Why Vikings game is critical for Chiefs - KCTV5

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Why Vikings game is critical for Chiefs

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Chiefs head coach Andy Reid weights in on "Deflategate" Chiefs head coach Andy Reid weights in on "Deflategate"
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Sunday's Chiefs-Vikings game will not grab many national headlines. The 1-4 Chiefs are one of the NFL's most disappointing teams, while 2-2 Minnesota is good but not great.

While the nation might yawn about this match up, for the Chiefs, it is a critical test. It's critical for coach Andy Reid's offense to prove it can move the football and score points without injured running back Jamaal Charles, and critical for Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton's defense to show that, when the game's on the line, they can stop somebody.

Earlier this week, an NFL executive told KCTV5 that he thinks this is a "dangerous time for the Chiefs." His point: another loss could lead to a fractured locker room. 

"The concern for Andy," he said, "Is that the guys stop buying in. If they stop listening to the coaches or start pointing fingers at each other, this could really get ugly."

The best way to avoid that is to win some games.

If the Chiefs can find a way to beat Minnesota on Sunday, things will look a lot better to those guys in the Chiefs locker room.

To do that, KC's offense will have to be more productive. They are currently 18th in both scoring and offensive yards, averaging 23 points and 321 yard per game.

KC remains one of the least-efficient red-zone teams in the NFL, having scored only 10 offensive touchdowns, which ranks 24th. One area in which the Chiefs have been excellent is kicking field goals. Cairo Santos has hammered home 11 kicks, which ranks 3rd in the league.

Of course, more field goals usually mean fewer touchdowns, which is not a good thing.

This weekend, Alex Smith and company will be operating against the league's 6th-best scoring defense. The Vikings only allow 18 points per game.

Smith is operating behind an under-performing offensive line, and will now be without its injured star, Charles.

Reid might need to use his best "smoke and mirrors" offense to put up big points on the Vikings, and nobody has ever questioned the coach's ability to draw up a game plan filled with screens, misdirection plays and lots of motion.

Despite the loss of Charles, the Chiefs still have playmakers on offense, including wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce. The biggest issue will be finding a replacement at running back. A banged up Knile Davis has been largely ineffective (27 yards on 11 carries), while Charcandrick West has 48 yards on 12 carries. The Chiefs second-leading rusher behind Charles has actually been the quarterback, but Smith has run more from pass rushers than by design.

An excellent Vikings defense, combined with a wounded KC offense, adds up to a poor hand for the Chiefs.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs defense played well for three quarters, before giving up two "soul-crushing" touchdowns in the game final minutes.

They actually improved their defensive standing this week, and now rank 30th in scoring defense, giving up 29 points a game. That's not good.

No wonder the NFL exec said defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is "in trouble." His take: "the Chiefs defense should be better."

They'll be facing a Viking offense that ranks 23rd in scoring, at 20 points per game.

Minnesota relies on running back Adrian Peterson, who is averaging five yards per carry. In four games, he's run for 372 yards and three TDs.

Viking QB Teddy Bridgewater has thrown for 165 yards per game, and only has two TD passes, but he's also only tossed two interceptions.

His favorite targets are wide receiver Mike Wallace (20 catches for 233 yards and one TD) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (104 yards and one TD on 22 receptions).

Winning on the road usually involves winning the turnover battle, but Minnesota is plus-4 in turnover margin, while KC is minus-3. Not good.

The Vikings are coming off a bye week, while the Chiefs want to forget the last four weeks of their season.

The game kicks off at Noon on Sunday. You can see it on KCTV5. Our pregame coverage begins at 10 a.m. with Price Chopper Gameday.

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