Starting out 0-3 is not the ideal situation for any team. It is even less so when you are the defending division champions.
This is the position the Kansas City Chiefs found themselves in going into Week 4 against the Minnesota Vikings. After losing stars like safety Eric Berry, halfback Jamaal Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki, amongst others, Kansas City had stopped looking for a return to the playoffs and, instead, had began hoping for a win.
Finally, after three weeks of disappointment, Kansas City saw the Chiefs defeat the underachieving Vikings for their first win of the season. The city did not immediately jump back on the bandwagon, but it is safe to say some people began to feel cautiously optimistic again.
On paper, this game does not appear to be that big of a deal. The Colts are 0-4 and have struggled severely with their leader, Manning, on the sidelines. Why would this game carry so much significance?
Looking past the fact that Kansas City must win every game that they can at this point, the answer is very simple: The Chiefs need momentum.
Losing three in a row kills a team’s momentum. When you start out the season 0-3, though, it crushes any momentum the team might have started out with, leaving players and fans alike wondering if it can get worse. After the first three weeks, it was hard to see how it could for Kansas City.
Getting the first win was huge, but beating the Colts would take the Chiefs into their bye week with a two game winning streak and their first road win of the season. With their next game coming on October 23 in Oakland, the Chiefs will need every bit of momentum they can get before facing their rivals.
In addition to the momentum, the Chiefs will show that they are able to win on the road, a skill that will be very valuable late in the season.
With Kansas City facing the New England Patriots, Chicago Bears, and New York Jets on the road in the second half of the season, experience winning away from Arrowhead stadium could prove to be very valuable.
Of course, the biggest factor making this game a must-win situation is, quite simply, the Chiefs cannot afford to lose.
Starting off the season 1-4 with the Patriots, Steelers, Bears, Jets, and Packers late in the season essentially means that Chiefs’ players might as well start planning their family vacations for the month of January. It is not like they will have anything else going on.
A 2-3 record is disappointing, but manageable. If the Chiefs win every game at home after that point, a difficult and unlikely feat, but not impossible, their record would stand at .500. Add in a couple of road wins, and Kansas City is right back where they were last year, fighting for the AFC West.
At this point, the playoffs look like a long shot for Kansas City, but it is still in the realm of possibility. A win against Indianapolis Sunday would put them on the right path.
Losing four out of their first five is, quite simply, not an option.