There will be as much offensive firepower on the field Monday night in Los Angeles as you’ll likely find in any NFL game this season. That can only mean one thing: One of the two defenses will decide the outcome by rising to the occasion.

The Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) enter the weekend ranked second in the league in points per game (35.3) and third in yards per game (423.1), while the Los Angeles Rams (9-1) were second in yards per game (448) and third in points (33.5).

Each defense will almost assuredly take its share of lumps from these explosive offensive units. But any play by a defense that gets the opposing offense off the field could ultimately prove to be the turning point.

“It’s going to take a whole game, (and) it takes really good team defense to stop them,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. “You’re going to have to make some – in my estimation – critical plays in the game, because they’re going to move the football. They move it on everybody, but you’ve got to be able to make a third-down stop. You’ve got to make a red-zone stop. Those are the kind of plays – a takeaway if you get a chance – to do those things.”

Neither defense has been among the elite in the NFL this season. Both teams are largely identified, nationally, by their offensive stars, such as Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Rams running back Todd Gurley.

Slowing down Gurley is the top priority for the Chiefs’ defense. Gurley leads the NFL in rushing yards (988), and he’s also caught 40 passes for 402 yards and four touchdowns. That could be bad news for a defense that allowed Cleveland’s Duke Johnson and Arizona’s David Johnson to combine for 16 catches, 163 yards and three touchdowns in back-to-back games against the Chiefs.

“First we’ve got to just take the air out of it,” Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens said of containing Gurley in the passing game. “We can’t just give him space. There’s a lot of times where, off of play action, he’ll sneak out of there and, real sneaky, catch a 2-yard pass and it (ends) it up being 20 yards. …

“He’s a good player. He’s going to make good catches on us. He’s going to make guys miss. We’ve just got to limit it. Those players like that, you have to just limit. He’s going to get yards. He’s going to catch the ball. We just have to limit it.”

BROWNS: Cleveland’s coaching search isn’t quite ready to cross gender or diplomatic lines.

General Manager John Dorsey, who opened the possibility of hiring a woman to be Cleveland’s next coach, said Sunday that the team has not discussed former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a candidate to become the club’s ninth coach since 1999.

ESPN, citing an anonymous league source, reported that the team would like to interview Rice, an ardent Browns fan since childhood, for its coaching job.

However, Dorsey said she is not on the team’s current list of candidates.

“Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a great leader, possesses the highest possible character and also happens to be a Browns fan,” Dorsey said.

“I have the utmost respect and admiration for all she’s accomplished and was honored to meet her for the first time earlier this season. Our coaching search will be thorough and deliberate, but we are still in the process of composing the list of candidates and Secretary Rice has not been discussed.”

Earlier this week, Dorsey said he would consider a wide-range of candidates.

“I just want the best possible head coach to move this thing forward regardless of age,” he said. “It could be a woman, too. I am serious. Who knows?”

Rice, 64, would be an historic and outside-the-box candidate for the Browns, who fired Hue Jackson last month after he won just three games in two-plus seasons and went 0-16 in 2017.

There has never been a woman interviewed for a head coaching job in the NFL.

On her Facebook page, Rice professed her deep love for the Browns and said confidently, “I know they will hire an experienced coach to take us to the next level.”

“On a more serious note, I do hope that the NFL will start to bring women into the coaching profession as position coaches and eventually coordinators and head coaches,” she wrote. “One doesn’t have to play the game to understand it and motivate players. But experience counts – and it is time to develop a pool of experienced women coaches.”

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