The loss to the Oakland Raiders last Sunday was not the most important game of the Chief’s regular season.
Like most of the Chiefs Nation I spent my Sunday evening in a stunned aggravated funk after watching KC give away what looked like a sure win. This malaise hung-over through Monday and it took everything I had to force myself to read anything about the Chiefs on this site or anywhere else. As my week went on the funk lifted and I continued to read the comments of the writers and readers here at AA which helped give me a better perspective on this loss and what it means to our team.
First I think we need to get why this game affected us so much out of the way:
We expected to win.
We knew going in that we had the better team. We knew that the program, game plan, and discipline the Chiefs have are built to win tough games. Yet, despite all of these things, we saw Oakland steal the game out from under us, and quite frankly in the end we knew they deserved the win.
I am here to tell you that there are five key reasons why last week’s debacle is not nearly as damaging in hindsight as we thought, and why there are still plenty of reasons to be excited this season as a Chiefs fan going forward, call me Mr. Positivity.
These key reasons and a little humble pie for yours truly after the jump.
Reason #1: The Oakland Raiders
Now I know what you’re thinking, “The number one reason we shouldn’t be upset about the loss to the Raiders is the Raiders?” Before you ask, no I have not started taking drugs or drinking before writing my posts. I’m serious. If the Raiders truly have turned the corner and are going to be an AFC West force this year, then we shouldn’t think our season is ruined because we lost to them on the road. I would never say that we should expect to lose, but splitting divisional series against good opponents will happen more often than not. In fact, statistically in 101 meetings, the Chiefs have a small advantage (gained primarily over the last 4 years) with a winning percentage of just .531. More impressive is that over these contests, the point differential between the teams is just 1.1 points per game.
Also, if the Raiders are for real, and we split a series with them, then everything is even, but if the Raiders fall off of the map, then this loss equates to just a road loss unless the Chargers catch fire and we have a divisional record tie-breaker.
Reason #2: We Still Have Control of the West
I know a half game advantage is not as exciting as where we could be, but we control our own destiny! Halfway through the regular season, the Chiefs are not in a position where they have to win every game and pray that a division rival loses. This is not only exciting as a fan, but mentally for the players to go through last year and make it to the halfway point this season in the lead has to inspire confidence in what they are doing week in and week out. Here is where I have to call a little BS on the “looking at the season in quarters” philosophy. Yeah it’s a great way to move past rough patches in a season, but don’t think for a second that each and every player on that team doesn’t think about being the division leader on a day to day basis. This applies the right kind of pressure on the team to win as long as the mentality and direction of the coaching staff is on point, and I believe it is.
Reason #3: The Chiefs Are Undefeated At Home
If you break down what KC needs to do to realistically secure the division record-wise then they are likely looking for 11 wins. This is assuming that the Raiders and Chargers do not run the table, and that Oakland loses two of their next seven games, which with games at Pittsburgh, San Diego, KC, and a home game vs. Indy is a safe assumption. Meanwhile, the Chiefs remaining schedule is much softer. At home the remaining opponents are Arizona (3-5), Denver (2-6), Tennessee (5-3), and Oakland (5-4). It is very realistic that they could walk away with an 8-0, or worst case a 7-1 record at home. If KC can pitch a shutout at home, they would only have to manage a 3-5 record on the road to secure a playoff berth as the winner of the West. This is very attainable. We all know that the Arrowhead Advantage is back with a vengeance and that Kansas City is a place that coaches are now circling on their maps. The Chiefs have put themselves in great position this year by winning their first four home games, and I expect this to pay huge dividends at the end of the season.
Reason #4: We Will Get WR Dexter McCluster Back Soon
Boy have we missed D-Mac these past two games. I stand by the argument that Jamaal Charles is the best player on our team, but I don’t think there is any question that McCluster is the most versatile. Last week when Oakland was stacking 75 men in the box and stuffing the run, we really missed that little water-bug getting open and juking defenders out of their jockstraps. Sure we need to have a better Jones/Charles mix, but this year Dexter seems to contain the all-spark that really makes our offense click. Cheers to a speedy recovery and epic return to the surprise rookie!
Reason #5: Good God Take a Look at How Far We’ve Come!
This last reason is for all of you out there that have stayed positive this past week and not dogged the Chiefs. Winning is addictive, and when you don’t get your fix it’s hard to stay optimistic. We have seen that this year, but it is very easy to forget after the start of a good season how bad the past years have been. What I want everyone to do is take a step back for a second, and regardless of what happened last week, what happens this week, or what happens the rest of the entire damn season think about how much better it is to be a Chiefs fan this year.
So before the game on Sunday I made a little gentleman’s wager with a Raiders fan on the game. I told “born with a patch” that if the Raiders won I would give him a shout out in my post the following week. I know we have had a lot of fans from other teams/sites reading our stuff the past two weeks and I want to say thanks to those of you out there that showed respect and integrity when posting from both sides.
Born With a Patch, this one’s for you, kudos on the win:
So let’s get some feedback rolling, anything I missed Addicts? What do you think about the Chiefs prospects for the rest of the season?