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Vikings-Chiefs matchup of the day: Tuesday

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By Christian West

Here's a key matchup to watch in Sunday's Vikings-Chiefs game:

Vikings DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison vs. Chiefs OTs Branden Albert and Barry Richardson

If there is a positive the Vikings can take from Sunday's 20-point collapse, it's the play of the DEs Jared Allen and Brian Robison. They accounted for all five sacks the Vikings had and constantly pressured Lions QB Matthew Stafford.

Allen is having a great season, already recording 4.5 sacks. Robison had a breakout game against the Lions with two sacks.

Chiefs OTs Branden Albert and Barry Richardson are facing their toughest test of the young season, and will need help from their teammates on Sunday. The best way to help them in pass protection is to vary the snap count and mix in some hard counts. Allen and Robison beat Lions OTs Jeff Backus, Corey Hilliard and Godser Cherilus (before he was benched) off the snap multiple times, allowing them to rush untouched to Stafford too often. Giving them an occasional chip from the back and tight would also help.

Another way to protect the tackles is to run more three-step drops and get the ball out of QB Matt Cassel's hands early, slowing the pass rush because there isn't enough time to get to the quarterback. The Lions switched to a quicker passing game in the second half and that's when they started to have success on offense.

If the Chiefs run too many deep drops and let Allen and Robison work on their tackles, it could be a long day for Cassel.


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