Playing the “What If” game with the Chiefs’ remaining schedule

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2. The resurgence of Tamba Hali

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first seven weeks of the season, Tamba Hali has looked every bit of 31 years old. He hasn’t been the disruptive force we’ve known him to be over the years in 2015. He looks to be laboring in pursuit. He’s noticeably slower than he was just one year ago. Sunday was different. Hali’s presence was felt by the Steelers’ offensive line and he dumped Landry Jones twice in the game (the last sack being the defensive play that sealed the game for Kansas City). He’s not getting any younger, but if he can continue to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks with crafty hand fighting and leverage, the Chiefs have a shot to be a very good defensive team down the stretch.

3. Offensive line continuity and maturation

Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s starting five was the best offensive line configuration we’ve seen all season. Alex Smith was sacked just twice in the game and clearly had much more time in the pocket to set up his throws. He completed a pass of at least 25 yards to three different receivers. If Reid can commit to a vertical passing game, and the front five can keep Smith clean, the Chiefs have a real shot at putting points on the board. The line group will also be counted upon to open lanes up for West. He had a fairly modest day until he sprang a run for 36 yards midway through the fourth quarter. If that quintet can continue to gel, everything changes for Reid’s offense.

It’s fun to dream up scenarios where the Chiefs could get back on track, but the reality is much more sobering. The Chiefs are still three games under .500 and have a long road trip to London for a matchup with the Lions and a post-bye week meeting with the Broncos before they can even pull even in the standings. A top-10 pick is more likely than a trip to the postseason, but the Chiefs will make every effort to salvage their season. It may be too late, but pride is too important in the NFL for teams to admit a season is felled before the month of November.

Is it reasonable to think the Chiefs can win 77 percent of their remaining games? Was Sunday’s win a fluke due solely to the absence of two serviceable Steeler quarterbacks? Use the comment section below to weigh in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!