“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
-Former Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel.
After any game there are obvious things to point to that clearly illustrate why the game’s outcome makes sense.
More importantly, there is reason for a Chiefs fan to possess (what many consider misplaced) optimism.
As painful as it may be, a fan must maintain some semblance of optimism. It’s an emotional investment in a team that can transcend the monstrous paychecks of the NFL and helps inspire a team to fight with a competitive drive that makes fans proud.
“Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A "you can do it" when things are tough.”
-Author and businessman Richard M. Devos.
This article is by no means a prediction that the Kansas City Chiefs will emerge victorious in week one. Rather, this is a declaration that such an outcome is not an impossibility.
To the rebellious, loyal Chiefs fan, behold!
With so much attention being paid to the dilapidated offensive line, the injury to starting quarterback Matt Cassel, and the inability to get into the end zone, it is easy to overlook the improvements the team has made on defense.
The transition to the 3-4 defense already shows benefits. The run defense has been stout.
The team totals for Chiefs' opponents in the preseason for rushing yards are as follows:
With an all time NFL low of 10 sacks last season, the defense showed a more impressive pass rush blitzing out of the 3-4 this preseason.
In four games of “vanilla” defense, the Chiefs accumulated seven sacks. This would put the team on pace for 28 sacks in a 16-game season. Hardly monstrous, but it moves them from 32nd ranked to tied for the 22 spot among team sack totals.
Cornerback Brandon Flowers and safety DaJuan Morgan add an interception apiece to the defensive stats.
What does any of this matter?
The Baltimore Ravens are a rushing team. Former Rutgers stand out running back Ray Rice is expected to have a breakout season, beginning with a monstrous game against the Chiefs. Rice splits carries with last year’s starter Willis McGahee and with bruising fullback Le’ron McClain getting a few touches as well.
Should the Chiefs be able to stifle the run early, they will have a chance to win this game.
Quite simply, Joe Flacco is not a great quarterback. Not to say he won’t be, but 14 touchdowns to 12 interceptions while throwing for under 3,000 yards are not scary numbers.
If the running game is held in check and Baltimore forced into 2nd- and 3rd-and-long, then the blitz packages should rattle the young quarterback and force some bad decisions and stir up some key turnovers.
The struggles of the Kansas City offense are impossible to ignore. However, the team has shown competency in moving the ball, but have simply been unable to go in for six.
Head coach and offensive coordinator Todd Haley will find a few red zone plays catered to this matchup.
Should the team be able to force some key turnovers on the Ravens' side of the field and capitalize, an upset could be in the works.
If the Chiefs do pull a week one upset, these are a few likely reasons that the outcome would “make sense.”