Three weeks into the NFL season, and there are just two undefeated teams left, and your Kansas City Chiefs are one of them – undefeated in the first three for the second time under Andy Reid. The wins they’ve rattled off have been more impressive than when they did it in 2013. At Arrowhead on Monday Night, they’ll take on the 2-1 Washington Redskins, who handled their own business in a statement win over the Raiders last Sunday Night, holding the Raiders under 100 yards of offense until the waning moments of the game. Instead of giving five keys to victory, I’m going to list four players (and a collection of people) I’m watching for the Chiefs.
1. Travis Kelce
After ripping the Eagles for 8-103 and a score, he caught his only target of the game last weekend for one yard. Social media was awash with speculation as to why he his usage was so criminally low. With Josh Norman locking down whichever receiver enters his zone, look for the Chiefs to use the middle of the field to move the ball. I fully expect Kelce to get back on track this week.
2. Derrick Johnson and Ramik Wilson
The Redskins may not have any big-name backs, but the trio of “Fat Rob” Kelley, Samaje Perine, and Chris Thompson is a unique backfield where each back brings a different skillset. The Chiefs rendered the Chargers running game mostly ineffective, but with backs that get yards after contact, they’ll need to dig their heels in as to not get run over. Don’t forget Thompson is coming off a 100-yard receiving game.
3. Phillip Gaines
For seemingly the umpteenth year in a row, he’s one of the league’s worst corners. Against one of the NFL’s better slot receivers (Jamison Crowder), he’ll have his hands full. Crowder has gotten off to a slow start this season, but if Gaines can hold off his breakout another week, it’ll make things easier for…
4. Chris Jones
Jones was good as a rookie, but this year he’s become even better. Runs his way are doing little, and he’s still applying more pressure than some linebackers. Kirk Cousins historically doesn’t do well under pressure, so it will be fun to see how affects Jones the Washington passer.
5. Arrowhead Stadium
The Chiefs have already had their home opener, and the Eagles were victims of a few pre-snap penalties. This time, it’s quite different. The Arrowhead crowd is a far more possessed beast at night, and many good quarterbacks have faltered under its lights. Tom Brady did two years ago, Derek Carr completed less than fifteen passes last season, and while the Steelers won, Big Ben was held without a touchdown in the playoff match. If the Chiefs get ahead, it could spell the end for Washington.
Prediction: Kirk Cousins gets to see what a quality defense looks like, and Travis Kelce goes off for 140 yards and THREE scores. Chiefs 31-17.
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