Take Five: Arizona

Posted Nov 20, 2010

Five to watch this weekend vs. Arizona

After two straight division games the Chiefs move outside of the AFC West this weekend. Even though the Arizona Cardinals represent an inter-conference foe, the stakes that surround Sunday’s contest remain nearly just as high. 

Sunday is a big day for Kansas City’s 2010 playoff hopes and there’s a lot of familiarity involved on each sideline. There’s no time to waste. This is the time and place to get back on track.

Let’s “Take Five” for Sunday…

1.    Feed The Animal

The Chiefs are a perfect 4-0 at home, while Arizona is 1-4 on the road this season. If there’s any place to get the season back on track, its Arrowhead.

Arrowhead’s x-factor has returned this season and the Chiefs need to involve their 12th man from the opening kickoff. The Kansas City faithful will be ready from the get-go. It’s up to the players to feed off of that early energy.  

2.    Who’s Hungrier?

Combined, these two teams are losers of six straight games. It’s not often that losses can pile up they way they have, with both teams still being a part of their respective division races. Living in the AFC and NFC West divisions has proven to yield some uncharacteristic situations.

Both teams were lit up by division rivals last weekend, but are still very much a part of their respective division races. Arizona is in last place, but only two games behind the first place Seahawks. The Chiefs, on the other hand, have fallen “behind” Oakland after leading the AFC West standings all season long.

For each of these teams, this might as well be a division game. Sunday represents an elimination game for Arizona and a turning point for Kansas City.

3.    The Offensive Line

Kansas City’s offensive line has been a strong point for most of 2010. The Chiefs rank as the league’s top rushing offense and have been among the NFL’s least-sacked units throughout 2010. Whenever those two things happen, there’s no question that the offensive line is playing at a high level.

Running the football effectively and protecting the quarterback will obviously be key factors in defeating Arizona this weekend. What’s questionable (literally) is who will be doing the protecting.

With Brian Waters (groin) and Ryan Lilja (foot) both questionable because of injury, the Chiefs may rely on rookie Jon Asamoah, and even another reserve player, to play significant snaps on Sunday. How Kansas City’s offensive line situation shakes out and /or produces this weekend is something to keep an eye on.

4.    By The Numbers

Exactly what do the Arizona Cardinals hang their hats on? WR Larry Fitzgerald is one of the NFL’s most exciting players and the Cards defense has a proven history of turning in explosive plays, but what defines the 2010 Arizona Cardinals?

When reviewing league offensive and defensive rankings, Arizona is struggling mightily across the board. The Cardinals rank near the bottom of most every major statistical category, and they’ve been a mistake prone team over their four-game losing streak as well.

Last week, the Chiefs were defeated across the board against a team that was struggling in a number of different fronts. Will Kansas City be able to answer the call on Sunday?

5.    Chiefs Football

Where has the Chiefs brand of football been hiding these past two weeks?

Penalty numbers are up, rushing totals are down and giveaways are coming into play far too often.  The Chiefs desperately need to put an end to this disturbing trend of play. “Chiefs Football” needs to return once again in front of the hometown crowd.

A mixture of factors helped the Chiefs become a 5-2 football team, but those same factors haven’t been present in recent weeks. Kansas City is now teetering on a dip back to the .500 mark. Its time to re-discover the traits that have seen Kansas City lead the division for the first half of 2010.

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