Kansas City Chiefs vs. Seattle Seahawks: Can the Chiefs Overcome the 12th Man?

Kyle VassaloFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2010

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Free safety Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with fans after the Seahawks defeated the San Diego Chargers 27-20 at Qwest Field on September 26, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010 4:05 p.m. EST

Line: Kansas City -1

Overview

The 6-4 Chiefs are a hit-or-miss football team. When they are at home, they hit. On the road, they miss. Arrowhead could be the best home-field advantage in the league. The Chiefs are a dismal 1-4 on the road this season. If they want to continue to reign supreme in the AFC West, they will need to start putting together victories on the road.

The 5-5 Seahawks could also have the best home-field advantage in the NFL. Qwest field is an obnoxiously loud stadium that makes opposing offenses flustered and out of sorts. Playing football deaf is a skill that the Chiefs are going to need to have in their arsenal, should they succeed against the 12th man.

The Seahawks are in first place at 5-5, but they have lost three of their last four games. Both teams sit atop the worst divisions in football. Can the Chiefs steal one on the road in such a hostile environment?

Keys to the Game

  • It may be being beaten to death, but the Chiefs still have the best running attack in the NFL. The Seahawks have a defense that is more geared to stopping the run than the pass, but the Chiefs certainly have the upper hand in this outing. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones should both be able to have solid days. Seattle doesn’t have great speed and while they have sure-tackling linebackers, Charles in particular is nearly untouchable in open space.
  • Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams could have the most curious injury of the season thus far. The Seahawks aren’t really disclosing much information about the foot injury and he is being listed as a game-time decision. In his last two games, Williams has 17 catches for 254 yards. He has had a huge year for the Seahawks and without his presence the already struggling Seattle offense takes a huge hit.
  • Okay Matt Cassel, it’s your time to prove you are the franchise quarterback some fans want to believe you are. It is inaccurate to say any NFL win is an easy win, but when you are the starting quarterback for the Chiefs at Arrowhead, coming away with a number of victories should be well in your grasp. What is very telling of Cassel this season is his inability to come away with wins on the road. The losses don’t all fall upon Cassel, especially the Denver game where he threw for 469 yards, but he needs to come up with big-time clutch throws at the end of games to be the difference on the road, as he does at Arrowhead. The losses fall on the team, but if Cassel wants to prove to Kansas City fans he is worth the fortune they paid for him, he needs a signature win on the road.
  • What has gotten into Chris Clemons this season? The seventh-year pro is dominating in the Pete Carrol system, racking up 7.5 sacks. He is a specimen with surprising athleticism, which is the prototypical description for a defensive end dating back to Carrol’s USC days. Cassel doesn’t have too bad of a problem getting the ball off, but the Chiefs have to account for Clemons coming off the edge.

Key Matchup

Kansas City vs. Qwest Field

  • This is the ultimate challenge for the Chiefs. This game would be interesting if it was on a neutral field, as both teams have such a great home-field advantage. The Chiefs need to stay disciplined on offense and not let the crowd noise force them to make mental errors. This will be very telling of their resiliency and they will not face a tougher place to play all season long.

Wrap-Up

I think the Chiefs are a better team. The Seahawks looked terrible last week and while the Chiefs struggle on the road, Seattle has some glaring holes that need to be addressed. Matt Hasselbeck is back, but even he has been a liability at times this season. I like the Chiefs to put it together this week, though the location could be the difference in this matchup.

Free NFL Pick: Kansas City -1