Grantland is a great place to read some really fantastic sports columns by some really fantastic writers.
That being said, they made me grumpy with their take on the Chiefs in their mid-season review article. Here’s a taste:
Nothing about the Chiefs’ underlying performance screams winning record. They’re 25th in points scored and points allowed, and as you might suspect, their point differential isn’t too hot. A team that’s been outscored by 42 points in seven games, like the Chiefs, would normally have something like 2.4 wins. The Chiefs are 4-3 because they’ve gone 3-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less.
Prediction: They’ll beat the Dolphins and Broncos these next two weeks, get to 6-3, and we’ll get a lot of angry e-mail from Chiefs fans for being sour on their team’s chances. Then they play the Patriots, Steelers, Bears, Jets, Packers, and Raiders in a row. We predict the e-mail will quiet down after that stretch.
My thoughts after the jump.
Everything Barnwell says in this article is true. The Chiefs have been outscored by 42 points through seven games. And yes, they have won some really close games.
Yet Barnwell is spinning the facts to mach his opinion. For instance, this is also true of the Chiefs:
The Kansas City Chiefs are on a big roll after an 0-3 start to the season. They are undoubtedly the NFL’s hottest team, having won their last four games. Two of those victories were on the road, and two were against division opponents. Through that span, the Chiefs have outscored their opponents 101-61, a 40-point differential. KC’s next two games are at home against the Dolphins and Broncos. The Chiefs will likely move to 6-3 over the next two weeks before hitting a tough stretch of their schedule with games against the Steelers, Packers, Jets and Bears. Fortunately for the Chiefs, they end that tough stretch with a home game against the Raiders, a team they spanked 28-0 on their own field, and their season finale is against the Broncos. All the Chiefs need to do is go 2-2 vs. the Steelers, Packers, Jets and Bears, and they’ll finish 10-6 and likely atop the AFC West.
See what I did there?
Barnwell obviously doesn’t believe in the Chiefs. I didn’t after their first three games.
But the Chiefs have played four games since then, and they’ve won them all. In fact, with the exception of those first two blowouts, the Chiefs have been competitive in every single game they’ve played this year.
The Chiefs do face a seriously tall task later this year, but you know what? I’ve seen absolutely nothing from the rest of the AFC West teams that tells me they are any better than the Kansas City Chiefs are right now.
Sure, the Chiefs could struggle down the stretch. But is it so crazy to think they might not win a couple of those games? As crazy as, say, winning four straight after getting creamed for two weeks and losing a division game in the third?
Barnwell might well be right about the Chiefs, but his support for his opinion is flimsy at best. His foundation for not liking the Chiefs the rest of the way is built upon two games played in early September.
My foundation for liking the Chiefs is built upon the fact that they haven’t lost a football game since September 25th.
And if the Chiefs move to 6-3 over the next two weeks like Barnwell suggests? Well then I’ll like my foundation even more.