John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs Are Not The Best Team In Football


SmokeSignals

But they may still win the AFC.

Power rankings are a strange thing in that they are always the focus of fans each week and no one agrees on how they should be determined. I for one think that the team’s actual record should be ignored when determining power rankings. A list of teams by win-loss record is called the standings.

The purpose of power rankings is to get at a real measure of how good a team is and whether they are on the upswing or downswing. My favorite means of measure is the one used by the ESPN Football Today Podcast, which endeavors to rank teams based on who they think would win a three-game series in a neutral location (host Matt Williamson frequently suggests my hometown of Topeka).

Currently, the Chiefs sit atop both the ESPN and NFL.com power rankings and also lead the league as the only remaining undefeated team. But, that doesn’t make them the best.

Anyone who has watched every minute of the Chiefs’ play this year has seen some serious flaws rear their ugly head. QB Alex Smith is ranked 32nd in completion percentage among players that have thrown at least 10 passes this year. That’s behind guys like Chad Henne, Thad Lews, Mike Glennon, and Geno Smith. Granted, that’s not all his fault, but considering the fact that only nine quarterbacks have more attempts than him this year, this is a serious problem.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

RB Jamaal Charles is having a league-MVP season, but it’s hard not to think that he’s being a bit overused for grinding out yardage as the team’s top rusher and receiver. As a result, he has just one run over 20 yards so far this season. Obviously, he has made up for that with production elsewhere – his 36 receptions already top his 2012 total – but I think it is fair to ask, is that really worth it?

Charles has been the Chiefs lone big-play, home run threat for years. WR’s Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery can also haul it in deep, but those plays are not really Smith’s forte and Bowe has never been a pure speedster. Charles is the team’s only source of dynamic breakaway scores, and although the Chiefs’ defense has kept them in every game this season, that is going to continue to get harder while the Chiefs offense continues to move mostly at a snail’s pace.

Wrap your head around this: the combined records of the Chiefs past 2013 opponents is 15-35 and that list includes just one team with a winning record – the Dallas Cowboys, whom the Chiefs beat by one point at home. The combined record of the Chiefs opponents for its next nine games is 35-26 and that list includes just two teams that are more than a game below .500 – Washington and Oakland.

Am I saying that the Chiefs are a fraud and headed for a slide? No. What I

am saying is this: the schedule is going to get a lot harder coming up and the Chiefs are going to need to get better to keep this run going. In the end, I really wish we could just fast-forward the season to Kansas City’s two games against Denver as those are really going to determine whether or not KC is a legit championship contender.

Right now, do I think the Chiefs are better than the Saints who have beaten the Dolphins and Bears and whose lone loss was to the Patriots in Foxborough? No. I also think that Denver, despite dropping a close one on the road to Indianapolis, has proven far more than the Kansas City Chiefs have this season. Would the Chiefs beat Seattle, whose 6-1 warpath includes a 29-3 beatdown of San Francisco, in two out of three games played in Wyoming? I generally think not.

That said, this season is nearly half over and the fact is that if the playoffs started today, the Chiefs would be the AFC #1 seed looking at a bye and home-field advantage. The team’s formula for success is both clear and consistent – steady as she goes, don’t make mistakes, and own the 4th quarter. That has gotten the Chiefs through every game so far this season, and there is no indication yet that it won’t keep working.

Before this season, we were talking about the possibility of the Chiefs squeaking into the playoffs. Now, barring a totally unfathomable collapse (and I don’t mean Charles getting hurt, I mean a fissure in the Earth literally opening up and swallowing the city of Kansas City), this team is going to get another crack at ending the league’s longest playoff-win drought.

That is good enough for this humble fan. As fun as it is to have our team riding the top of the league, I don’t expect it to last. We’re not the ’85 Bears or the 2008 Pats. The important thing is that this rebound season is already historic for the league and special for the Chiefs.

As for the Broncos, “Come at me, bro.”

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  • berttheclock

    Hmmm, a little too much Tamada Mukuzani last night?

    • berttheclock

      Actually, I was worried a case of Wild Irish Rose 2014 had been Fed-Exed to Tbilisi.

  • Stan

    I remember back in 1985 or so the 9ers had the number one offense and defense and lost their first playoff game against Minnesota. So the best team doesn’t always win. A “FAMILY” team does.. You know one for all and all for one, that’s our Chiefs this year.

    • berttheclock

      If the Steelers are not going to use it this season, could we borrow their “We are Family” motto?

    • DieHard_ChiefsFan

      Also remember not so long ago the Chiefs had the number one Offense under Dick V, but a not so good defense, went 13-3 and we lost our first Playoff game as well. Offense is good to have and fills the seats but Defense will end up winning the game

      • berttheclock

        You mean the year everyone wanted a ticket to see the Steelers play the Chiefs at Arrowhead in a “Real” playoff game?

      • Battlespeed

        If I had to choose between a crushing defense with a mediocre offense and a team with a mediocre defense and a crushing offense, I would take the crushing defense every time.

  • Justin Ramirez

    The donkeys have shown more than we have? I highly doubt it. What they have shown is they are the first team with a high win ratio that the Chiefs are goin to kick the shit out of. We miggt not have the quarterback, but we do have the defense. I would much rather go with a qb that does not give up big plays, rather than goin with a defense that does.

    • Battlespeed

      The imponderable variable – “team”. Not one statistician in the history of sports has been able to define, much less measure it – and yet it probably explains more championships than any other.

      • HerbanLegend

        Well said, good sir.

  • chiefconcern

    I can remember hearing fans last year, Give Jamaal the ball more, he’s the best player on the team. Now it’s we are overusing him. Come on people which one is it?

    • berttheclock

      Remember when they complained every time he rested and Thomas Jones took his place? Reams of comments at the Star about which back had the far higher average and why wasn’t the higher one kept on the field to run.

    • shayaan

      yeah, such a joke. he’s averaging just under 20 rushes and 5 catches per game. if you had asked anyone before the season, they would have said that was the perfect way to use him. some fans will never be happy.

    • chiefin’ainteasy

      Its called a happy medium. Last year, if you just look at the total number of touches he had (320), he had a number I think we will all be pleased with. However when he had games where he had like 5 rushes, 6 rushes and 9 rushes, those are the games that we didn’t understand, nor did Crennel apparently lol. I personally want Charles to touch the ball every single time this year as he seems to be the only playmaker that is stepping up at the time. He is on pace for around 391 touches at the moment and that’s fine for this year as he seems to not be having an issue with it, but it does make you worry about what it will do for his future.

      • Battlespeed

        …and who’s to say what constitutes a “happy medium”??

  • fro661

    Winning becomes a frame of mind as does losing. Until defeated the team that has the best record is the best team. The statistics are nice but the final score is what controls everything else. How can a rational mind complain about the quarterback of a undefeated team? The quarterback is the leader and if he is leading the team to a perfect record, he is doing his job with or without passing.
    I am not a KC fan but I give credit where credit is due, be grateful for Aex S.

  • Eli Kirby

    The chiefs are purposely running as “vanilla” of an offense as they can get away with. Not wanting to tip their hand if they don’t have to while playing all these crap teams. I say Reid is a genius who is waiting for the Denver game before allowing this team to be set completely free from their leashes. I know, daydreaming Chiefs homer, but still hope I’m right! CHIEFS!!!!

    • Battlespeed

      I think it’s very likely that the playbook is deeper than Reid is showing until he thinks it’s the time to do so. I also think he’s waiting until the O-line gets a little more time to come together. We can’t forget it’s the youngest line in the NFL, and they’re still making life very rough on Smith with their breakdowns. The protection must improve before Reid can take the wraps off.

  • ILChiefan

    One point I’ll argue…the Chiefs and Denver have played 5 of the same 7 opponents…..Denver, to those 5 opponents, has allowed an average of 26.2 PPG, while the Chiefs have allowed 9.6. I’m not saying the Chiefs are the best or even better than Denver (although, we DO match up very well with their offense), but I am saying that Denver is not automatically better than the Chiefs.

    • Battlespeed

      …and when Denver did finally meet a worthy opponent, they lost.

  • Larry Devore

    should have broken down the donkey’s schedule also

  • gaden

    You can use statistics to support any point of view. It’s always misleading and often wrong. Where’s the guy who, during pre-season, wrote an article using stats to justify his claim that Bob Sutton was a bad hire? Why are there never follow ups on those kinds of stories? Which reminds me, what happened to the guy that made up the story about McCluster being unhappy with the return situation? Any fallout from that? An apology, anything? My point is, these guys are taught in journalism school that creating controversy improves ratings, higher ratings means you can raise rates for advertising, blah, blah, blah

  • AdamJ

    Browns, get prepared to be defeated by the Unbeatable CHIEFS this weekend!
    I
    was at Arrowhead Stadium when we broke the sound record! That’s why I
    couldn’t help but get this T-shirt when I came across it:
    http://teespring.com/wemadehistory2

  • PunjabiPete

    Hasn’t Denver played mostly the exact same teams Kansas City has so far?

  • Davé

    Great article and nothing but the truth. Regardless of 7-0 we are a team that stands a real chance of dropping games to quality competition. Alex Smith has had some nice drives but honestly many of these games we could have won by twenty more points had the QB play been anywhere near consistent.

  • Battlespeed

    Sports statistics: The art of torturing the data until it confesses to whatever you like.

  • cyberry

    One of the reasons Alex’s percentage is low.. He throws the ball away if it’s not there or not a positive play.. And live to make the first down with next play.. rather than a sack (not saying he never gets sacked) or force a throw for a interception. He put’s the ball where only his receiver can get it or it’s incomplete.. This team is NOT concerned with stats..ex Wins..

  • cyberry

    Everybody remember.. during pre-season it was thought if the Chiefs went 7-9..it would be a good turn around. Almost everybody agreed that 8 maybe 9 wins…would be remarkable.. Don’t lose sight of the mission of Andy Reid..no matter whats happens.. He is just getting started..

  • Blake Molina

    My argument about strength of schedule is: you know where SEVEN of those losses in their opponents’ records came from? The Chiefs.

    • HerbanLegend

      And another 5 or so from the donkeys.