The Chiefs are less than three days away from what is inarguably their biggest test in 10 years. Not since the 2003 season’s playoff matchup against the Indianapolis Colts has a game meant this much. (I’m excusing 2010’s anomaly from the conversation because that team was pretty terrible and I don’t think ANYONE rationally expected them to do anything against the Baltimore Ravens.)
Sunday night in Denver—hopefully in cold, snowy conditions (there’s a shot, and Peyton Manning is less effective in adverse weather)—Kansas City will battle the Broncos for AFC supremacy. This game means everything, and although a loss certainly doesn’t KILL KC, a win would cement their legitimacy as the NFL’s best team.
And although nobody outside of the KC Metro is likely expecting them to enact an upset, we all know better. After all, this is the NFL, where even the Jacksonville Jaguars can win a game.
Here’s what Kansas City must do to win.
Look, we don’t like to wish injury upon ANYONE, right? It’s heartless and barbaric, and we’re civilized, damnit. But if Peyton Manning were to slip on his steps—maybe because Andy Reid broke into his palatial estate and coated his staircase with KFC chicken skins, maybe not—if this were to happen, and Manning’s already tender ankle succumbed to the slip, that would be helpful. Very helpful.
But if the Chiefs are against such tactics—and obviously, I *ahem* applaud their commitment to professionalism—there are still other ways to win.
It Would be Helpful if Manning DOESN’T Throw Five or Six or Seven Touchdowns
Four is a bit much too, really, and three is pushing the limit of what will and won’t be acceptable, but if he throws, oh, let’s say two or more touchdowns, it could spell disaster for the scrappy young lads from Missouri. After all, we know that KC is a team built on defense and cautious offensive scheming—they simply cannot be asked to score more than three of their OWN touchdowns, so it is imperative that they limit Manning’s output.
It Would be Helpful if Alex Smith Can Throw Three Touchdowns of his Own
But hey, seriously—he did it once this season, against the New York Giants, and he’s done it MULTIPLE times in his career. Don’t ask him to throw four, though, because what is he, a fucking wizard? Please.
The Defense Needs to Dominate
It may seem like a tall order, but it would be AWESOME and WAY HELPFUL if the Chiefs vaunted “D” could maybe play like they were playing a bit earlier this season. If they sack Manning at least double-digit times and create at least six turnovers, it will definitely increase their odds of possibly having a chance to win. They’ve got the ferocity in them—we witnessed it many times in the early going—but it would be great to do it against an offense that runs as efficiently as the Denver Broncos.
And very helpful.
Simply put, this is the simplest key to victory. It’s a time-tested and scientifically thorough truth that in the NFL, the team who scores the most points in the contest wins the game. (Almost always, I’m told.) So if the Chiefs can find a way to end the game (even if play extends beyond regulation) having tallied more points than their opponent, they will absolutely win this game. 100% of the time, and no matter what else happens.