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Every Game Feels Like the Playoffs for Chiefs

November 27, 2005|From the Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Breaking with time-honored coaching convention, Dick Vermeil has dared to stop playing them one game at a time.

The boss of the Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) is not only looking beyond today's match with New England. He's openly discussing the importance of every game the playoff-hopeful Chiefs have left on a tough and bruising schedule.

"Our challenges over the next six weeks are a complete package with variations of strengths and almost no weaknesses, starting with New England," said Vermeil. "In our minds, we have to approach every single game that we play from here on out as a playoff game. Try to create that same kind of focus and preparation, that same kind of pressure that exists when you're playing a playoff game."

The Chiefs will host a New England team which is also 6-4, but is sitting atop the AFC East. The Chiefs' 6-4 record is good only for a second-place tie in the AFC West, two games behind Denver.

With the home advantage and a young running back, Larry Johnson, who rushed for a franchise-record 211 yards last week at Houston, the Chiefs were 3 1/2 -point favorites over a Patriots team which has spent the past nine months in transition and tumult. Both coordinators left for other jobs and linebacker Tedy Bruschi had to recover from a stroke before getting back on the field.

In addition, coach Bill Belichick excused himself from the team during the week for the funeral of his father, who died Nov. 19.

Nevertheless, signs are popping up that the Patriots may finally be coming together.

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