The Washington Football Team will try to turn around a rough start to their season as they host Kansas City on Sunday. This series has been dominated by the Chiefs, who have won nine of the 10 meetings overall. KC won the last meeting 29-20 in Arrowhead Stadium back in 2017. That one featured future Washington QB Alex Smith throwing and running for a touchdown in the Chiefs' victory. He out-dueled Kirk Cousins, who threw for two touchdowns and was the leading rusher for the road team.
The Chiefs are 2-3 after a 38-20 home loss to Buffalo last Sunday night. Patrick Mahomes racked up 272 passing yards and was the team's leading rusher with 61 yards on eight carries. The team is asking him to do so much, and he's turning the ball over more. For the second time this season, he had two interceptions in the loss, which accounted for half of the Chiefs' four giveaways. The Kansas City defense allowed 436 yards to the Bills, continuing what has been a season-long problem.
Washington also is 2-3 after falling 33-22 to the Saints. Taylor Heinicke took too many chances, and it bit him as he completed less than half of his passes and had two interceptions along the way. Antonio Gibson averaged just three yards per carry and continues to deal with a shin injury that is holding him back a bit. The biggest issue is that the defense continues to underperform as New Orleans put up 369 yards with just 18 first downs.
Kansas City (2-3) at Washington (2-3)
Kickoff: Sunday, Oct, 17 at 1 p.m. ET
Spread: Chiefs -7
Three Things to Watch
1. On-field intangibles
The Chiefs hit the road for the third time this season on Sunday. They've alternated home and road contests, so travel won't be an issue. KC travels to Tennessee next week for their second straight away from Arrowhead Stadium, but considering they have a losing record, focus shouldn't be an issue. Washington is in the same boat, meaning Ron Rivera's team can't afford to overlook anyone. Not that Washington would, considering the Super Bowl runner-ups are in town. This is the second straight home contest for Washington with a trip to Green Bay up next.
2. Off-the-field intangibles
Another week and more negative headlines coming for the Washington franchise. The Jon Gruden resignation story brought forth emails involving former members of the Washington organization sharing hateful language and inappropriate pictures of cheerleaders. Rivera spent time this week talking about fans' expectations being too high and why his stadium isn't filled with more people rooting for WFT. Finally, one of the talking points in Wednesday's press conference was the out-of-control smoke show the team used when they walked out of the tunnel at FedEx Field. All of this stuff combined could make for an unfocused team effort if they aren't careful.
As mentioned above, Mahomes has had an issue with interceptions, as he's already matched his 2020 total of six through five games. The team needs to find a run game so he doesn't have to drop back 35-40 times a contest. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire on injured reserve due to a sprained MCL, the Chiefs seem ready to turn to backup Darrel Williams. Washington's defense is so poor right now that Mahomes and company should be able to do whatever they want. Game after game, Washington has had crucial miscommunication among its defensive backs, leading to deep touchdowns and constant confusion. Heinicke also has had an interception problem with two each in games against the Saints and Bills, the best defenses Washington has faced. We'll see if he can cut them out against this porous KC defense.
Kansas City may be playing terrible football right now, but the Chiefs will get right on Sunday. With everything swirling around Washington, I think it'll be hard for them to be focused. There may actually be plenty of Chiefs fans in the stands giving them a boost. Mahomes will make the necessary adjustments and throw for almost 350 yards in an easy win for the road team. Washington's struggles will continue with a double-digit loss.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Washington 20
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.