The 2011 Chiefs Are Halfway There… But Halfway To Where?


Apparently, the Chiefs don’t do so well against AFC East opponents at home in 2011. That is one thing we did learn this weekend. Not only did the winless Miami Dolphins’ streak of, you know, being winless come to an emphatic end with a 31-3 exorcism at Arrowhead, but a couple of other streaks fizzled out on Sunday, too, starting with K.C.’s own recent undefeated stretch. So it looks like there will be no unprecedented 13-3 season after an 0-3 start, no 16-game run to a Super Bowl title. Oh well.

Perhaps, too, this marks the conclusion of Head Coach Todd Haley’s days as a bedraggled, unwashed sideline hobo. “I want to take my hat off to Miami,” he said after the game, effectively announcing an end to the streak in which he has worn the same streaked cap since the autumnal equinox.

But what’s weird, or not so weird, is that—other than dropping the Chiefs back to 4-4 for the first half of the season (and, hey, who saw even that as a strong possibility back in mid-September?)—the unfortunate events of November 6, 2011, tell us almost nothing about what is coming next for this team in the second half of the season.

Will these Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos at home this Sunday? I have no idea. Probably? Maybe not?

Will these Chiefs win the AFC West? I have no idea. Maybe? Probably not? It is possible. Of course it’s possible. They are currently in a three-way tie for first, and as rough as their second half looks, the road facing each of their divisional compatriots looks just as tough. This team could still end up 6-10 or 8-8 or even 9-7, but which nine? Which seven?

So, at the midway point, I might as well make one semi-bold prediction:

The Kansas City Chiefs will beat the Green Bay Packers.

That’s right. You read it here first. Unless, of course, you’d already read it somewhere else, and that’s okay, too.

The Chiefs will beat the Packers. How do I know this? The same way I am able to evaluate every other question raised during this up-and-down* Chiefs season: I have no idea. But they will. And the Packers may very well be 13-0 by the time they visit Arrowhead on December 18, just four days before the winter solstice.** They may even be resting some starters. In any event, I don’t expect the Chiefs will be playing the spoiler in terms of the Pack’s cruise back to the playoffs. But at least they will leave here feeling rotten.

*Or, more specifically, down-and-down-and-down-and-up-and-up-and-up-and-up-and-down.

**This has nothing to do with anything, except that yesterday I overheard someone say, “so the winter solstice is on December 22 this year,” and I thought, “Oh.” Plus, I already made that autumnal equinox reference in the second paragraph, so there’s that.

Especially after the loss to Miami, there aren’t any good reasons to think that Cassel & Co. (or, rather, Hali & Associates) can stop Mr. Rodgers, even in their own neighborhood. But I still believe this team is just as capable of another moment or two of magic this year, just as they have time and again brought us episodes of the utterly unexplainable.

So, who knows? Maybe on their way to that Super Bowl I/Preseason 2011 rematch, these Chiefs will also beat the Patriots—after all, the team seems to thrive a bit in the national spotlight and the storyline in New England on a Monday night will be just too good.

Maybe they’ll stand up to Ben “I Just Look Like I Smell Bad” Roethlisberger and his Steelers here in a few weeks, too. In fact, they owe me that much—the showdown on that Sunday night (assuming NBC doesn’t feel the need to “flex”) will be my other opportunity to see the Chiefs live at Arrowhead this year. This Sunday was the first, and it was a weird experience: thanks to a last-second invite from a friend-of-a-friend, I got to watch the game from one of the Dolphins’ suites. I’m not complaining—I saw it as a great way to enjoy some of Aramark’s finest delectables for free while subtly and graciously rooting my team on to its fifth straight win. It also seemed like a column that would write itself—I even planned to open with that quote from Psalm 23: “Thou preparest a feast before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my [chicken tenders] with oil; my [Bud Light koozie] runneth over.”  But instead, I got to watch a perfectly lovely family of Dolphins boosters celebrate while I now guiltlessly consumed as much of their food and drink as I could stomach, given the situation. No, really, I congratulate the Dolphins and their fans on this big step toward securing the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

But enough about me (that’s just a transitional phrase—this is, of course, all about me). The point of this (again, a transition—there really isn’t much of a point) is that not one of us has any real idea where the Chiefs are going from here. This team could lose to the Broncos, but still beat the Patriots, Steelers, and Packers. And if that happens, perhaps they will win the AFC West after all, and then go on a very (though by then seemingly less so) improbable run through the playoffs and get to their first Super Bowl in 42 years, where—who knows?—they will draw a rematch with the Green Bay Packers. And beat them again.

I mean, probably not. Except for when Green Bay comes to Arrowhead on December 18. The Chiefs will beat the Packers. I am sure of it.

As sure as I have been of anything this season.