The bye week couldn’t have come soon enough for the Kansas City Chiefs. They get a much needed respite this week following their 1-5 start to the season. Then its back to Arrowhead Stadium in Week 8 for a seemingly winnable game against the Oakland Raiders Oct. 28.
The Chiefs entered their bye week on a three-game losing streak that was capped by a particularly disheartening blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6. The issues have been numerous for the Chiefs this season and using these two weeks correctly may be their last chance to get things turned around.
First and foremost will be deciding on who plays quarterback against the Raiders. Matt Cassel was largely a disappointment through the season’s first five games and then missed the Tampa game because of a concussion. Journeyman Brady Quinn filled in against the Bucs’ and also struggled.
Head coach Romeo Crennel noted early in the week that Cassel had yet to receive a medical clearance and the topic would be evaluated after that point.
The only real bright spot for the Chiefs has been the play of running back Jaamal Charles. He leads the NFL with 591 rushing yards this season and has ripped off several big plays, which is something the Chiefs desperately need given the lack of offensive consistency displayed to this point.
If the Chiefs somehow do manage to recover from their poor start, it figures Charles will have to maintain something close to that production for the remainder of the season. That certainly sounds reasonable for a talent like Charles. However, it’s worth considering he is just a season removed from a torn ACL that cost him all but the first two weeks of the 2011 season. Charles has shown zero negative effects from the injury to this point, but 10 straight weeks of football will still remain for the Chiefs following the bye.
With that said, Charles could be primed for another big game following the bye when you consider the week of extra rest and the Raiders 25th-ranked run defense.
Chiefs versus Raiders is a long-standing rivalry game that still carries juice in both cities, which is good because barring something unforeseen happening there’s really not much on the line this year as far as playoff implications. If the Chiefs have a good two weeks of preparation perhaps they will beat the week 8 NFL odds.