Kansas City Chiefs Primed for Playoff Run

Mike SettleContributor IDecember 1, 2010

Cassel and the Chiefs have found their groove.
Cassel and the Chiefs have found their groove.

As the Josh McDaniels led Denver Broncos head to Kansas City for the latest installment of the Chiefs-Broncos rivalry, they face the Matt Cassel led Chiefs that they allowed to become a powerhouse offense.

It began about mid-way through the 3rd quarter of Kansas City's fluke meltdown in Week 10.

When Denver took a 35-0 lead over Kansas City in the 2nd quarter, Matt Cassel and the Chiefs offense were forced to sling the ball around the field and develop a new kind of chemistry.

The Kansas City Chiefs are well known for being a strong rushing team. They only throw when they have to, such as third and long for example, though in some cases they still run the ball.

But when the Broncos steamrolled Kansas City, they didn't just give the team a wake-up call. They also helped expand the Chiefs' passing playbook, and forced Matt Cassel to become sharper, quicker and more decisive with the ball.

While Champ Bailey was getting roasted, Dwayne Bowe was learning and maturing during the pass happy second half. The prospect of a good connection between Cassel and Bowe blossomed into a full throttle elite passing attack that has expanded in recent weeks.

The typically timid throwing Cassel has now turned into a confident, Drew Brees emulating quarterback, who isn't afraid to take shots downfield and rifle passes to his playmakers such as Dwayne Bowe.

Since halftime of that loss to Denver, the Chiefs have managed to score 92 points in just two and half games. Teams can no longer put eight in the box to stop the explosive rushing attack; now, they are forced to respect the possibility of a pass as well.

The Chiefs were already a blue chip rushing offense and now have a confident passing attack that could help propel their sixth ranked offense even higher. Kansas City will now return home to Arrowhead and attempt to dismantle a Broncos team that gave them a slap in the face just three weeks ago.

Defensively, Kansas City will be looking to rebound after allowing 42 points in its previous matchup.  The Chiefs shut down Arizona two weeks ago, and they forced Seattle to become one dimensional on its own turf.

At home this season, the Chiefs have the best defense in the NFL, allowing only 13.4 points per game. And their average margin of victory is a league best 14.2 points per game.

Even those dominant numbers don't show the full picture, as both San Francisco and Arizona scored last second meaningless touchdowns to help improve their stats.

This weekend, the Chiefs and Todd Haley have something to fight for: not only vengeance, but also control over the AFC West, and the right to settle this division in week 14 against San Diego.

After this weekend, the AFC West is on the line, and Matt Cassel and the Chiefs offense are primed to make a run at the playoffs.