Five to Watch: Chiefs vs. Eagles

It's time to jump back on the Chiefs' bandwagon. I've been going back and forth after the 0-2 start. But this weekend is going to change the fortunes of the Chiefs' 2009 season. They're going to walk into Philly Sunday and come out with a victory. Why? Because five players are going to make sure Todd Haley gets his first win as an NFL Head Coach.

This frustrating season has led me to be negative, perhaps even border-line cruel. That's not my nature and after sitting back and looking at the long, hard road that Haley's Bunch has traveled to date, the 0-2 start is hardly shocking.

The Chiefs should be sitting 1-1 and a game back of Denver for the AFC West lead. But that's not the case, and now they have to really get busy if they are going to turn the season around.

Sunday, I expect them to do that. There is no doubt in my mind that the Chiefs are going to show up the Kevin Kolb/Michael Vick-led Eagles in their own stadium. This might be the most anticipated game in awhile for the Eagles with Vick's unveiling.

What can we expect out of Vick Sunday? He'll be lined up in the backfield and perhaps in the slot as a receiver. We'll see some wildcat formations that will excite the fans, but I don't expect Vick to lead any charges into the end zone.

That honor might go to Kolb, who threw for nearly 400 yards last weekend against New Orleans. That won't happen Sunday against a Chiefs' defense that is much better than advertised, but only if they ditch the prevent calls that doomed Kansas City against the Raiders. This defense is better suited when it attacks, and I hope the entire coaching staff learned that lesson last week.

Kolb is a far better passer than JaMarcus Russell, and you can't give him open lanes over the middle of the field. You have to pressure him and I expect the Chiefs' linebackers will blitz often Sunday.

This team is aching for a win after the tough loss a week ago. It may have reminded many of the players of the losses Herm Edwards' teams suffered.

The 2009 Chiefs are a different team, but it's not easy to learn how to win in the NFL when you've lost as many games as the Chiefs have the last two seasons. They have to forget that this weekend, pin their ears back and make plays.

If they can do that, they will win Sunday. If anyone knows how to beat the Eagles it's Haley, who beat them a year ago on his way to the Super Bowl. My guess is Haley's Bunch will have a strong showing against the Chiefs' next four opponents, and it starts with a win over the Eagles.

Five to Watch:

1. QB Matt Cassel - He gets called out by his head coach Tuesday, is announced as the starter Wednesday and then tells the media himself he hopes Haley is behind him. Sunday we'll see what he's made of because he has a lot to prove. Last week his two-minute drills both ended in disaster and he has a chance to redeem himself against an Eagles' secondary that's lackluster in my opinion.

2. DT Tank Tyler - Tyler was impressive last week against the Raiders. He's showing signs that he's worthy of stepping out of the 2007 draft class and taking his place as an impact starter. On several snaps he blew up running plays and allowed his teammates to make tackles. The Chiefs were outstanding against the run last week. All Tyler needs to is keep disrupting things in the backfield.

3. LB Corey Mays - The training camp and preseason defensive MVP hasn't quite lived up to his potential as a starter. He has talent, but he's just not making the plays right now. He's best when going forward and has the ability to blitz the quarterback, but he's not great going sideline to sideline. With the demotion and injury to Derrick Johnson, Mays really has to step up and I expect that this weekend.

4. WR Quinten Lawrence - He finally moved ahead of Terrence Copper on the depth chart and with Dwayne Bowe limited because of a leg injury, the rookie could see significant minutes on Sunday. He struggled to catch the ball in preseason, but he has speed to make plays down the field. It's time the Chiefs throw him to the wolves and see what he can do besides run a reverse.

5. SS Mike Brown - He whiffed badly on Raiders' running back Darren McFadden last weekend, so he might bounce back with an interception of Kolb Sunday. He's a solid safety, it's just a matter of time until he makes one of those big plays that led him to Kansas City this offseason.

Week Three AFC West Predictions:

Kansas City Chiefs 23
Philadelphia Eagles 16

Miami Dolphins 23
San Diego Chargers 21

Denver Broncos 16
Oakland Raiders 17


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