The Kansas City Chiefs are now one of only three teams that are still undefeated after their 26-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The wins haven’t always been pretty. They squandered a 13-0 halftime lead when they allowed 17 unanswered points to start the second half on Sunday and forced themselves to come from behind. The Chiefs’ offense has been a work in progress all year long. The live game day threads here at AA are made up of 45% positive comments about the defense, 45% negative comments about the offense, and 10% comments about everything else. While there is NO question that the Chiefs are light years better than they were last season, the general consensus seems to be that this team is still a work in progress.
So just what should Chiefs fans be thinking at this point in terms of expectations for the rest of the season? I already listed 10 Reasons The Chiefs Will Make The Playoffs last week. With their win on Sunday, the Chiefs increased their odds of making the playoffs up to 90% by going 5-0. This is a playoff team. I believe that 100%. Especially this season. While I still believe Denver will win the division, I don’t think it’s impossible that the Chiefs end up with one of the top 2-3 records in the AFC. While they may not win the division, they are already a couple games up on any team that they would currently be competing with for wild card spots. If you take away the division leading Broncos (5-0), Colts (4-1), and Patriots (4-1), all the other teams in the AFC that KC would be competing for wild card spots with already have at least two loses.
Despite their sluggish offensive performance to date, can you really make a case for any of the two loss AFC teams being a better team than the Chiefs at this point? I don’t believe that you can. The Chiefs have already won three road games. One of them was the Jaguars, so that isn’t saying a lot, but the other two were not easy games. Andy Reid returning to Philadelphia for the first time to face his old team in prime time and on a short week was no sure thing. The Titans were 3-1 and have one of the better defenses in the NFL. Those are quality wins. Having three of their five wins on the road also means that KC still has 6 home games remaining. As the Chiefs continue to win, the Chiefs Kingdom will continue to get more excited. Crowds will get bigger and louder and the imposing Arrowhead advantage will only continue to grow.
So if we feel like it is safe to call the Chiefs one of the clear cut top four teams in their conference, shouldn’t we be discussing if this team has what it takes to win in the post season? I know it’s early. I know anything can happen. I know that the team and coaches are just focusing on one game at a time. That’s what they should do, but I’m not a coach or a player. I’m a blogger. For any other team in the NFL that was seen as a clear cut top four team in their conference, they’d be dreaming of Super Bowls. We aren’t to that point yet.
Maybe it’s because we’ve had our hearts crushed by this team too many times.
Maybe it’s because the Chiefs were 2-14 last season and by far the most inept football team I’ve ever watched and no team could ever go from that to Super Bowl contenders in one season.
Maybe it’s because the Chiefs have gone something like 70 zillion years since they won a playoff game, so we want to see them get over that hurdle before we dream of more.
Maybe it’s because we recently saw the Matt Cassel/Todd Haley lead Chiefs of 2010 get off to a hot start only to get boot stomped by the Ravens and exposed as frauds in the playoffs.
Maybe it’s because the KC offense still doesn’t pass our eye test.
Whatever the reason, Chiefs fans aren’t dreaming the same dreams as the other teams that are at the top of the standing. The Kansas City Chiefs will undoubtedly be in the top five of almost every NFL power rankings that you’ll find this week. I bet the fans of the other teams in the top five are dreaming of Lombardi Trophies.
So I ask you Addicts, what will it take for you to dream that big? How many games do the Chiefs have to win? Does the offense need to prove something first? Does Alex Smith need to prove something first? Do the Chiefs have to beat the Broncos before you would believe?
Everyone likes to point to the Trent Dilfer Ravens team and Brad Johnson Buccaneers team as Super Bowl winners that had the dreaded “game manager” QBs. Those teams are far enough in the past at this point that they don’t really relate to the modern NFL anymore. However, I decided to take a look at a couple of more recent Super Bowl winning teams and see how this year’s KC team is stacking up with them. The first of those teams is the 2005 Steelers team that beat Seattle 21-10 based much more on their defense and run game than on the arm of second year QB Ben Roethlisberger. The second team is last year’s winner, the Baltimore Ravens.
Here is a chart showing how these two Super Bowl winning teams ranked in different key areas and how this year’s KC team ranks along side them. For some categories I averaged out KC’s current numbers over 16 games.
So what, if anything, does that chart show? Keeping in mind that KC’s sample size is 1/3 the size of the two Super Bowl winners, it shows that KC is in the same league as these teams when it comes to regular season play.
The areas where KC actually is outperforming these two Super Bowl winners include turnover differential, points allowed, sacks, QB completion percentage allowed, and QB rating against.
The areas where KC is currently falling short of those two teams include offensive yards per play, passing yards per attempt, and rushing yards per carry allowed.
I’ll let you decide if you think the strengths that KC has shown outweigh their shortcomings. I did find it interesting that KC’s offensive yards per game, points per game, and even passing yards per game are all comparable with these two Super Bowl winners.
Obviously, we all know that part of the reason that Baltimore won the Super Bowl last year was because Joe Flacco got extremely hot in the postseason. It would probably take Alex Smith going on a similar run in order for KC to be a real force, but I thought looking at how the teams compared was interesting.
I’m not saying that KC is already a Super Bowl contender. I am saying that KC is clearly a playoff caliber team at this point. So where are you setting the bar going forward? Are you just looking at things “one game at a time”? Are you just hoping to get into the playoffs by any means necessary? Do you just want to break the playoff win draught? Are you one of the rare few that are already starting to dream about winning the ultimate prize? I’d love to hear where your expectations are now that the Chiefs are 5-0.
If nothing else, it sure is nice to not be focusing all of our attention on the NFL draft by mid-October. Andy Reid and John Dorsey deserve every bit of praise that they are receiving for turning this team around. Here’s to hoping that a week from now we will be celebrating the Chiefs going 6-0 AND the KC faithful claiming the official record as loudest crowd in the history of sports. I’m sure I’ll be screaming right along with them from my couch.
It sure is a great time to be a Chiefs fan.
Tech Update Of The Week:
My transition to the modern era of watching football is now complete. Since I’m a DirecTV subscriber I was able to download the Sunday Ticket app on my Droid Maxx. Doing so allows you to watch any NFL game on your phone, and if you have a big enough screen like the Maxx has, it’s heaven. You combine that with being able to watch NFL network and the Red Zone channel with the NFL Mobile app through Verizon and you can pretty much feed your NFL addiction anytime and anyplace. It’s one of those things that ten years ago I wouldn’t have even thought would be possible and now I will never be able to live without it. If you’ve been considering any of these NFL tech upgrades, my recommendation is 100% do it.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Follow me on Twitter: @LyleGraversen