Kansas City, Mo. Bill Maas knows what cynics are saying about the Kansas City Chiefs.
"We're 3-2. We've lost to teams with winning records and beaten teams with losing records. We play Philadelphia and Dallas the next two weeks. We're looking at 3-4," said Maas, Kansas City's veteran defensive end.
"We have to step up and show we can play with the best," he added.
The Chiefs, who have beaten San Diego, Seattle and the Raiders (combined 3-12 record) and lost to Denver and Houston (7-2) face the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles today.
KICKOFF IS noon at Arrowhead.
"There's no question they're better than Denver," said Kansas City linebacker Tracy Simien. The Chiefs blew a late 13-point lead and fell to the Broncos, 20-19, last Sunday at Mile High Stadium. "I think Philadelphia is a legitimate Super Bowl team."
The Eagles' defense, ranked No. 1 in the NFL, has allowed seven points in the last 10 quarters and only one rushing touchdown in the last 11 games.
The Philly offense, ranked No. 11, is directed by the league's hottest quarterback Randall Cunningham.
"I think Randall is a little more slippery than Elway," Simien said, comparing Cunningham to last week's nemesis, John Elway. "I really think you're better off with him in the pocket. When he's ad libbing, he's tough."
Cunningham, who missed most of last season with a serious knee injury, has completed 64 of 91 passes for 828 yards and eight touchdowns. He's thrown just one interception.
"THE ONE element a guy like Randall brings is his ability to run," said KC coach Marty Schottenheimer. "He's elusive because he's a very flexible guy. You watch him move, he gets his upper body going one way and his lower body the other. That's one reason he's such a good scrambler."
The Eagles also have Herschel Walker, who gained 86 yards on 19 carries in Monday night's 31-7 rout of Dallas. He has 366 rushing yards in four games.
"He's with the right organization now. One that fits him," Simien said of Walker, a flop in both Dallas and Minnesota. "They line him up four or five yards deep and hand him the ball. He's got a lot of power. He breaks a lot of tackles."
The Chiefs' defense, however, is nearly as strong statistically as Philly's. It's rated fourth in the NFL. And the game's in Arrowhead Stadium where the fans will be encouraged to use the tomahawk chop for the first time this season.
SO IT'S possible the Chiefs will win their first game against a playoff-caliber team.
"The more I've seen, the home field is a powerful thing," Simien said. "That will help us. And everybody's a little upset about the last game. The only thing that can correct last Sunday is to do it this Sunday."
"I'm glad we've got 'em here and not in Philadelphia," added coach Schottenheimer.