Arrowhead advantage could take Chiefs a long way

Posted Nov. 22, 2010 @ 6:47 p.m.
Posted By Michael Blunda

If the Chiefs could play all their games at home, they very well could be a front-runner to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

After looking very shaky in back-to-back road losses at Oakland and Denver, the Chiefs played like a different team Sunday when they returned to Arrowhead Stadium. They dominated the Cardinals from start to finish, winning 31-13 to up their home record to 5-0.

"This was a really good team win for the Kansas City Chiefs," head coach Todd Haley said. "We had a couple tough games there back to back and we were definitely looking forward to getting back to Arrowhead, get our fans back behind us, which they've done such terrific job of and did so again today. We just keep getting better and better."

K.C. preached fundamentals at practice last week, and it showed in the team's performance. Coming off their worst two rushing days of the season, the Chiefs ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns (both by Thomas Jones) against Arizona. They also did not turn the ball over and held the Cards out of the endzone until the final play of the game. It was a tremendous all-around effort that had Haley fired up after the game.

"This is a great football town," he said. "So to have an opportunity to come here and be the head coach in a town and city like this, you can't ask for anything more — what a special place."

The PFW Spin

Unlike the past two seasons, when the Chiefs combined for an abysmal 2-14 record at Arrowhead, the home-field advantage is back in Kansas City. As the country was able to see in the club's Week One win over the Chargers on Monday night, the stadium is filled to capacity with raucous crowds who make life very difficult on the opposition. It's almost like a collegiate atmosphere, with the deafening roar of the fans forcing offenses to false start and call timeouts.

The numbers back this up. Scoring on K.C. at home has been a chore, with opponents averaging just 13.4 points. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are piling up 27.6 points in those contests. Thus far, only Buffalo was able to hold Kansas City below 21 points at Arrowhead.

The Chiefs have simply executed better in front of their home fans than they have on the road, for whatever reason that may be. The running game has been stronger, the mistakes have been fewer and the defense has been more intense. It has reminded some of the many dominant K.C. teams of the 1990s.

If the Chiefs can manage to play well enough to maintain their one-game lead in the AFC West and capture the division, nobody is going to want to come into Arrowhead in January. The Chiefs' home-field advantage alone could be too much for a wild-card team to overcome, and K.C. could be on its way to the franchise's first playoff victory since 1993.