When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Qwest Field
Record: 6-4 and first in the AFC West after a 31-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday snapped a two-game losing streak
Where they rank: No. 10 on offense (1st rushing, 26th passing); No. 21 on defense (12th rushing, 25th passing)
Series: Chiefs lead 31-18, including a 35-28 victory at Arrowhead Stadium in the last meeting on Oct. 29, 2006
Star power: Dwayne Bowe. But he’s a wide receiver, and the Chiefs are a running team – as evidenced by their league-leading average of 164.7 rushing yards. True, and true. When the Chiefs do pass, however, Bowe is their most obvious option. He leads the league with 11 touchdown catches and is averaging 15.9 yards on his team-high 45 receptions. There’s also a historical slant to his impressive stats. Sunday, Bowe caught a TD pass in his sixth consecutive game, breaking the club record of five that he shared with Chris Burford (1962) and Otis Taylor (1966). Both receivers are in the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame. With one more TD reception, Bowe will tie Burford’s 48-year-old single-season club record.
Unsung hero: Matt Cassel. The Chiefs’ QB – and former backup to Tom Brady in New England, as well as Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart under Seahawks coach Pete Carroll at USC – isn’t this and he’s not that. At least that’s what Cassel has been hearing since arriving in KC last season. But what he has been this season is efficient. He has thrown only four interceptions in the Chiefs’ scheme that uses the run to setup more runs to then setup the pass. The Chiefs average 34 rushes compared to 29 passes. Only the Steelers (269), Titans (272) and Browns (290) have thrown the ball fewer times than the Chiefs (291). But Cassel also has 18 TD passes. The only QBs in the league with more? Philip Rivers (23), Drew Brees (22), Eli Manning (21), Peyton Manning (20), Tom Brady (19) and Aaron Rodgers (19). Not bad company at all.
On the spot: The Chiefs. Yes, they lead their division – the Seahawks’ old division – but their margin has been trimmed to a single game because they lost back-to-back games to the Raiders and Broncos before defeating the Cardinals. And, the Chargers (5-5) are leaning heavily on that suddenly slim lead. Also, the Chiefs have lost their past four road games and have just one win this season away from Arrowhead Stadium.
Burning question: What will the Chiefs’ 1-2 punch of Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones that comprises the league’s No. 1 rushing offense do against the Seahawks’ suddenly struggling run defense? Through their first five games, the Seahawks allowed an average of 70.4 rushing yards, but that has doubled in the past five games to 140.4. Charles has averaged 6.1 yards to compile his 848 yards, while Jones has 644 yards and a 4.1-yard average.
Familiar faces: Strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark held the same position with the Seahawks from 2004-09.
You don’t say: “Definitely we’re going to win it all. I can’t guarantee it, but I can tell you we’re going to win it all.” – Bowe, after Sunday’s win over the Cardinals