Chiefs vs Falcons Game Preview
Despite a huge drop-off to their offence, the Falcons still managed to go 10-6 and into the divisional round. This shows just how stacked Atlanta is and they host an equally-stacked Kansas City Chiefs team in the second week of preseason.
Both teams are undergoing changes. The Falcons are still learning Sarkisian’s offence while the Chiefs will be brandishing a new quarterback in Patrick Mahomes. This game will be a nice opportunity for each to warm up the new engines and what a treat it would be for fans.
Kansas City Chiefs
It’s the dawn of the Mahomes era in Kansas City. The Chiefs, particularly head coach Andy Reid, are under immense pressure to do better than lose their first playoff game each season.
Despite finishing with ten wins or more in four of their last five seasons, the Chiefs have only one playoff victory and are winless at home. If they don’t solve this, big changes could be coming within the organization.
The Falcons would love to prove that 2017 was an aberration. After dominating the NFL with their high-flying offence in 2016, the Falcons regressed big time going from leading the NFL in scoring to just 15th thanks to a shift in offensive coordinators.
Sarkisian will be the man on the hot seat. With arguably the NFL’s most talented quarterback-receiver duo in Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, a top offensive line, and the third-rated NFC defence, the Falcons are due for a bounce-back season.
Both squads are talented and boast plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball but Atlanta is a wee bit better. They have a better line and a more experienced quarterback tandem. This game will be a good one and the home team should prevail.
Chiefs vs Falcons Head-to-Head Records
The Chiefs and Falcons have clashed nine times beginning in 1972, which Kansas City won. They hold a 6-3 lead in the series including winning the first four meetings from 1972 to 1994. Although in their last five meetings, the Falcons have won three including winning two of the last three.
Their historical record is reflective of where they are as franchises. The Chiefs were an early superpower and one of the earliest Super Bowl victors doing so in 1969 as part of the AFL’s Super Bowl IV. Though they experienced a long drought until the 1990s, the Falcons have been a middling franchise save for a brief fling with a Super Bowl appearance.
But in recent years, the Falcons have developed into an NFC powerhouse and most recently returned to the Super Bowl. The Chiefs, while also being a formidable team in the AFC just haven’t had the same success. But on paper, the two teams match up well against each other.
Both the Falcons and Chiefs have potent offences and solid defences. In fact, if these two play to their potential, they could meet in the Super Bowl. Any meeting between the two should result in NFL football at its finest
Kansas City Chiefs Recent History
Twenty-five years. That’s how long it’s been since the Chiefs have won a playoff game at home. During this span, Kansas City has made ten postseason appearances but only have one win to show for it. And that win was over a hapless Texans team that had a career backup as its starting quarterback.
So the Chiefs suck in the playoffs. But they have been killing it in the regular season. Kansas City has accumulated a 53-27 record under Andy Reid beginning in the 2013 season. They have won the tough AFC West in consecutive years and finished second during the other years.
The Chiefs made changes at quarterback and reshuffled the roster in hopes of getting over the hump. But if they regress or face another early playoff exit, Reid’s days as the coach are most likely over and the team will look for new personnel and hopefully turn things for the better,
Atlanta Falcons Recent History
Save for a Super Bowl appearance in 1998 and a handful of playoff appearances, the Falcons have been a losing franchise. Prior to 2010, the Falcons haven’t had consecutive postseason trips. Beginning in 2008, the team started to turn it around. The combination of drafting Ryan and hiring Mike Smith as the coach quickly improved the team.
The Falcons made four playoff trips under Smith including two seasons with 13 wins, their best records since their 14-2 season in 1998. However, injuries quickly derailed the team and consecutive losing seasons led to Smith’s dismissal. Under new coach Dan Quinn, the Falcons have resurged.
They won the division in 2016 and made a return trip to the Super Bowl. Though they were on the wrong side of the greatest comeback in NFL history, the Falcons are still at their prime and remain championship threats.
Kansas City Chiefs Outlook
Despite their playoff disappointments, the Chiefs are still a relatively young team and haven’t reached their full potential. Now with a bluechip prospect in Mahomes leading the charge, it feels like the Chiefs are restarting albeit while maintaining their contender status.
In the offseason, Kansas City made several big moves. They parted ways with veterans like Alex Smith (QB), Marcus Peters (CB), and Derrick Johnson (LB) and signed Sammy Watkins (WR) and Xavier Williams (DT).
These are bold moves that could work out for the Chiefs or could backfire and the team starts to struggle. They have a great team but also play in the AFC’s Division of Death. With the Chargers, Raiders, and Broncos all boasting playoff-worthy rosters, the Chiefs cannot afford to take their foot off the pedal.
Atlanta Falcons Outlook
The Falcons further bolstered their already stacked offence by taking Alabama wideout Calvin Ridley. With Julio Jones engaged in a contract war with the Falcons, this serves as a nice insurance if he departs and if he returns, their passing game will only be stronger.
On the other side of the ball, they took Isaiah Oliver, a Richard Sherman-like corner who is essential when dealing with the wide receiver beasts of the NFC South. Their front-seven isn’t as monstrous as the Panthers’ but they are solid enough to anchor the Falcons to another deep playoff run.
If the Jones’ contract issue gets resolved, and it should, the Falcons should be back and running. It remains to be seen if Sarkisian’s system will grow effective but even when they were subpar, they were a tremendous team. The Falcons are Super Bowl contenders and their time is now.
This is Mahomes’ first big test as a starter. While only a preseason game, Mahomes gets to prove he has the ability to light up elite teams even if the Falcons won’t be at full capacity. Behind Mahomes is Chad Henne, a proven backup. The Falcons’ Matts at quarterback: Ryan and Schaub are arguably the best starter-backup duo in the NFL.
Offensively, the Falcons have decent depth. Their receivers are inexperienced outside Justin Hardy and beyond one-two running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are 2018 pick Ito Smith and a platoon of other rookies. The Falcons’ o-line is among the best in the NFL.
The Chiefs have a balanced defence but it isn’t deep enough to withstand the Falcons. Their defensive line and linebackers have solid pieces but none stand out and they’re relying on rookies to back them up.
The Falcons should win this game based on a deeper roster. Mahomes has the potential to be the game’s most explosive offensive player but Ryan is better at this time and when the second units roll out, the Falcons trump the Chiefs.