Without explicitly stating that his starters will play Sunday against Oakland, Kansas City coach Todd Haley told the Kansas City Star the Chiefs will “play to win” in the season finale even though the Chiefs have clinched the AFC West title.
The Chiefs will be the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs if they win and the No. 4 seed if they lose to the Raiders and the Colts lose to the Titans. Still, Haley indicated he wants his young team to continue to push to win.
“We’re a transitioning team,” Haley said. “Maybe some teams can look at games differently, but I know our group right now -- with where we are in our development -- we need to approach them the same way, which is get ready to win and put everything into figuring out how to get to three wins in this quarter [of the season] … We’re going to do what we think gives us the best chance to win.”
“Absolutely, we play this game to be out there on Sundays” Cassel said. “And every opportunity I get I want to be out there with the team, I want to be out there with the guys, so I’m planning on playing until they tell me I’m not playing.”
Earlier Tuesday, we discussed the pros and cons of the Chiefs playing to win Sunday. It appears Haley is focused on the pros. You can’t argue with a coach who wants his team to focus on winning. After all, if the Chiefs don't play with a purpose Sunday, they will have to immediately push the reset button and get back into focus for the playoffs instead of simply sticking with that mentality.