Two Plus Two: Let's Hold Onto the Ball

It's Tuesday again. Two more positive points and two more negative. Every Tuesday, even when the Chiefs don't play. Dear publisher, how much longer do I need to explain the format? Depending on how twisted a Chiefs fan you are, you might assign the following to different categories than I did.

The 2000 San Diego Chargers won a solitary game during their entire 16-game schedule. That game was against a Kansas City Chiefs squad "led" by Warren Moon. I challenge any Chiefs fan to tell me who the Chargers head coach was that year..... moving on.

I believe the Oakland Raiders stand a legitimate chance of completing a winless year in 2006. I've felt that way all season despite their 4-1 preseason. Art Shell's squad has three realistic opportunities to get into the win column: Arizona at home on October 22nd, Houston at the Coliseum Dec 3rd, and yes, the Chiefs visit them two days before Christmas. Hopefully Al Davis will still awaken to a lump of coal in his jumpsuit Christmas day. No matter how poorly or how well each team has done, the Chiefs/Raiders games are more often closely contested than blowouts for either side. I'm reminded of the Dallas/Redskins rivalry in the 90's when the Redskins frequently found a way to steal a game from the dynastic Cowboys.

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Trent Green's starting streak was second behind Brett Favre for current starting quarterbacks. Will Shields' consecutive starts streak is just a couple games behind Favre's among active players. Up until a few short weeks ago, the Chiefs had been incredibly blessed in the injury department. With Trent Green, Benny Sapp, Will Svitek and Michael Bennett already early scratches for the visit to Heinz Field and Hall, Scanlon and Turley questionable, the Chiefs' luck has run out. Team Physician Jon Browne's wife has filed a missing persons report with the local police. The family hasn't seen him at home since KC's bye week. The Chiefs could use another bye week soon. If ever there were a time for Lamar Hunt to call in some favors from the league office, now is that time. So, maybe we could push that Steelers game to Jan 7th? I guess we should be thankful Larry Johnson will suit up Sunday.

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Kansas City's receivers and backs combined to drop three critical balls against Arizona. These weren't balls that glanced off their fingertips so they qualify for the "should have caught them" technicality. Damon Huard delivered these throws directly to his receivers. I've been known to exaggerate slightly, but if my three-year old daughter dropped balls of comparable catchability, she'd be running laps. What makes this point a positive is that Chiefs backs, receivers and tight ends caught 26 of the 38 balls thrown. The same guys who made high-profile drops Sunday are also making acrobatic leaps to snatch Huard's throws out of the air and vault him near the top of the league in quarterback efficiency. He sits a mere 1.5 points behind league leader David Carr. A team can't ask a backup quarterback to play better.

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The Chiefs schedule in weeks six through nine looked incredibly difficult at first glance back in April. Kansas City visits the Pittsburgh Steelers this coming Sunday. Fortunately, Ben Roethlisberger has yet to get on track after his nasty offseason motorcycle mishap and recent laparoscopic appendectomy. Pittsburgh sits at a weak 1-3 and looks nothing like the team they were in December and January mere months ago. The Chiefs strive to leave them 1-4 and return to Kansas City above .500 for the first time in 2006.

The division-leading Chargers visit Kansas City Oct 22nd and will be a real test for KC's offense. San Diego leads the league in total defense. In our preseason Warpaint Illustrated issue, this author predicted the Chargers would run away with the AFC West and eventually land in the Super Bowl. I'll continue to remind you of this until the Chargers flop miserably. At that point, I'll thank you not to remind me. Thanks in advance.

Finally, the Seattle Seahawks visit Arrowhead the last Sunday in October. Their only loss of the year has been to the dominating Chicago Bears. Still, like the Steelers, they look to me like they've fallen off a notch in talent and execution since January.

How do you think they'll fare? Drop by the Arrowhead Club on our Warpaint Forums for further discussion.

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