The Bengals have been linked to what some experts call the second toughest schedule in the NFL this season. I don't put much faith in those statements as there is so much change from year to year in the NFL. However, the Bengals do face a tough opponent in Week 4: the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kansas City Chiefs
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Sunday, October 4th, 1:00pm
Andy Reid, back for a third season
Recapping Last Season:
The highlight of last season for the Chiefs could be in the record they set. Having been to Kansas City, I understand firsthand how passionate the fans are for this franchise. With an older "open air" stadium that was not designed around crowd noise, the fans here are still able to crank it up. Last season against the Patriots the fans set the record for crowd noise in an NFL stadium. As far as the product on the field, the team and fans were left with disappointment as the Chiefs failed to match their 2013 record of 11-5 and failed to make the playoffs. To add insult to injury, the Chiefs beat both teams that faced off in the Super Bowl during the season. One other interesting note regarding the Chiefs' 2014 campaign was they never completed a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. Zero scores from a wide out in a season is an accomplishment that doesn't usually net great results on the record.
You may remember the Chiefs took the Patriots to task in a crushing 41-14 defeat. This not only showed the type of team the Chiefs could be, but also allowed the Patriots the chance at a redemption game against the Bengals. They took their frustrations out on Cincinnati to the tune of a 43-17 butt kicking.
2015 Season Outlook:
The Chiefs are really in a battle with the Denver Broncos for the AFC West crown. It does not look like the San Diego Chargers or Oakland Raiders are ready to compete for the title this season. As strange as it may sound, a lot in this division rides on the play of Peyton Manning. Many predict a down year and this would allow for the Chiefs to sit on top of the rankings for this group. The Chiefs have a quarterback who many compare to what the Bengals have. Alex Smith is not going to be the guy that can put a team on his back but is an accurate serviceable player who performs well when surrounded by talent. A lot of that talent comes from running back Jamaal Charles. He is one of the most threatening backs in the league if he is not contained. He can hurt a team in the running and passing attack and needs to be accounted for at all times.
Kansas City’s strength is probably their defense. Led by Justin Houston, the Chiefs' front seven can put relentless pressure on an opposing quarterback and be a disruptive force for an offense. If the team stays healthy, the Chiefs are probably looking for a spot in the playoffs.
Very Early Outlook:
This is a battle of two very good teams who have dealt with health issues over the past couple of seasons. If both teams are good to go on October 4th, this is a potential playoff preview. Both teams are looking to take their individual divisions and this game, even early in the season, could have playoff seeding implications. I like the Bengals' defense even more than what the Chiefs offer. There are similar players and the Bengals also can cause havoc in the backfield for opposing offenses. The offensive skill players the Bengals boast in the passing game are far superior to what the Chiefs offer. Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard can be the running back combination that could neutralize the Kansas City pass rush and create opportunities for the offense. If I handicapped this game, I would set the Bengals as a +4 favorite.