The Kansas City Chiefs are 3-0, alone atop the AFC West, AFC Conference and NFL standings and are less than a week away from traveling to Indianapolis for what could be the most important game in franchise history.
Oh yes. It could be that big.
There is no more denying that the Chiefs are a better team. Significantly better.
The rest of the league may not be ready to believe it but anyone who has followed the Chiefs over the last three years knows a few things about the NFL that the analysts often forget.
No wins are easy in the NFL.
Chiefs fans know, perhaps better than any football fan in the country, the value of a victory.
The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t been able to beat anyone over the last three years. No matter how horrible the opponent they were playing was, the Chiefs could find a way to lose the game. Prime examples would be losses to Cleveland and Buffalo down the stretch last year. Both of those teams were terrible all season long but so were the Chiefs.
All around the country, NFL pundits are claiming the Chiefs have had an easy road to 3-0. After all, the teams the Chiefs have beaten, the Chargers, 49ers and Browns are a combined 3-9. They don’t give the Chiefs any credit for being one of the reasons those teams have such poor records.
No. The Chiefs are doing well because the teams they played are doing poorly. The teams they played are not doing poorly, in part, because they had to play the Kansas City Chiefs.
Yet the average Chiefs fan will tell you that that line of thinking is simply not true. They know that no victory over the San Diego Chargers is an easy victory. They’re aware that the Chargers of 09’ beat their Chiefs by a combined score of 80-21. They’ll tell you that rain had nothing to do with their victory over the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. After all, they watched as the San Diego Chargers whooped the Chiefs 37-7 in 2009. In the rain. At Arrowhead. They also know that their team, just months ago, lost to the Cleveland Browns at home. They know that this incarnation of their team shut down Jerome Harrison, who gashed them for the Browns single game rushing record just a season ago. They know the 2009 Chiefs would have been humiliated had they had the unfortunate pleasure of facing Frank Gore. They will tell you that in their first game of 2009, the Chiefs defense gave up as many points (38) to the Baltimore Ravens as they have through three games in 2010.
The team and it’s coaches know all that as well.
No, the Kansas City Chiefs have earned all three of their victories. The pretty one, the ugly one and the one in the rain.
That is why the Chiefs, more than any NFL expert, know that Sunday’s game against the 2-2 Indianapolis Colts is very, very important.
There would be no shame in the Chiefs losing to Peyton Manning and the Colts at home. Most everyone loses to Peyton Manning and the Colts at home.
Everyone know what a loss on Sunday would mean for the Chiefs. It wouldn’t mean much. It is expected.
Most folks, even those in Kansas City, would be thrilled with even just a competitive performance in Indi. It would mean the Chiefs are indeed improving. It would mean that they are most certainly on their way back but that they aren’t yet ready to run with the big boys.
Even getting blown out wouldn’t be that disheartening. Lots of teams get blown out by Peyton Manning in his own house. It might mean the road back is a little bit longer for the Chiefs. It might sting a little bit but no one expects the Chiefs to go undefeated. If they are going to lose, why not have it be on the road, early in the season to one of the greatest QB’s ever to step on a football field?
Todd Haley won’t admit the importance of Sunday’s contest. He’ll keep to his by-the-book refrain that the Chiefs are “not yet a good team” and that they “are just trying to get a little bit better every day.” He won’t be lying. He is telling the truth. He knows how far the Chiefs have come and how far they still have to go.
Yes, the Chiefs and Todd Haley have no delusions of grandeur. They don’t expect to go in to Lucas Oil Stadium and handle the Colts.
But they don’t expect to lose either.
A Chiefs win, on the road, over the defending AFC Champions would be the most meaningful victory for a Chiefs team since their Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
It would be that big because there would be no excuses left for the experts to explain away Kansas City’s success.
It won’t mean they’ve arrived but it would mean that Todd Haley’s young, scrappy team could potentially beat any team they run up against.
And for a squad that has won only 10 games in three seasons, for a team that just a year ago could lose to any team it ran up against, it would be the biggest win in decades.
Todd Haley knows that and so do his players. They know that not because it would be a victory against the defending AFC Champs but because they know the value of a victory.
And that makes them very, very dangerous.