You also already know that the Chiefs will win, and Arrowhead will be insane and KC will still be undefeated and riding high atop the AFC West. There will be jubilation in the parking lot, and lots of boisterous, projectile vomiting before, during and after the game.
This is all a given.
What you may NOT realize, however, is just how important it is for the Chiefs to absolutely demolish the Browns. Take them out behind the woodshed. Mud-holes must be stomped, and so forth.
See, scraping by on 17-16 victories against battered NFL teams showcasing a shiny new quarterback making his first NFL start will only get you so far.
Though the vaunted KC defense stepped up when it mattered the most—in the 4th quarter with the outcome still very up in the air—it was a “squeaker,” to be sure.
A victory, yes, but one without many comforts.
Tooth-skin victories only carry a team so far in this league. At some point, you need a statement win. And although a victory over a really good team like the Denver Broncos (regardless of the final score, really) would be just that, they could also do it by beating an inferior team like the Browns by 30 points.
This isn’t the only reason the Chiefs need to obliterate Cleveland on Sunday, though.
As it stands, his feet are gnarled, monstrous blister-bags that would serve to make even the most seasoned gore-hound cringe. His body has been battered and beaten to the tune of 135 carries—only Philadelphia’s LeSean MCoy and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch have had more—which puts him on pace for over 300 rushes this year. (His previous career high was last year’s 285.) Historically, life has not been kind to running backs who carry the ball 300+ times. According to Yahoo! fantasy football writer Joe Fortenbaugh, “of those 75 instances in which a running back recorded 300 or more carries in a season, 55 (73.3%) went on to score fewer fantasy points the following year.” And while “fantasy football” isn’t exactly “science,” it’s statistically based (obviously) and typically, reasonably indicative of a player’s effectiveness.
If the Chiefs are up by, oh, say, three scores at the half, they can seriously lighten Charles’ workload in quarters three and four. It would enable backup Knile Davis to fumble all over the field for a while, and maybe Cyrus Gray could get a shot to pad his heroic 1.6 yards per game.
Let the Defense Rest, by God.
Kind of sort-of similar to the Jamaal Charles thing. Though the offense hasn’t been ATROCIOUS at extending drives, they’ve routinely failed to put games out of reach. Because of this, the defense has found itself disproportionately responsible for the final outcome on an almost weekly basis. AND BOY ARE THEIR ARMS TIRED.
Justin Houston is banged up enough that it’s beginning to show. Stalwart linebacker Derrick Johnson is hurt as well. Brandon Flowers hasn’t been Brandon Flowers for a majority of the season due to lingering injuries.
Oh sure, they’re all playing because WARRIORS! HEART OF A CHAMPION! LION ROAR! but at noticeably diminished capacities. With their bye-week so late in the season, they need a break. By jumping out to an early, substantial lead, head coach Andy Reid can take it easy on some of the guys who figure to be key components come playoff time.
Though the Chiefs Don’t Owe Anyone Anything, Maybe it Would Shut Some People Up.
Because everyone’s favorite counter-argument to the Chiefs impressive start is, “YEAH, WELL THEY AIN’T PLAYED NOBODY GOOD.” And while I know that the Browns aren’t exactly the ’85 Bears, they’re better than the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Giants and the Oakland Raiders. (You know, because the NFL always makes a ton of sense.) While a victory won’t silence the most vocal of detractors, a thorough curb-stomping will certainly add a measure of veracity.
For more descriptions of Jamaal Charles’ feet, follow me on Twitter, @StanfordWhistle