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Keys to Wild-Card Success for the Chiefs

Posted Jan 4, 2014

Coach Reid and players offer must-dos in today's playoff matchup

It’s been 20 years since the Kansas City Chiefs have enjoyed a postseason victory, when the Chiefs topped the Houston Oilers, 28-20, in the 1993 AFC Divisional round at Houston on Jan. 16, 1994.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is going to use his nine years of head-coaching experience in the playoffs to try and help break the winless drought, when his team visits the Indianapolis Colts for today’s AFC Wild Card matchup.

Coach Reid commended the Chiefs Kingdom, before traveling to Indianapolis, with the following message.

“We’ll give it our best shot,” coach Reid said. “It’s a great opportunity. They’ve worked hard being fans and showing up. They showed up, when things weren’t good and they show up, when things are good. They’re loud. They’ve set records. And now, we have a chance to go enjoy the playoffs and play and give it our best shot. Everybody, let’s enjoy it.”
When the Chiefs take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, later today, here are three keys that could set the team up for the ultimate enjoyment, a playoff win.

1)    “It’s Still Football”

Chiefs QB Alex Smith has a 1-1 postseason record, with 5 TDs, 0 INTs and a 101 passer rating. He enters Saturday’s game with a focused mindset.

“You don’t try to read too much into the hype,” Smith said. “If anything, you just try to turn it up a little bit. You try to increase that focus. You try to eliminate some distractions. But, in the end, I think we’ve had a good routine. I think week in and week out, guys have prepared hard. I think to a certain extent, you keep that. If anything, you just try to clean things up, here or there. Like I said, it’s still going to come down to playing football and executing, blocking, tackling, pitch and catch. Those are the things that still need to be focused on. I don’t think (you) read into it too much. It’s still football.”

2)    “Every Play Matters”

In Week 16, at Arrowhead Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chiefs, 23-7. The Colts were exceptional and the Chiefs committed miscues, including missed tackles, which they corrected in this week’s practice.

“In the league, there are some great runners out there,” Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers said. “We have to make sure we do our part on bringing it down, whether it’s running to the ball and making sure we’re practicing on our fits in practice or whatever we have to do. Everything plays a part; we have to be accountable to each other and make the tackle. Every drive matters. Every play matters. We all have to be in.”

3)    “Be Creative” and Have Fun

Chiefs Pro Bowl RB Jamaal Charles finished the 2013 regular season with 259 carries for 1,287 yards and 12 TDs, along with 70 receptions for 693 yards and seven TDs. The Chiefs coaches, including offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, will continue to put Jamaal in positions to do what he does best, make plays.

“Every week, we say, ‘Okay, how can we get 25 the football?’, Pederson said. "Whether it be from the backfield, empty it, motion, how can we do that? He is an explosive player; we know that (and) everybody knows that and we understand that people and defenses are going try to take him away and target him, so, we have to be creative with him and continue to find ways to get him the football in space.”

Given extra rest, while not playing in the Week 17 matchup against the San Diego Chargers, Charles says he’s ready to play in the biggest game of his life.

“I know what’s at stake,” Charles said. “My body feels so good and, I know, if I have to put the team on my back, I will. I’m really excited to take this role.”

And Chiefs fans are just as excited to see him in that role, hoping it leads their team to a much-anticipated playoff victory. Kickoff is set for 3:35 p.m. CT.

For more Chiefs playoff coverage, follow me on Twitter (@KCChiefs_Reid) for behind-the-scenes photos, vine updates and more. Also, be sure to follow @KCChiefs_Rachel and @KCChiefs!

ICYMI: Click here for the 2013 Chiefs Playoffs travel blog.

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