The Kansas City Chiefs could just as easily be 1-4 as they could be 3-2.
Instead they are 2-3.
That is the way the NFL works. The gap between the good teams and the poor teams if often not that wide. The gap between elite teams and bad teams is another story.
Right now the Chiefs are a bad team, trying to be a good team. Only then can they hope to be an elite team.
By now we all know the circumstances by which the Chiefs started 0-2. The poor preseason plan, injuries, turnovers and the fact that the Bills and Lions were better than anyone might have expected created a perfect storm of doom for the unprepared Chiefs.
In the three games after their 0-3 start the Chiefs were much more competitive though still flawed. Their performance in San Diego was inspiring on defense but impotent on offense. Ryan Succop’s early season kicking issues and a poor decision by QB Matt Cassel on what could have been a game-winning drive doomed the Chiefs to a three-point loss when a huge road upset was well within their grasp.
The next two games were against winless teams and although the Chiefs emerged victorious from both contests, they still stumbled. In the Vikings contest, it was the offense that floundered until late. In the win against the Colts, the defense was utterly atrocious, as was the offense, until late in the first half. KC could have easily lost the Colts game. In fact, after the way they started, they should have lost the game. Long, masterful drives by the offense helped bail the defense out and keep them off the field. Key drops by TE Dallas Clark helped as well.
The Chiefs won’t be so lucky every week. They’ll never make up a 17-point deficit against the league’s top teams. They won’t always be facing Curtis Painter, and Dallas Clark usually doesn’t drop balls.
That is not to take anything away from what the Chiefs accomplished the last two weeks. They proved to us that when they are firing on all cylinders, when they play focused on both sides of the ball, they can be dangerous.
But can they?
By my count, the Chiefs have only played four quarters of complete football all season long. Four quarters of 20.
The second half of the Vikings game and the second half of the Colts game were prime examples of what this team can do when it is focused.
But when the Chiefs are bad, they are terrible.
The question is, can they play focused football for an entire game? Can they do it against a good team? Can they do it consistently?
If they can, the Chiefs could quickly find themselves right back in the hunt for the AFC West title.
We’ll find out on Sunday. The Raiders are a good team. The Chiefs will be on the road. They’re seven weeks into the season. They’re out of excuses.
It’s time to show up.
And what better week than Raiders Week?