It seems like 10 years ago that the Titans went to Arrowhead and manhandled the Chiefs, but it wasn't 10 years ago, it was week 1 last season. Kansas City ended up having a really good year and barely missing the playoffs. The Titans, well, you know how that ended up.
A lot has changed since that game. Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride was nice enough to answer 5 questions about his Chiefs for us leading up to tonight's game.
1. Year 2 of the Alex Smith contract. How does the fanbase feel about him heading into this season?
I think probably about the same as they did two years ago. Folks don't really change their minds all that often and quarterbacks are often subject to preconceived notions because it's a complex position to understand. So I would say that most people that liked him because he was accurate and protected the ball probably still like him. And most people who didn't like him because he doesn't stretch the field vertically probably feel the same way today. If you're interested in winning regular season games though, Alex Smith has been good over the past two seasons. About those playoff wins though....
I think it will be a good change. Alex Smith could start stretching the field more and if he does then I would rather have Maclin than Dwayne Bowe (who is now in Cleveland). Maclin is also much faster so things like those bubble screens or quick slants should be more effective with him. It was a good move for the Chiefs, who have some younger players behind Maclin. He fits Alex Smith better than Bowe.
3. Name one offensive player we should be watching out for.
I would say the guy who replaced Dexter McCluster but it sounds like De'Anthony Thomas may not play. Keep an eye on WR Albert Wilson. You mentioned the Titans having bad luck with receivers. The Chiefs are in the same boat but Wilson is a 2014 undrafted free agent that the Chiefs like. They're hoping he can develop into the No. 2 receiver behind Jeremy Maclin. He's smaller at 5'9 but still weighs 200 pounds so he's not that small.
4. Name one defensive player we should be watching out for.
Chiefs rookie corner Marcus Peters, who was picked in the first round. He has had a solid camp and generally looks the part out there at corner. The Chiefs No. 1 corner, Sean Smith, will miss the first three games of the season so the Chiefs will need Peters to step it up. He's a big dude who seems to understand what the Chiefs are trying to do on defense. Of course, it doesn't hurt having Justin Houston in front of you rushing the passer.
5. Will the Chiefs win the AFC West?
I am going to say no because the Chiefs need to prove they can beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos, which they haven't done in three years. That said, it will be a very tight race. Probably tighter than many people realize unless Manning goes off on another insane run like he's done before with the Broncos.