With a trip to the nation's capital, the Chiefs finally conclude their month-long battle against the NFC East. The Redskins may have finished last in their division in 2008, but it doesn't mean things will get any easier for Kansas City.
Washington's offense was a below-average 19th last year, mostly due to the weakness of their passing game. Their running game, on the other hand, was among the top 10 attacks in the league, thanks to the efforts of Clinton Portis and his 1,487 rushing yards.
The Redskins' defense – ranked fourth – was one of the best in the NFL, and should only improve with the offseason addition of Albert Haynesworth.
Why The Chiefs Could Win
We can find a faint glimmer of hope by looking exactly one year into the past. In Week 6 of last season, the 0-4 St. Louis Rams traveled to 4-1 Washington and managed to come away with the upset. Just like the Chiefs, the Rams only won two games in 2008, and a 19-17 road win over the Redskins was one.
Unfortunately, there's not much the Chiefs can learn by watching that game. The Rams didn't shut down Portis – he ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns. They didn't force quarterback Jason Campbell into mistakes – he threw for a modest 208 yards with no interceptions. In total, St. Louis' defense allowed nearly 400 yards while their offense only gained 200.
The key to the game was a fluke play in which a pass thrown by Campbell was batted at the line of scrimmage and fell into the hands of Redskins' lineman Pete Kendall. Not much of a ball carrier, Kendall fumbled and a Rams' defender grabbed the loose ball, returning it 75 yards for a touchdown.
St. Louis' win didn't exactly provide a blueprint for other teams to follow, but it does show that lesser teams can pull off an unexpected road victory now and then. If the Chiefs can get a few lucky breaks of their own, maybe they'll walk away with a similar result.
Why The Chiefs Will Lose
Putting aside the talent discrepancy between the two teams, the Redskins' stout defense, and their powerful running game, we can't ignore the fact that the Chiefs have only won three road games over the last two seasons. To put it another way, in their last 16 games away from Arrowhead, the Chiefs are just 3-13.
Worse yet, two of those wins came over the Oakland Raiders, which makes the record even less impressive. The last time the Chiefs actually beat a good team on the road was September 2007, nearly two years ago, when they defeated the Chargers in San Diego.
Until they go out and give us a reason to change our minds, we can't realistically pick the Chiefs to win road games over superior teams.
Most Likely Outcome: the Chiefs (2-4) leave Washington with a loss.
Reading KC's Fortune - Week 6
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