5 things to know before today’s Chiefs at Falcons’ kickoff

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 3:  Marcus Peters #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after defending against a pass at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders on January 3, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 3: Marcus Peters #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after defending against a pass at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders on January 3, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Here are 5 things to mull over before today’s 1 p.m. kickoff between the Kansas City Chiefs  (8-3) and the Atlanta Falcons (7-4) at the Georgia Dome.

1. TALE OF THE TAPE. 2016 Regular Season Statistics Rankings.

Falcons                                             Chiefs
32.5 (1)         Points/Game                              22.9 (16)
411.5 (3)       Total Offense                             328.3 (27)
108.4 (15)     Net Rushing Yards/Game       96.5 (23)
303.1 (3)      Net Passing Yards/Game         231.7 (23)
29:36 (21)    Possession Average                    29:33 (22)
27.5 (29)      Opponent Points/Game             19.5 (8)
381.0 (27)    Opponent Total Offense           381.9 (28)
98.8 (10)      Opp. Rushing Yards/Game            121.4 (29)
282.2 (32)   Opp. Passing Yards/Game            260.5 (20)
+3 (10t)       Turnover Differential                         +14 (1)
2. SERIES RECORD: This will be the 9th regular-season meeting. The Chiefs lead the series 5-3. The Falcons have won the last two meetings.

Falcons                                             Chiefs

32.5 (1)         Points/Game                              22.9 (16)
411.5 (3)       Total Offense                             328.3 (27)
108.4 (15)     Net Rushing Yards/Game       96.5 (23)
303.1 (3)      Net Passing Yards/Game         231.7 (23)
29:36 (21)    Possession Average                    29:33 (22)
27.5 (29)      Opponent Points/Game             19.5 (8)
381.0 (27)    Opponent Total Offense           381.9 (28)
98.8 (10)      Opp. Rushing Yards/Game            121.4 (29)
282.2 (32)   Opp. Passing Yards/Game            260.5 (20)
+3 (10t)       Turnover Differential                         +14 (1)
3. KEY MATCHUPS: Here are three key matchups:

Chiefs OLB Justin Houston vs. Falcons RT Ryan Schraeder: Houston, a former Georgia standout, sacked Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian three times in the Chiefs’ 30-27 overtime win on Sunday night. Houston stripped Siemian of the ball in the end zone on his third sack, resulting in a safety. Schraeder is eager for the challenge. “It’s going to be a good matchup,” he said. “He’s a really fast guy. He’s got good power. He’s got multiple moves and he’ll kind of keep you on your toes. I have to really study to figure out his tendencies, that way we can get after him.”

Chiefs OLBs Tamba Hali and Dee Ford vs. Falcons LT Jake Matthews: Ford had 10 sacks while keeping Houston’s spot warm for him. He will have to adjust to the right side and Hali is stout against the run. Matthews will have to anchor against Hali and be nimble and fluid for the fleet Ford. “They have a few guys that they roll in,” Matthews said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but we are ready for it. We feel like we can compete. We have to block them and give Matt (Ryan) time to make plays.”

Chiefs RB Spencer Ware vs. Falcons LB Deion Jones: Ware has rushed for 705 yards. Jones is second on the team with 67 tackles. Ware rushed 17 times for 64 yards in the win over the Broncos and added two catches for 32 yards. Charcandrick West (33 snaps) also played extensively against the Broncos. Jones led a defense that held the Cardinals to 58 yards rushing one game after it gave up 208 yards rushing to the Eagles.

4. NFL OFFICIALS: The Walt Coleman crew will call this game. R: Walt Coleman (65),  FJ: Terry Brown (43), U: Jeff Rice (44),  SJ: Alan Eck (76), HL: Derick Bowers (74), BJ: Terrence Miles (111), LJ: Kevin Codey (16), RO: Lou Nazzaro,  It’s been a horrible season for league officials. The league would rather they not be in the news, but they keep blowing basic calls on national television like in the Minnesota and Dallas game where they missed a false start AND a hand to the face call on Minnesota’s two-point conversion attempt.

5. PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1: Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters has eight of the Chiefs’ 24 turnovers. He has five interceptions and three fumble recoveries. The Chiefs’ defense is statistically weak, but they make up for it by creating turnovers. The Chiefs led the league with a plus-14 turnover differential.

The Chiefs lead the NFL in turnover differential, so the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter joins Noah Coslov to discuss how the Falcons will prepare for that and how to overcome more defensive injuries.

GAME 11: Falcons 38, Cardinals 19

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the Cardinals

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons keep getting better as they go

Julio Jones gets calls this time

Taylor Gabriel continues scoring streak in win over Cardinals

Coleman scores TD in return from injury

Falcons’ offensive line ‘stepped up to the task’

GAME 10: Eagles 24, Falcons 15

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Eagles

Ryan, offense slowed down to a crawl

Perkins stalls key drive with costly penalty

Defense gets blown of the line of scrimmage

Keanu Neal can expect fine but Falcons’ biggest issue is injuries (Trufant and Tamme)

Falcons go into bye week wrong way — beat up by Eagles

What Dan Quinn had to say after the loss to the Eagles

What Matt Ryan had to say after the loss to the Eagles

What the Falcons had to say after the loss to the Eagles

PHOTOS: Falcons fall to the Eagles

GAME NINE: Falcons 43, Buccaneers 28

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ rout of the Bucs

GAME EIGHT: Falcons 33, Packers 32
 

GAME SEVEN: Chargers 33, Falcons 30 in OT

5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Chargers

Dan Quinn’s gamble with house-money backfires

6 penalties ‘unacceptable’ for Falcons offensive line

Philip Rivers confounds Falcons with short passes: ‘He picked us apart’

Matt Ryan’s late-game interception leads to overtime loss

PHOTOS: Chargers rally to beat Falcons

GAME SIX: Seahawks 26, Falcons 24

5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Seahawks

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons didn’t win, but they made one guy believe (me)

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons got jobbed but did themselves proud

Matt Ryan’s turnovers were costly

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

Seattle slows down Falcons’ running backs Freeman, Coleman

Ryan Schraeder, offensive line rebounds in second half

Julio Jones: ‘It was just a missed call’

What the Falcons had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

Richard Sherman non-commital on pass interference non-call

PHOTOS: Falcons at Seahawks in Seattle

GAME FIVE: Falcons 23, Broncos 16

5 things we learned from the Falcons upset of Super Bowl champs

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons rock a rookie in the Rockies

What Dan Quinn have to say after the win over Denver

Coleman amassed 163 yards to power the offense

Vic Beasley has breakout game with 3.5 sacks

Kemal Ishmael moved to linebacker, led team in tackles

What the Falcons had to say after the win over the Broncos

Photos: Falcons battle the Broncos

GAME FOUR: Falcons 48, Panthers 33

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ 48-33 win over the Panthers

Tweetcap: Falcons 48, Panthers 33

Old pro Freeney shows new trick with Falcons

Falcons’ rookie Neal holds on vs. Olsen

What Julio Jones had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

Alford battled; Collins to return

Early view in NFC South isn’t what most expected; Falcons on top

GAME THREE: Falcons 45, Saints 32

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ 45-32 win over the Saints

Falcons, Saints protest with unity circle before game

REPORT CARD: Falcons earned high marks for drubbing Saints

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

What the Falcons had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

Keanu Neal makes strong debut for Falcons

Falcons’ Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home

AJC POWER RANKINGS: Falcons best in NFC South?

GAME TWO: Falcons 35, Raiders 28

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the Raiders

Trufant’s heads-up play saves the day

Tight ends help to power offense

Weatherspoon plays strong in first start since 2013

Matthews, Schraeder held Mack sack-less

JEFF SCHULTZ: Falcons put on offensive show and win

What Matt Ryan had to say after beating the Raiders

What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the Raiders

GAME ONE: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Bucs

No sacks for new-look Falcons pass rush

Julio Jones not worried about his ankle injury

Falcons have a case of the “no-huddle” blues

REPORT CARD: Falcons can’t ‘gift’ opponents 17 points

FILM REVIEW: Beasley missing in action

AJC’S NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where are the Falcons?

Hageman charged is domestic violence case

 


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