Chiefs Ready to Tame Toothless Lions

In the NFL, there are not gimmies, no lay-ups nor easy games. But if the Chiefs learned anything from the Broncos loss, they'll go out and demolish the Lions this weekend.

But this is the NFL and anything is possible. For the Chiefs players and coaches, they need a good showing in order to get them back on track.

After splitting two of their last four games, the Chiefs face a depleted Detroit Lions squad that stands 4-9 on the season. They've lost 22 consecutive road games; the Chiefs are going for a franchise best 12th straight Arrowhead victory. Something has to give.

Not to worry Chiefs fans. Kansas City will win this game. It will be a big win. In fact, I don't think the Lions can score on the Chiefs defense this week. With no running game, passing game, little offensive diversity and a defense statistically ranked lowed than the Chiefs.

All signs indicate that the Chiefs will wrap up their first AFC West Title on Sunday and keep the heat on the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts for home field advantage.

The Lions enter this contest with second year quarterback Joey Harrington who has thrown 13 touchdowns but turned the ball over 20 times on interceptions. However, to his defense losing wide receiver and first round draft pick Charlie Rogers six weeks ago to a broken collarbone, didn't help his numbers. Also Az-Zahir Hakim continues to be a bust in the passing game since coming over to the Loins from the St. Louis Rams two years ago.

Detroit has no running game either thanks to the pre-season injury to running back James Stewart. The Lions have tried to fill the void with Shawn Bryson and Orlandis Gary but neither has been productive and efficient this season.

Between the two of them they have 859 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the season. Clinton Portis has more than that in his career against the Chiefs in four starts. Ouch. However rookie Artose Pinner is expected to get significant playing time this weekend. Pinner has been injured the entire season after breaking his leg in last years Senior Bowl. The former Kentucky standout rushed for over 1400 yards last year for the Wildcats.

Seriously the Chiefs defense will regroup based on the opponent their facing this week to a larger degree because of the pride they have as athletes. They were embarrassed in their two losses and they want to show that was a fluke.

Will it end up being one?

Nobody knows but the Chiefs talent level is so much higher than in 2002 that this is the type of game that will allow the defensive players to get back to the basics. The lessons they learned from that game will determine the success of the defense to play a level good enough to get the Chiefs deep into the post season.

The Lions arguably have some talent on both sides of the ball. But they are young, inexperienced and learning a new system under a new coach. As Chiefs fans know from recent experience, that maturation takes time.

On Sunday, the Chiefs defense will play with a new attitude. They will play at a higher level one that was expected of them before the season began. They've stopped the run in the past with their starters on the field but when the back-ups come into to play, that's when they have breakdowns.

They can correct all of that this weekend.

On offense the Chiefs should be able to score on virtually every offensive possession. Now the Lions are not without talent on defense. Defensive end Robert Porcher and defensive tackle Shaun Rogers can get to the passer. Former problem child Dan Wilkerson has given the Lions defensive line a veteran presence.

Rookie linebacker Boss Bailey, who the Chiefs coveted on draft day and had the opportunity to draft instead of Larry Johnson, has become a force at outside linebacker. He already has 65 tackles (47 solo) and he's displaying the type of speed and making plays.

But even with those players excelling on defense, the Chiefs have more than enough weapons to over match the Lions.

Chiefs quarterback Trent Green threw for nearly 400 yards last week in Denver and he continues to the focal point of the Kansas City offense. That's left Priest Holmes without some valuable touches and that cost the Chiefs some offensive consistency especially in the second half of ball games the last four games.

That's likely to change as the Lions are susceptible to running backs like Holmes. The Chargers LaDainian Tomlinson scored two touchdowns via the pass last week and the Chiefs are likely to develop several screens for Holmes.

Lions cornerback Dre' Bly has had a solid season but he can't cover the Chiefs quartet of Eddie Kennison, Johnnie Morton, Dante Hall and Marc Boerigter all by himself.

Speaking of Morton this will be the first time that he'll face his former team. Morton spent his entire NFL career with the Lions until signing with the Chiefs before the 2002 season. Morton was very complimentary about the organization and appeared to hold no grudges when the media asked him about his former team this week.

The Chiefs hope this will be a very boring game. If they score 28 first half points, a few field goals in the second half then this game will be a success. The biggest game of the season will be the following Saturday in Minnesota when home field advantage will be on the line.

Nick's Notes
* The Chiefs with a win on Sunday will set a new team record with their 12th consecutive home win. The streak started back on October 27th, 2002 with a 20-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders. The Chiefs added victories over Buffalo, Arizona, St. Louis and San Diego to close out their 2002 home slate.

* The Lions are 1-2 against the AFC West this season. Detroit lost to the Broncos in Denver 20-16, then beat the Raiders 23-13 at home and then last weekend to the Chargers at home 14-7.

* Congratulations are in order for former Chiefs cornerback Jayice Pearson. He will be doing his first FOX broadcast as the NFL analyst for the Chiefs and Lions game on Sunday at Arrowhead. Pearson works locally on the Chiefs pre-game and post game shows for CBS and Metro Sports.

Fearless Prediction : Chiefs 48 – Lions 3

Season Prognostication Record : 10-3

2003 Game Recaps
Game #13: Broncos 45 – Chiefs 27
Game #12: Chiefs 28 – Chargers 24
Game #11: Chiefs 27 - Raiders 24
Game #10: Bengals 24 – Chiefs 19
Game #9: Chiefs 41 - Browns 20
Game #8: Chiefs 38 – Bills 5
Game #7: Chiefs 17 – Oakland 10
Game #6: Chiefs 40 – Packers 34 OT
Game #5: Chiefs 24 – Broncos 23
Game #4: Chiefs 17 – Ravens 10
Game #3: Chiefs 42 – Texans 14
Game #2: Chiefs 41 - Steelers 20
Game #1: Chiefs 24 – Chargers 14


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