Five to Watch: Chiefs vs Colts

There is something to be said for the man who asks for everything and gets it. What separates out the great ones is what that man does with it.

Sunday afternoon, the golden-armed youngster from Alabama, Brodie Croyle, will take on an Indianapolis Colts team that is reeling after back-to-back losses. Can he beat the former Super Bowl champs in their house?

Well the answer is easy – no, not by himself. But with a total team effort on offense, the Chiefs are capable of beating the Colts at their season-worst. After losing two games in a row, the Chiefs go into this Sunday's contest with no expectations.

It's similar to what happened in Week 4, when they charged into San Diego and won their first road game of the season. But that really doesn't matter all that much, because on paper there's no question - the Colts have more talent, and should easily beat the Chiefs.

Even with a dozen injuries and the loss of Dwight Freeney, the Colts should win.

But as we've already seen in this crazy, wacky NFL season, nothing is certain. I would have bet my house on the Chiefs beating Denver last Sunday in Kansas City. The Broncos are one of the worst teams in the NFL, but they beat the Chiefs because two turnovers gifted them 14 points.

But at least that means the Chiefs don't have any delusions heading into a place where they laid an egg last January in an AFC wild-card game. This time around they are in a far different place.

But someone has to win, as Herm Edwards pointed out to his players again this week. In order for this team to be successful they have to play loose, and with the quarterback change being pushed to the forefront, it could benefit this team and give it a spark.

It seems to have made a difference in the locker room, as the players were about as jovial as I've seen this week for a team that just lost a pair of home games. That's a testament to Edwards.

And that's probably why I'm in the minority that this football team has a chance to win Sunday at Indy. I say that because I don't have the pit in my stomach I've had the last two weeks.

Maybe it's the food I ate this week, but something just tells me Edwards is going to change up more than the quarterback position this week. I'm not sure what he has planned, but the Colts better not take the Chiefs lightly. If they do, they might end up with their own three-game losing streak.

Five to Watch

1. QB Brodie Croyle - Since the first day I saw Croyle throw a pass at the Chiefs OTAs in the spring of 2006, I knew he was the future. Over the last year and half he's waited for this chance. He's going into a hostile environment but playing at Indianapolis doesn't compare to playing on the road at Oklahoma, Tennessee or LSU at the college level. The stakes are higher in the NFL, but he's not going to be fazed by the crowd, the turnovers or anything else. He's worked too hard for this moment, and I think Croyle will shock the Colts. The degree of that shock will be determined by the offensive cast around him.

2. WR Jeff Webb - I think Webb will cross the 50-yard line at some point in this football game on a kick return. Last week, San Diego's Darren Sproles scored twice - once on a kick off and the other on a punt. Webb should have been the guy early on, but the team thought Eddie Drummond would be the answer - wrong. He's been terrible, and yeah the blocking hasn't been all that good, but still, a veteran like Drummond should have more return yards. Webb has some ability, and I think it's important to get him more touches – especially while he's learning on the job as a wide receiver.

3. DE Jared Allen - With Dwight Freeney out for the season, Allen has become the league's premier pass rusher. This game boils down to Allen and his ability to attack a banged-up offensive line. As we saw last week, Manning is only human, and even the great ones can be rattled. It'll be up to Allen to take over this game. Don't get me wrong, he's been great all season, but he's yet to have one of those mind-boggling, dominating performances that leave you breathless. It's now time for one of those.

4. CB Ty Law - The man owns Manning. It doesn't matter where he is on the football field, he always gets the best of him. Law did his best to shut down Manning in the AFC wild-card loss, picking him off twice – one nearly for a touchdown. Even though Law's skills have diminished from a year ago, I expect another pair of picks. Reggie Wayne is the only real threat at wide receiver this week, and Law knows that better than anyone.

5. OC Mike Solari - This might be his defining game as KC's offensive coordinator. He's going outside the box this week because he's old school and doesn't like to put young players on the spot in his offensive game plans. He needs to shake that Dick Vermeil blanket and use the strengths of Croyle. He should chuck it down the field and put all four of his wide receivers, plus tight end Tony Gonzalez, on the field for every single snap. He needs to spread the field, use Priest Holmes as a decoy, and let it fly.

He can't dink and dunk, unless it's a screen pass, because Croyle won't stick to that plan. It won't work. Kansas City's offense has failed miserably this year because it does not spread the field or use the middle of the field in the passing game. That has to change. If Solari is worried about an errant pass from Croyle, he has to remember that Indy's defenders have to try and latch onto the pass as well.

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