dynamic Duo of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones are running over every team they've faced this season.

Todd Haley has his Chiefs believing they can win any given Sunday.
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Two of those teams, the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers are two of the better run stopping units in the league.

Do you really think the Colts defense is all of a sudden going to be world-beaters against the Chiefs rushing attack?

But none of that really matters at this point. That debate will be settled on Sunday.

Instead, the Chiefs are trying to rise from the ashes of their own recent past. They won four games in 2009 and four the two seasons prior to that.

But to get rid of that stench, they have to stay focused on the task ahead and forget whom they are playing or where they are playing from football games from here on out. If they don't beat themselves, the wins will continue.

Still not many believe they can win Sunday. In fact, the Colts probably don't think that Kansas City can come into their home and leave with a victory. But the Chiefs players believe they can.

And that confidence is going to be more than enough for Kansas City to ride their undefeated wave for at least another week. They should easily handle the Colts 37-17.

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