The Chiefs and Texans face a similar road today. They each desperately need a win to keep their season alive. Kansas City is by far the most talented team of the two Sunday combatants. But that doesn't mean the Chiefs will win.
The Texans come into the game with a three headed monster in David Carr, Domanick Davis and Andre Johnson. That means the Chiefs defense will be facing three players who collectively can put points on the board but they can also turn the ball over.
Davis has turned the ball over four times in two games. Regardless if he's running the ball or catching it, he's been dropping the ball and that his led to the Texans two early season losses. Carr has racked up 542 passing yards but has three interceptions and only two touchdown passes. Carr has been fighting for his life as the Texans offensive line has allowed their franchise quarterback to be sacked seven times.
Johnson has played well but he's not the team yardage leader that belongs to Davis coming out of the backfield. But Johnson has the type of game that could give the Chiefs secondary fits. Eric Warfield will likely get the assignment and with the off-the-field incidents surrounding the Chiefs best corner, he'll have to pay extra attention to his game and not let what happened after Sundays game to distract him.
Now Warfield is a professional but he's also human. He made a mistake and he knows it but how he reacts on the football field and how the fans treat him if he makes a mistake could play a large part in the type of day Warfield has on the field.
The Chiefs defensive line should dominate the Texans offensive line but that was also supposed to be the case last week against Carolina. But this week, the Chiefs should have Vonnie Holliday back and that gives the line more depth. Rookie Junior Siavii and veteran Lional Dalton both play a huge part in the middle of the defensive line. Dalton showed he could plug gaps and Siavii showed an ability to put pressure on the quarterback.
Ryan Sims still needs to be a factor and Eric Hicks and John Browning need to continue to get pressure on the quarterback. Last week the Chiefs defensive ends didn't get enough pressure on Jake Delhomme and that can't continue. That means they need to step up this week. The Chiefs defense needs to start a new trend and despite the 0-2 start, this defense has shown some improvement. But that learning curve has to be expedited on Sunday.
The offense is simply bland and that's surprising for such offensive geniuses as Dick Vermeil and Al Saunders. Regardless of the injuries to the wide receiver corps, the creativity and risk-taking on offense has been more disappointing than the defense.
Trent Green has failed to throw a touchdown pass this season and in fact for the first time in his career in Kansas City; looks uncomfortable in the pocket. He's forcing balls and instead he needs to do what he did last year and that's take what the defense gives. Last week in particular he threw into double coverage and ignored wide open receivers.
Granted the wide receiver crew is battered and beaten; they still need to step up and play. Johnnie Morton and Dante Hall will start with rookie Richard Smith and second year player Chris Horn will get back-up duty. Horn was recently signed off the practice squad and Smith has struggled the last two games.
The Chiefs need to get Smith involved early building his confidence. He also has the ability to get separation from pressing cornerbacks and that's something that needs to happen so the middle of the field is open for tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Speaking of Gonzalez he has yet to make a solid impact on offense. But that's not his fault. He's been double and sometimes triple teamed and that's made it hard to get open especially when the receivers are not getting open.
With the unlikely participation of running back Priest Holmes today, back-ups Derrick Blaylock and Larry Johnson should see significant action. Johnson will be able to shut up his critics both on the field and off with a solid game. Blaylock is more suited to be a third-down back than a feature back but he'll get the start today.
But the biggest change needs to come from Dick Vermeil. He needs to be more aggressive and not rely on his defense to stop the opponent but use the strength of his team that being the offense. Despite their struggles early on, they are the best part of the football team.
Today it will be interesting to see the Texans and how they attack the Chiefs. Even more it will be interesting to watch how Kansas City plays with their backs against the wall. If the Chiefs can win Sunday and again next Monday Night in Baltimore, the season is probably back on track and with a weak AFC West division, they could be back in the drivers seat with a couple of rock solid victories.
At least that's they plan and hope for every Chief fan.