The Seahawks play the Chiefs in Kansas City this Friday, so to give you a quick preview of some things to watch, I talked to the famous Joel Thorman, of Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride). Here's what he had to say about the upcoming old-AFC West grudge-match.
My questions in bold, his replies follow.
1. Which Chiefs offensive player are you most excited to watch, and why?
I'm still most excited to see Jeremy Maclin. He caught a pass last week against the Cardinals in his first game as a Chief, so I would like to continue to see more action from him. He came in here on a big contract and is supposed to be the new No. 1 receiver, so I want to see what kind of role the Chiefs have in mind for him this year. I always want to see him get the ball in space with a chance to make a play to see that speed in action.
2. Which Chiefs defensive player are you most excited to watch, and why?
Marcus Peters, the cornerback out of Washington the Chiefs took in the first round. He certainly looks like he's going to be a good cornerback -- he's got the size and in practice seems to know what's going on. So there is some optimism around him. The Chiefs top corner, Sean Smith, will be missing the first three games of the season so Peters will be stepping into that role. There's nothing quite like a "Welcome to the NFL" moment than facing Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in two of your first three weeks. I want to see him tested by one of the league's better quarterbacks in Russell Wilson.
3. What are the two biggest questions for the Chiefs, in your mind, heading into this game?
The play of the Chiefs offensive tackles is by far the biggest question. Former No. 1 pick Eric Fisher has a sprained ankle and isn't likely to play in this game while right tackle Jeff Allen is also out for the time being with a knee injury. That means the Chiefs offensive line for this game could be the third and fourth tackles on the team. Not a good situation.
The second thing I'm watching is the rotation along the defensive line. Dontari Poe is out for part of the season so the Chiefs have using Jaye Howard and Mike DeVito to replace him at the nose. I want to see how the Chiefs are using these guys in each subpackage, too. Poe was such a unique player because he could play every snap; now the Chiefs don't have that luxury.
4. What is the general fan expectation and outlook for the Chiefs this year? Is this the season that they knock off the Broncos and win the AFC West? If so, why, and if not, why not?
Optimism is high in Kansas City. This team has had the same quarterback and coaching staff entering the third straight year. The defense should be lights out. There is legit depth on this team but also some very real question marks such as the offensive line and run defense.
The over / under on the Chiefs win total is 8.5. Call me a homer (OK, yeah a homer) but I'd be hammering the over on that. While I won't predict the Chiefs topple the Broncos until they prove they can beat them -- the first opportunity is in primetime in Week 2 -- I do believe this team has the talent to win the AFC West. My guess is that the AFC West isn't decided until Week 17. It's closer to a coin flip for me than Vegas has it.
5. The Chiefs have a few former Seahawks among their ranks. What can we expect from Ron Parker, Spencer Ware, and Jaye Howard this year?
Thanks for those players! Parker is the Chiefs starting safety now after inking a new five-year contract. He and Husain Abdullah will be the Chiefs main safeties while Eric Berry will also filter in there. We see him as a much better safety than corner. Spencer Ware is essentially the second fullback; I can't see how he makes the team with one of the league's top fullbacks in Anthony Sherman ahead of him.
As for Jaye Howard, he stepped in as an injury replacement for DeVito last year and now faces a serious test as the primary replacement for Dontari Poe. This is a big year for Howard.
Big thanks to Joel for the scouting report on the enemy. Make sure you visit Arrowhead Pride for the scoop on what to expect in this week's game.