From the Armchair: Kansas City Chiefs, Week 4
Looking ahead tends to be a curse, but it is not too hard to imagine a scenario in which the Chiefs are 11-0 going into their Week 11 showdown in Denver with the Broncos. At Tennessee this coming week is a tough game, but the Titans will be starting backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in place of injured starter Jake Locker. After that KC gets a 3-game home stand against Oakland, Houston and Cleveland before traveling to Buffalo. All are winnable games, and if the Chiefs keep playing the way they've been playing, they should be favored in all of them.
So how have they been doing it? It starts with the NFL's No. 1 defense. Pestering quarterbacks, tackling in space and tight coverage are staples of KC's early-season play.
So what about Sunday? I admit, I was on a plane (without live television) for the entire Chiefs-Giants game, so my takeaways are based on re-watching highlights and will be brief.
Alex Smith is human. Through 3 games, remarkably, the Chiefs had not turned the ball over once. That begins with the quarterback, and on Sunday, Smith proved human by throwing 2 interceptions (the second was 50 percent fluky and 50 percent an absurd catch my Antrell Rolle). The first pick was worse. Smith locked in on Dwayne Bowe and Prince Amukamara jumped the route. Smith was the game manager KC needs on Sunday, and he still played a strong game, but he did give it away.
Dexter McCluster can make plays. He returned a punt for a TD in his first NFL game, and every since then I think Chiefs fans have been waiting, waiting, waiting for him to become a stud. Well, he had one of those moments on Sunday that showed why he needs the ball in his hands. If you haven't seen the video of his punt return, watch it. There may have been some loose jock straps on the field afterwards.
The Giants are a mess. The Jets were supposed to be New York's disaster, but the Jets are a respectable 2-2, while the Giants are 0-4 following a second straight blowout loss. New York can't run the football and can't protect Eli Manning, which makes it hard to score points. It looks like it'll be a long season for Big Blue.