When the Baltimore Ravens line up at a rocking Arrowhead Stadium they're going to find a hungry, mad and motivated football team. The Chiefs have a golden opportunity to exercise virtually every demon they've been avoiding in recent years.
With a win Sunday, they can eliminate a six game losing streak in the post season. With a victory they would suddenly be a dangerous team for either the Pittsburgh Steelers or even further the New England Patriots to face in round two.
And lastly the fan base would be able to ride their success at least another week and also be able to dream a little bit more about winning another game in the post season.
Honestly, after the Chiefs went 3-0 to start the season, I clearly thought the only team that could defeat Kansas City was none other than themselves. The Chiefs finished the season going 7-6 and had they been sharper in road games versus Indianapolis, Houston and Oakland, they'd have finished the season with 13 victories.
Still the playoffs are a different beast. In my view, it doesn't really matter if you're the top seed or the sixth seed, any team can beat another in playoffs. And right now the Chiefs have just as good of a chance to win a couple of playoff games as the Ravens, Steelers, Jets, Colts and Patriots.
In fact, because of the style of football the Chiefs play on offense, should they unleash the best running back in the game today, Jamaal Charles, he could lead the team to the AFC Championship game.
If the Chiefs can follow their gap assignments on defense and stop the run, they can find their path to the AFC Championship game. And lastly if they win the turnover battle throughout the playoffs, they can find a path to the Championship game.
So will they get there? I'd say it's possible. But will it happen? Depends on the reasons I just gave. But this team has a history of winning three games in a row after it lays an egg on the field. So I wouldn't rule it out.
But either way I think they'll beat the Ravens on Sunday.
2. The Next OC? - In my opinion it has to be Josh McDaniels. He's the best young offensive mind in the game and right now his options are shrinking. With just a few head coaching changes, there doesn't seem to be a good fit for McDaniels other than Kansas City.
Scott Pioli needs to lure Josh McDaniels to run KC's offense in 2011.
The fact he and Haley had words a few months ago, really isn't going to be a factor because General Manager Scott Pioli will make this decision. And that's what everyone has to remember. Pioli is running the Chiefs. I've heard he's none too happy about the Weis versus Haley flap and based on his track record in New England. Thus I believe he's likely going to find a successor to Weis shortly after the Chiefs first playoff game on Sunday.
McDaniels seems the logical choice to guide the Chiefs offense based solely on his relationship with Quarterback Matt Cassel. And based on the four places that appear to want McDaniels for their offensive coordinator position, Miami, Arizona, San Francisco and Kansas City, the Chiefs by far have the best quarterback situation for McDaniels.
However, the caveat for any potential hire is Haley. Can he co-exist with any offensive coordinator? Time will tell but one thing is absolutely certain, he better learn how to because if not he could be on the wrong side of the next battle.
Because the last thing the Chiefs need is any more chaos and should they promote either Maurice Carthon or Nick Sirianni to the position, they'd have even more of it. In three stints as offensive coordinator in Detroit, Dallas and Cleveland, Carthon hasn't shown the ability to guide his offense into one that can win games in January.
But I do think Nick Sirianni would be a great offensive coordinator - someday. But he's just not ready for that position at the moment. Maybe in three or four years he could be a very good one in Kansas City. Because there is no question his work with Cassel this season is a contributing factor to his rise as one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks.
But from my perch, the only choice is McDaniels. Let's hope Pioli can land him.
3. Underrated MVP? - Hands down there is no question that the one player who has gone unnoticed all season long as the teams unsung hero is defensive end/tackle Shaun Smith.
Shaun Smith is the Chiefs enforcer.
Say what you want about the bottom of the pile war that he raged on opposing offensive lineman, he brought an identity to the defense. His smack talking, play-making ability on this defense has helped form their reputation this season.
To me, Smith has brought energy to a defense that had none a year ago. And yes this defense is better because of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. But without and enforcer like Smith, I don't think they'd be as good as they were this season.
A defense is only as good as the energy it brings to every snap. And Smith is the Energizer Bunny on speed dial. He's constantly jawing with opposing players and the fact he can make plays as a defensive end or tackle, just adds to his versatility and value.
And when he gets a chance to play fullback, his boyish mentality lights up the Chiefs offensive line and makes them even better in short yardage situations.
He won't win the teams MVP, which belongs to the quarterback, but in my view he gets strong consideration for the teams most influential player.
4. The AFC West in 2011? - It's going to be interesting to see what happens around the division in the next couple of weeks.
The Raiders already dumped Head Coach Tom Cable and that was an enormous mistake. And if I were the Chiefs, I'd nab him today and find a place for him on this staff.
Former Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable would make a great addition to the Chiefs 2011 coaching staff.
Even further should he join the Chiefs in some offensive capacity, he'd likely be able to sway Raiders offensive lineman Robert Gallery and running back Michael Bush to join him in Kansas City. Both are free agents and I think outside of the Chiefs pursuit of receiver Vincent Jackson or Larry Fitzgerald, Kansas City must sign Bush to play the run game with Jamaal Charles next season. That combination would give the Chiefs the most prolific running attack in the NFL for the next four seasons.
But Al Davis overreacted by dumping Cable, because he fears he's going to lose the teams offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson. And that might be the reason behind the decision to fire Cable. However, the man led his team to a perfect 6-0 mark in the division and that can't be overlooked anywhere other than in the eyes of Al Davis.
The Denver Broncos are making a huge mistake promoting John Elway. He's never been a personnel man and to turn the franchise over to him as owner Pat Bowlen is about to do could do more harm than giving the same power to Josh McDaniels.
The rumor is that Elway wants Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh to become the Broncos coach. The other rumor going around NFL circles is that Elway believes that Tim Tebow is the answer long term. And I can't see Harbaugh talking that job under that pretence.
If I were Elway I'd make a run for Brian Billick, whom I think may end up in Dallas (just a hunch). However, with all this power he's eventually going to strike out finding a home run candidate.
I'm shocked the Chargers kept Norv Turner. I just don't think he's the right fit for San Diego. But the Spanos family really had little choice – because a year from now they may bolt San Diego for Los Angeles. However if defensive coordinator Ron Rivera gets the head coaching gig at Carolina, then that's going to be a big loss. Right now in my mind Rivera should be promoted to head coach.
And I'm glad that's not going to happen because he can fix that club.
Either way I think the Chiefs have the best situation heading into 2011 and based on the turmoil in the rest of the division – more so than Kansas City has at the moment – the Midwest team has a strong young core on offense, defense and on special teams.
And even though they're going to be facing a much more daunting schedule ahead, I rank them slightly ahead of the Chargers to win the division in 2011.
Veteran Head coach Bill Cowher has always looked good in Kansas City Chiefs red.
5. Where Will Bill Cowher end Up? - The most intriguing coaching situation yet to unfold in the offseason is which team Bill Cowher will coach in 2011. He's talked with Carolina and the Miami Dolphins but thus far nothing appears immanent.
I still say long term his best fit is here in Kansas City. But for the moment, I can't see Pioli doing anything with Todd Haley. So what does Cowher do?
People I've talked with indicated to me that he really wants to coach again. And he'd been rumored to have strong interest in both the New York Giants and Houston Texans but they kept their respective head coaches.
So I'm not sure there is a good fit for him in 2011. I had expected far more head coaching vacancies on Black Monday and Tuesday, but that just hasn't happened.
And that means,Cowher's patented game day scowl could sit out another year. In the long run, that might be his best option if he's still waiting for the right NFL fit.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
How many playoff games can KC win?