Week 14 Preview: Chiefs @ Redskins

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Anybody looking for signs of panic out of the Chiefs, who have lost three straight after a 9-0 start, better look elsewhere.

The message received from coaches and players throughout the week surrounded unity in the face of adversity as the team travels to Washington to take on the Redskins (3-9).

Dec 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass during the second half of the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass during the second half of the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

“They know that they’ve won some games and that they’ve lost the last couple, they understand that,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of his team. “I think it’s important that you stick with the process. It’s important to trust that and believe in it, they’re learning that as you go through.”

Quarterback Alex Smith agreed.

“I think everybody is looking just to get a little better, everybody,” Smith said. “Let’s just turn it up just a little bit. I don’t think anyone needs to do anything crazy at all, just kind of continue to do what we have been doing.”

As Smith indicates, cooler heads appear to be present throughout the locker room as the Chiefs recover from facing the Denver Broncos twice and the San Diego Chargers in the past three weeks.

Still, should the Chiefs be overly concerned with the playoffs looming on the horizon?

Not necessarily, as the players prefer to stick with the proven formula they used to start the season with a view to right the ship.

“We haven’t won a game in three weeks, there is kind of a sense of urgency, but not really to the point of we’re trying to make things work,” wide receiver A.J. Jenkins said. “We’re just going out there to play football and we’re going to go out with our A-game Sunday and we’ll see what happens.”

And what could happen Sunday is clinching a playoff berth with a win against Washington, and then receive some outside help from the Minnesota Vikings or Pittsburgh Steelers.

Those scenarios keep the Chiefs focused on finishing strong as a team.

“I think that if guys start listening to what’s going on outside these walls, how we’re going to respond, is this team falling apart, this and that, that’s when the bad things happen,” cornerback Sean Smith said. “But we have great guys in this building, great character, things like that, we’ll be all right.”

Tale of the tape

Offense

• The Chiefs rank 11th in rushing (124 yards per game) and 24th in passing (213.3 yards per game).
• The Redskins rank first in rushing (150.4 yards per game) and 16th in passing (235.8 yards per game).

Defense

• The Chiefs rank 21st against the run (117.3 yards allowed per game) and 21st against the pass (249 yards allowed per game).
• The Redskins rank 14th against the run (108.8 yards allowed per game) and 27th against the pass (265.3 yards allowed per game).

The last time

The Chiefs defeated the Redskins 14-6 in Week 6 of the 2009 season to snap a five-game losing streak to start the year.

The Chiefs are 7-1 all-time against Washington, with the Chiefs only loss going back to Week 3 of the 1983 season.

Kansas City’s seven wins against the Redskins marks the most against any team in the NFC East.

Garcon has secondary’s respect

After facing a plethora of receiving weapons from the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers in the past three games, the embattled Chiefs secondary could have a reprieve Sunday.

Because when it comes to the Redskins receiving corps, there’s wide receiver Pierre Garcon, and then everybody else.

Garcon is third in the NFL with 84 catches and his 980 yards receiving ranks 11th. He’s been targeted a team-high 133 times.

The next closest in targets is tight end Jordan Reed with 59, which he’s turned into 45 catches for 599 yards.

Still, the Chiefs aren’t taking Washington’s passing game lightly despite what appears to be only one bona fide wide receiver threat on the opposing roster.

“In the NFL, it’s any given Sunday,” Chiefs cornerback Ron Parker said. “All the guys are good, this is the NFL and every receiver in the league is good. You never know and you have to approach every game like it’s the last one, take it one game at a time.”

Cornerback Sean Smith agreed, adding compliments to Washington’s No. 1 receiver.

“Pierre Garcon is a great wide receiver, he makes a ton of plays, he’s great with the balls in his hands, especially after the catch,” Smith said. “They love to try and feature him the passing game, he’s somebody we have to keep a close eye on, tight coverage, just go out there and play the same way we’ve played all year.”

Contingency plans

The Chiefs will be without starters left tackle Branden Albert (knee), tight end Anthony Fasano (concussion, knee) and outside linebacker Justin Houston (elbow), all of whom have been ruled out.

Second-year pro Donald Stephenson draws the start in Albert place, while rookie right tackle Eric Fisher returns to his position. Geoff Schwartz will start at right guard over Jon Asamoah, coach Andy Reid said earlier in the week.

The Chiefs will go with Sean McGrath in Fasano’s place and the team is expected to elevate tight end Dominque Jones from the practice squad to the active roster before Sunday’s game.

Linebacker Frank Zombo will start a second straight week in Houston’s place.

Quotable

Chiefs offensive lineman Donald Stephenson on if there’s extra motivation given the doubt surrounding the team from some media:

“Even when we were 9-0, we were being doubted,” Donaldson said.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid response to Kansas City Star reporter Randy Covitz when asked about a 10-4 record at FedEx Field:

“You don’t miss anything,” Reid told Covitz. “I didn’t know that.”

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III on fellow Texas native Derrick Johnson:

“Oh yeah, he’s a play maker,” Griffin said during Wednesday’s media conference call.

Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith on why the team isn’t pushing any panic buttons after losing three straight:

“I understand we’re in a three-game losing streak, but we’re 9-3, we’re sitting in a pretty good position,” Smith said. “Last time I checked, we’re still in the running for the playoffs. I mean, we haven’t been eliminated or anything like that.”

Prediction

The weather could play a role Sunday, as the forecast calls for a 100 percent chance of precipitation, a wintry mix of snow and ice, with temperatures hovering in the low to mid 30s.

Obviously, not exactly ideal conditions for an aerial shootout between Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. But the anticipated conditions are right up the alley for a running game, an area both teams thrive upon.

It’s more than realistic to expect ground-and-pound on both sides between Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and Redskins running back Alfred Morris, who anchors the NFL’s top rushing attack.

Then again, Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan aren’t exactly known for going with conventional wisdom.

Ultimately, Sunday boils down to who wants it more.

The Redskins have nothing to play for except pride, while the Chiefs have an eye to the postseason.

As with the Chiefs’ earlier nine wins, it won’t be pretty, especially if the winter-like weather conditions have a say.

But three weeks of frustration ends Sunday behind Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop.

Outcome: Chiefs 19, Redskins 13

——-

Friday’s official NFL Injury Report, as released by the league:

Kansas City Chiefs

Out: T Branden Albert (knee), TE Anthony Fasano (concussion, knee), LB Justin Houston (elbow)
Probable: G Jeff Allen (groin, knee), WR Donnie Avery (shoulder), DE Mike Devito (knee), C Rodney Hudson (elbow), WR Dexter McCluster (wrist), CB Ron Parker (shoulder), RB Anthony Sherman (knee, ankle)

Practice Report

Did not practice

Wednesday:: T Branden Albert (knee), TE Anthony Fasano (concussion, knee), LB Justin Houston (elbow), WR Dexter McCluster (not injury related)
Thursday:: T Branden Albert (knee), TE Anthony Fasano (concussion, knee), LB Justin Houston (elbow)
Friday:: T Branden Albert (knee), TE Anthony Fasano (concussion, knee), LB Justin Houston (elbow)

Limited participation

Wednesday: DE Mike Devito (knee), S Kendrick Lewis (knee)

Full participation

Wednesday: G Jeff Allen (groin, knee), G Jon Asamoah (shoulder), WR Donnie Avery (shoulder), T Eric Fisher (shoulder), LB Tamba Hali (ankle), C Rodney Hudson (elbow), WR A.J. Jenkins (hand), CB Ron Parker (shoulder), OL Geoff Schwartz (biceps), FB Anthony Sherman (knee, ankle)
Thursday: G Jeff Allen (groin, knee), WR Donnie Avery (shoulder), DE Mike Devito (knee), LB Tamba Hali (ankle), C Rodney Hudson (elbow), WR A.J. Jenkins (hand), S Kendrick Lewis (knee), CB Ron Parker (shoulder), OL Geoff Schwartz (biceps), FB Anthony Sherman (knee, ankle)
Friday: G Jeff Allen (groin, knee), WR Donnie Avery (shoulder), DE Mike Devito (knee), C Rodney Hudson (elbow), WR Dexter McCluster (wrist), CB Ron Parker (shoulder), FB Anthony Sherman (knee, ankle)

Washington Redskins

Questionable: S Reed Doughty (concussion, shoulder), S Brandon Meriweather (chest), TE Jordan Reed (concussion), RB Darrel Young (hamstring)
Probable: LB London Fletcher (ankle), CB DeAngelo Hall (hip, back), TE Niles Paul (illness), T Trent Williams (foot)

Practice Report

Did not practice

Wednesday: S Reed Doughty (concussion, shoulder), S Brandon Meriweather (chest), TE Jordan Reed (concussion), T Trent Williams (foot)

Limited participation

Wednesday: LB London Fletcher (ankle), CB DeAngelo Hall (hip, back), RB Darrel Young (hamstring)
Thursday: S Reed Doughty (concussion, shoulder), S Brandon Meriweather (chest), TE Jordan Reed (concussion), RB Darrel Young (hamstring)
Friday: TE Jordan Reed (concussion), RB Darrel Young (hamstring)

Full participation

Wednesday: TE Niles Paul (illness)
Thursday: LB London Fletcher (ankle), CB DeAngelo Hall (hip, back), TE Niles Paul (illness), T Trent Williams (foot)
Friday: S Reed Doughty (concussion, shoulder), LB London Fletcher (ankle), CB DeAngelo Hall (hip, back), S Brandon Meriweather (chest), TE Niles Paul (illness), T Trent Williams (foot)

Share this post:

Related Posts