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Trent Richardson Trade Could Affect Playoff Chances for Kansas City Chiefs

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COMMENTARY | When news of the Trent Richardson trade broke (via ESPN's Adam Schefter), there were two immediate sentiments: 1) The Cleveland Browns are clearly playing for 2014 and 2) The Indianapolis Colts made a power move in the AFC by acquiring last year's No. 3 overall pick.

The Colts hope the addition of Richardson puts them in a favorable position in the AFC for the foreseeable future -- a future that started in that same draft, when the franchise selected quarterback Andrew Luck with the top pick.

Indianapolis rode Luck to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance in his first year in the league. Placing Richardson in the same backfield has the potential to instantly transform the landscape of the entire conference, immediately affecting the postseason chances of a number of other AFC teams -- namely the Kansas City Chiefs, who are looking to rebound after a couple of dismal seasons and a failed regime entirely.

The Chiefs have begun the 2013 campaign 2-0 and look vastly improved over last season's 2-14 showing. But the NFL season is long and unpredictable, and it is not difficult to see that the Colts have positioned themselves to also improve on their opening-round playoff loss of just a year ago.

Richardson has endured a rather uninspired start to his season -- carrying the ball 31 times for just 105 yards and zero touchdowns -- but a change of scenery could be just what the running back needs. Besides, he is only one year removed from being considered a can't-miss prospect at the position, and a more stable environment is more likely to prove that the hype surrounding his talent coming out of Alabama was not fruitless.

Kansas City spent the entire offseason patching up deficiencies left by former general manager Scott Pioli and head coaches Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel. The organization brought in John Dorsey to run the front office, Andy Reid to direct the sidelines and Alex Smith to lead the offense -- the three main areas that attributed to the franchise's poor recent performance.

While the moves have paid off so far, it has to be deflating to see that the Colts will presumably leap frog the Chiefs in the eyes of the pundits with a singular move.

Indianapolis is coming off a season in which they exceeded expectations, however, so gauging where this team is among the AFC's best might still prove to be jumping the gun. But guessing where the Chiefs stand after just two games is just as reckless.

Acquiring Richardson confirms that the Colts want to establish themselves as one of the teams to beat in the AFC. Kansas City's offseason makeover was executed for the same reason, but the Chiefs are just playing from behind a bit.

Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel

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