Kansas City's Defense Will Be Tested by Cincinnati's High-Flying Offense

Oct 09, 2007, 2:31:00 AM by Pete Moris

The Arrowhead Advantage
Kansas City owns an NFL-best 103-35 (.747) regular season mark at Arrowhead dating back to ‘90. The Chiefs typically bounce back strong when they suffer a rare loss at home. Since the start of the ‘90 campaign, the Chiefs are 25-9 (.735) in their next game at Arrowhead following a home loss. KC hasn’t lost back-to-back games at Arrowhead since dropping contests vs. New England (11/22/04) and vs. San Diego (11/28/04), teams that produced a combined 26-6 (.813) regular season record that season.
Since the start of the 2002 campaign, the Chiefs are 9-3 (.750) at Arrowhead during the month of October. The Chiefs are 7-3 at home under Herm Edwards. The Bengals are 16-18 (.471) on the road under Marvin Lewis, but are just 2-6 in their last eight road outings, including a streak of four straight losses. Lewis is 5-5 all-time vs. AFC West foes and is 2-1 vs. Kansas City.
Getting an Early Advantage Always Bodes Well in the NFL
Holding a halftime lead is always important, but STATS, LLC has helped to quantify just how important it is to lead in the NFL after two quarters. Dating back to the start of the 2000 campaign, home teams leading at halftime own a 765-186-1 (.804) record. Dating back to ‘95, Kansas City owns an even better advantage at Arrowhead when leading at halftime, posting a 52-7 (.882) record. No matter the site, the Chiefs own a 7-1 record when holding a halftime lead under Herm Edwards.
Despite trailing at halftime in the club’s first five games, Kansas City has still managed to produce a 2-3 record. However, the Chiefs would like to get off to a better start in this week’s contest. KC is the only NFL club yet to score in the first quarter this season and owns the dubious distinction of being outscored 20-0 in the first quarter this year. The Chiefs have trailed by an average margin of 9.4 ppg at halftime in 2007 and have a 47-point first-half scoring deficit (16 scored/63 allowed) in their first five games.
In their most recent victory, the Chiefs did bounce back from a 16-6 halftime deficit at San Diego (9/30) to record a 30-16 win, an impressive feat considering that NFL road teams have a 186-765-1 (.196) record when trailing at halftime dating back to 2000.
Cincinnati is 26-8 (.765) under Marvin Lewis when holding a halftime lead. However, the Bengals are 6-23 (.207) when trailing at the half under Lewis, including a 2-14 (.125) mark on the road. Cincinnati has been behind at halftime in its three losses in 2007. The Bengals have scored and allowed exactly 23 points apiece in the first quarter. However, Cincinnati has an 18-point second-quarter scoring deficit (27 scored/45 allowed). Only Detroit (49) has allowed more points in the second quarter than Cincinnati this season.

The Chiefs Are Especially Stingy in Scoring Defense
Cincinnati ranks fourth in the league, scoring an average of 26.5 total ppg. The Bengals will face a Chiefs defense that is permitting just 13.8 offensive ppg (excluding opponent return scores), the sixth-lowest total in the NFL. Kansas City, Jacksonville and New England are the only teams that have held their foes to 20 points or less in every contest this season. Kansas City is 54-9 (.857) at Arrowhead dating back to ‘95 when holding foes to 21 points or less, including victories in 23 of the club’s last 25 games in those circumstances
The Chiefs have been especially stingy in terms of relinquishing points in the second half. KC actually ranks sixth in the league in second-half scoring differential, outscoring its foes 47 to 20 in the final two quarters of games this season. Including a fumble return TD by Houston, the Chiefs as a team have given up a total of 20 second-half points, the second-lowest mark in the league behind only Tennessee (16). That means KC’s defense has allowed opposing offenses to score a league-low 13 points in the second half. In fact, KC has held two opponents (MIN, SD) scoreless in the second half. The Bengals have been outscored by five points (56 scored/61 allowed) in the second half of games in 2007.
Cincinnati owns a 14-3 (.824) record under Marvin Lewis when scoring 30 or more points, including a stellar 7-1 mark on the road. However, the Bengals have topped the 30-point barrier just once this season – a 51-45 loss at Cleveland (9/16). KC has allowed just one opponent to hit the 30-point plateau in the club’s last 16 home contests, doing it in a 35-30 win vs. JAX (12/31/06). Over that 16-game home stretch, the Chiefs have allowed just 17.2 ppg.
Bengals Rushing Offense vs. Chiefs Rushing Defense
The Bengals are 15-4 (.789) when RB Rudi Johnson has a 100-yard rushing game. Johnson had 165 yards in a 24-19 vs. KC (11/16/03) and posted 96 yards with a 22-yard TD in his most recent contest at Arrowhead (9/10/06). The Chiefs have permitted just 100.8 rushing ypg in 10 contests at Arrowhead under Herm Edwards, a figure that ranks as the eighth-lowest home rushing average in the NFL since 2006. KC has not permitted an individual 100-yard rusher in 24 of its last 25 contests at Arrowhead. It’s been almost 27 years since a Cincinnati player topped the 100-yard rushing plateau at Arrowhead. The last Bengals player to do it was RB Pete Johnson, who had 17 carries for a 112 yards with a 57-yard TD in a 20-6 win at Arrowhead (11/30/80).
Kansas City Seeks to Top the 21-Point Barrier at Arrowhead
The Chiefs are typically hard to beat at Arrowhead when they score at least 21 points. KC is 51-7 (.879) at home dating back to ‘95 when scoring 21 points or more, including nine straight wins. Kansas City owns an even better 30-4 (.882) mark when scoring 30 points or more at home over the same period.
Cincinnati currently ranks 32nd in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing 32.3 ppg. In the Bengals three losses, the team has actually surrendered 36.3 ppg. Cincinnati has allowed 129 total points on the season, the most by any club that has played only four contests. The Bengals are 1-7 on the road under Marvin Lewis when relinquishing 30 points or more, including a 37-3 loss at Arrowhead (1/1/06). The Chiefs most proficient scoring period has been the fourth quarter, where KC has put up 28 points. The Chiefs have outscored their opponents by a 28-to-10 margin (+18 points) in the fourth quarter, the eighth-best differential in the league. Meanwhile, the Bengals have been outscored by a 27-to-40 margin (-13 points) in the final quarter in 2007.
Winning the Turnover Battle is a Must for Kansas City
The Chiefs are 44-4 (.917) at Arrowhead with a positive takeaway margin dating back to ‘95. KC has won 17 consecutive games when positive at home dating back to 2002, the third-longest active streak in the league. Last week, the Chiefs did not force a turnover, snapping a league-long streak of 23 consecutive games with at least one takeaway. KC is 6-2 under head coach Herm Edwards with a positive turnover differential. The Chiefs and Bengals both have 10 takeaways on the season, tying for the sixth-highest total in the NFL this season.
KC was -2 (1 take/3 gives) in a 23-10 loss vs. Cincinnati (9/10/06). The Chiefs will seek to avoid a repeat performance against the Bengals on Sunday after going +2 (8 takes/6 gives) in their last four contests. The Bengals are 25-3 (.893) under Marvin Lewis with a positive turnover mark, but are just 4-23 (.148) when negative. Cincinnati is 1-14 (.067) on the road when negative under Lewis, including a streak of 11 consecutive losses dating back to 2003. Cincinnati is -5 (4 takes/9 gives) during the club’s three-game losing streak.
The Bengals have committed 11 giveaways on the year, meaning only five teams have turned the ball over more frequently. However, the Bengals have registered 40 points off takeaways, meaning only Detroit (48) and Green Bay (41) have produced more takeaway points.
Chiefs Rushing Offense vs. Bengals Rushing Defense
Kansas City owns a 13-1 record at Arrowhead when RB Larry Johnson registers a 100-yard rushing game. The Chiefs are 11-0 at Arrowhead when Johnson rushes for two or more TDs, including a 37-3 win vs. Cincinnati (1/1/06) when Johnson had 26 carries for 201 yards and three TDs. The Chiefs also own a 9-0 record at Arrowhead when Johnson accumulates 30 carries or more.
In 17 career starts at Arrowhead, Johnson has averaged 118.1 rushing ypg and has accumulated 26 rushing TDs. He has topped the 100-yard barrier in 13 of those contests and has registered 51 runs of 10+ yards in those games. The Chiefs last 33 rushing TDs have all been scored by Johnson, the longest streak by one player for one team in NFL history. Johnson and the Chiefs are both seeking their first rushing TD of 2007.
The Chiefs and Johnson will face a Bengals squad that ranks 29th in the league in rushing defense, allowing 152.0 ypg. The Bengals are 32nd in the league, allowing 6.29 yards per rushing attempt on first down. Only Cleveland (8) has allowed more runs of 20+ yards than Cincinnati (7) and Denver (7). Cincinnati has allowed three straight backs to top the 100-yard barrier, including Browns RB Jamal Lewis, who had 216 yards in a 51-45 victory at Cleveland (9/16). The Bengals are 8-20 (.286) under Marvin Lewis when permitting a 100-yard rushing, including a string of six straight losses.