Coming off a disappointing defeat to the Saints, Washington is set to host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon. Led by former MVP and all-pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have one of the most potent offenses in the league. However, Kansas City is off to a slow start at 2–3; their defense has looked extremely problematic, and their offense hasn’t demonstrated enough prowess to overcome their defensive liabilities. Despite their unimpressive start, however, the Chiefs still have the weapons to absolutely desolate Washington.
Here are three keys for Washington to shock Kansas City on Sunday:
Hold Tyreek Hill under 100 receiving yards
Tyreek Hill is, without question, the most explosive wide receiver in the NFL. On any given Sunday, it’s never out of the question for him to go off for 200 yards and multiple scores like he did last year in one quarter against the Buccaneers. In the two games that Hill has amassed over 100 yards, the Chiefs have emerged victorious. However, in the three games he has failed to reach the century mark, they’ve lost. It’s nearly impossible for any team to completely shut him down, but the best method to slow Hill is via the double team. Each time Hill has failed to reach 100 yards, the opposing defense has stuck two defensive backs in his face. The Ravens were somehow able to accomplish the unthinkable and completely eliminate Hill, holding him to just 14 yards on three receptions. While he had better outings against the Chargers and Bills, he was still unable to find the endzone in any of the Chiefs losses. Hill wasn’t able to create any separation because there was constantly a defender in his face, as well as one a few yards away. Washington needs to follow the lead of the Ravens, Chargers and Bills and assign both William Jackson III and a secondary corner to focus their attention solely on Hill.
Run the ball
Through the first quarter of the season, Kansas City boasts the second worst defense in all of football, allowing a whopping 32.6 PPG. The Chiefs’ killer so far has been their run defense; through five weeks, they’ve given up an average of 144 rushing yards per game, and have allowed the fifth most rushing yards in the league. This makes the key for Washington simple: hand the ball off at least 25 times to whichever halfback is lined up in the backfield. Whether it be Antonio Gibson, JD McKissic or Jaret Patterson, Washington has to have their way around the line of scrimmage all afternoon. If they can run the ball successfully, they’ll put Taylor Heinicke in a much better position to succeed, and will remove lots of pressure from the quarterback.
Capitalize on redzone opportunities
Washington has struggled in each of their games so far at converting their redzone opportunities. Through five weeks, they have only found the endzone on 62.5% of their trips to the redzone; while they’re smack in the middle of the league in redzone efficiency at 16th, they’ll need to cash in on every imaginable opportunity against the Chiefs. If Washington wants any shot of defeating Kansas City, they need Taylor Heinicke, who has made several mistakes in the redzone this season, to make smart decisions when Washington gets inside the 20. Heincike isn’t afraid to throw risky passes, but for Washington to up their redzone efficiency, they need him to opt for safer options when near the redzone. The Chiefs should be able to score at will against the struggling Washington defense, so the only way for the WFT to stay in the game is to score every time they have the opportunity.Beating the Chiefs is going to be the toughest task the WFT has faced so far, and at this point, it feels like a must-win game. It won’t be easy, but the Chiefs have shown vulnerability, and if Washington can take advantage of it, they have a real shot of winning.