Chiefs-Bears matchup of the day: Saturday

Posted Dec. 03, 2011 @ 5:11 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's battle between the Chiefs and Bears.

Chiefs special-teams coverage vs. Bears returners Devin Hester and Johnny Knox

With Jay Cutler sidelined and Caleb Haleb set to make his second career start, the Bears could use more of a shot in the arm from the return game than it provided last week in Oakland. Johnny Knox had a 56-yard kickoff return against the Raiders, but Hester had a very quiet day, returning two punts for only seven yards and two kickoffs for 39 yards.

Chiefs PK Ryan Succop will no doubt be trying to boot the ball out of the endzone for a touchback when he kicks off Sunday (61 percent of his kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks this season). P Dustin Colquitt usually is able to punt the ball high enough to give his coverage a chance to get down the field and into position to make a stop, but he has had one of his punts returned for a touchdown this season. He can't afford to outkick his coverage against Hester.

Head coach Todd Haley has shown a willingness to adjust his strategy against the league's most dangerous returners — Succop made high, short kickoffs against the Browns in Week Two last season to try to keep RS Josh Cribbs in check. Colquitt also booted the ball out of bounds on three of his six punts in that game, and Cribbs was held to one punt return for five yards and one kickoff return for 19 yards.

The Chiefs will be taking showing a great deal of faith in their coverage units if they do give Hester and Knox opportunities to make returns Sunday.

Follow Dan Parr on Twitter