The Seahawks are the perfect example of what building through the draft looks like. They made the move to hire Pete Carroll following the 2009 campaign, and he went to work, turning over 51 of the 53 players on the roster in his first two seasons as head coach. The Seahawks were the youngest team ever to win the Super Bowl last year, and return almost all of the impact players that got them there a year ago, plus add they get a healthy Percy Harvin. As you saw in the Thursday Night opener, there’s no reason to think that Seattle won’t repeat as Super Bowl Champions. In fact, they might go undefeated.
This organization is the class of the NFL, and is really the team the Chiefs are trying to model themselves after under John Dorsey and Andy Reid. Seattle has big, physical defensive backs; a good pass rush; and an offense that takes care of the football. Seattle, by all accounts, has the best home field advantage in the NFL. However, on the road Seattle is beatable, so the Chiefs home court advantage at Arrowhead is huge. In this game, I like the way the Chiefs defense matches up with the Seahawks offense.
Nevertheless, beating the Seahawks in any venue is going to be a very difficult task for the Chiefs or any team in the NFL. ?
Arizona Cardinals: 2013 Record: 10-6 (3rd Place NFC West)??
The Arizona Cardinals were a surprise 10-6 team a year ago. They come in to the 2014 season hoping to make a playoff push in arguably the strongest division in the NFL. it. Head coach Bruce Arians knows how to build a winner from his time in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, and he’s got a solid, underrated veteran QB in Carson Palmer.
The Cardinals have a load of offensive weapons led by stalwart all-pro, Larry Fitzgerald, leading a receiving corps that also includes receivers, Michael Floyd and John Brown. Andre Ellington is expected to carry the load at RB for the Cards, and their defense was quietly among the NFL’s best last season.
The Chiefs make the trek to Arizona in the first week of December. By then, this could be a matchup of two teams fighting for their playoff lives or looking ahead to 2015. This is the type of team that if the Chiefs can’t find consistency in their secondary, will tear them apart. It will be an interesting matchup for sure, as the Chiefs’ strengths (Pass Rush and running the football) are set to exploit the Cardinals’ weaknesses, and visa versa. It will definitely be one of the most fun and interesting games to watch this season.
San Francisco 49ers: 2013 Record: 12-4 (2nd place, NFC West)??
The 49ers had an amazing return to NFL royalty starting with the arrival of Jim Harbaugh in 2011. But 2014 could be a little bit different for this team; with some friction brewing between Harbaugh and the front office of the 49ers, he may be coaching for his job this offseason which always sets things on edge around an organization. Offensively, Frank Gore is not getting any younger, so they added Carlos Hyde to be his heir apparent. They picked up Stevie Johnson from Buffalo to bolster the receiving corps which was already pretty solid with Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, plus they still have Vernon Davis at tight end so there’s no shortage of playmakers for Colin Kaepernick. However, their vaunted defense might have some chinks in its armor this season, as it will start 2014 without NaVorro Bowman and Glenn Dorsey due to injury, also without Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald due to league mandated suspensions.
In week five, Kansas City will make the trip to San Francisco, which will wrap up a brutal five game stretch for the Chiefs. On paper, the 49ers will be heavily favored in that game, but I think the Chiefs actually match up pretty well with San Francisco. The storyline surrounding the game will be Alex Smith’s return to San Francisco. If Smith can keep his emotions in check and play his game, he can do enough to give the Chiefs a chance at an upset. Ultimately though, this matchup will come down to the matchup between Bob Sutton and Jim Harbaugh. If Sutton’s defense contains Kaepernick, the Chiefs will win. If they don’t, it could be a long day over in Santa Clara. ?
St. Louis Rams: 2013 Record: 7-9 (4th place, NFC West)??
The Rams have been a bottom feeder in the NFL for the better part of a decade at this point, but seemed poised to finally break through in Jeff Fisher’s 3rd season as head coach. Then in the 3rd week of preseason, Sam Bradford goes down with yet another season ending injury and the Rams went into a tailspin. They still have one of the best young running backs in Zac Stacy. They brought in Kenny Britt to bolster the receiving corps and have a blossoming star in Tavon Austin. The Rams also have one of the best young pass rushers in all of the NFL in Robert Quinn, and a stout young linebacker in James Laurinaitis.
The Chiefs will welcome the Rams to Arrowhead in late October this year. Since the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995, the Chiefs are undefeated against them. The Chiefs are the better team between the two in every aspect of the game, and it should be a game the Chiefs win going away. That being said, there is nothing easy in the NFL and the Rams can’t be taken lightly. So the key for the Chiefs to win this game, will be staying within themselves and executing their game plan.
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Which NFC West teams will the Chiefs defeat in 2014?
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