Chiefs Still Have Something To Play For

For a team that only has three wins on the season, the Chiefs enter Sunday's finale with quite a few things to play for.

First, they have a chance to deal a near-fatal blow to Denver's already slim playoff hopes. A loss wouldn't completely slam the door on the Broncos' postseason chances, but it would take a series of specific and unlikely results throughout several of Sunday's games for Denver to still sneak in.

Beyond that, there are a few Chiefs who have a chance at achieving some notable milestones.

As numerous outlets have discussed throughout the week, Jamaal Charles is just 139 yards shy of a 1,000-yard rushing campaign. The 1,000-yard mark has lost some luster since the expansion to a 16-game season, but for Charles – who didn't take over as KC's starting running back until Week 9 – it would be an impressive accomplishment.

Interestingly, the last team to hold Charles under 100 yards was the Denver Broncos, so putting up 139 Sunday won't be easy. But if the score stays close enough for the Chiefs to keep feeding Charles, he could always break a big run that puts him over the top.

If the Chiefs do have to rely on the passing game come Sunday, Matt Cassel is just 283 yards shy of a 3,000-yard season. Only once this year – two weeks ago against Cleveland – has Cassel actually thrown for 283 yards or more, so this one might be a bit out of reach. But with a big day through the air, it's certainly obtainable.

Looking at the other side of the ball, Tamba Hali – who enters Sunday's game with 7.5 sacks – is just one sack away from setting a new career high. His current record was set his rookie season, when he had eight.

It might be wishful thinking, but given Hali's last performance against Denver, it's not outside the realm of possibility that his sack total could crack double-digits for the first time in his career. Of course, it stands to reason that stopping Hali will be a key part of the Broncos' game plan this time around.

On a more dubious note, the Chiefs – after setting the single-season sack futility record in 2008 – are rapidly closing in on another shameful record: the most dropped passes in a season.

Because of the subjective nature of the "drops" statistic, what the record actually is and how close the Chiefs are to it depends on which source you get your information from. STATS Inc. has the record at 54, set by the 1992 Miami Dolphins. Others have the record at 51, shared by the 1995 Jets and 2003 Detroit Lions.

Everyone agrees, however, that the Chiefs are just a few drops shy of making those distinctions moot. Avoiding that record is one more thing the team can accomplish in their final game of the season.

Prior to last month's game with Denver, we discussed the search for a new "Bronco Killer."

Without question, the player who did his best to seize that title was Hali, who notched three sacks of Denver quarterback Kyle Orton while also forcing two fumbles in the process. That's a Bronco Killer stat line to be sure, but it's a bit premature to crown Hali.

The main drawback is that Hali has no previous record of dominance against Denver. Before this season, he had only amassed 2.5 sacks in six games against Denver. Was his three-sack explosion a sign of things to come? Or was it just a fluke?

It's going to take more than one game to elevate Hali to Bronco Killer status, but another big performance on Sunday could help him sew it up.

Happy New Year to all the readers of Warpaint Illustrated.

The hiring of Scott Pioli, the firing of Herm Edwards, the trade of Tony Gonzalez, and the release of Larry Johnson were just a few of the major stories that impacted the Chiefs in 2009.

What surprises will 2010 have in store for us? Whatever happens, you can read about it right here at WPI.

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