Can the Kansas City Chiefs win seven in a row?

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This coming Sunday the Kansas City Chiefs will go to Denver to face the division leading Broncos. While a KC victory would be fantastic and I will certainly be hoping it happens, logic dictates that the Broncos and their dominant defense that held Aaron Rodgers to just 77 yards passing are the safe bet to win against the 3-5 Chiefs. If that does happen the Chiefs will be looking at a 3-6 record with seven games remaining. While many KC fans have already written the Chiefs off this season there are still those of us that are holding out hope that they can pull off a miracle. A loss to Denver would likely mean that miracle would have to be a seven game winning streak to end the season.

Earlier this week I read Andrew Jones’ piece here at AA titled “How the Chiefs can reach the playoffs“. It’s a good read and breaks down what could (and would have to) happen in order for KC to make the playoffs. In his scenario he has KC losing this week to the Broncos and then winning out the rest of the season. If the Chiefs want to make the playoffs I would have to agree with Andrew that this would be the most likely path that would guarantee them a spot. The question is, is this even realistic?

As of writing this the Chargers haven’t played their Monday Night Football matchup with the Bears yet, but minus the result of that game these are the current records of the Chiefs remaining opponents (after Denver).

@ SD (2-6)
vs Buf (4-4)
@ Oak (4-4)
vs SD (2-6)
@ Bal (2-6)
vs Clv (2-7)
vs Oak (4-4)

So the good news for those holding out hope for KC to still make the playoffs is that after Denver none of the Chiefs remaining opponents currently have a winning record, and of the three remaining games against teams with a .500 record only one of them is on the road.

The bad news is that you can make a case that the three most difficult games on that list are the first three. The Chiefs are going to have to step up and win against Philip Rivers in San Diego, beat a physical Buffalo team in Arrowhead, and then go into the Black Hole and beat a much improved Raiders team. Are these all winnable games? Yes, they are, but they are also all very losable if KC plays like they did early in the season. If KC can find a way to win those three games and are sitting at 6-6 with a relatively easy final four games (three of which are at home) and momentum on their side it will be time for all KC fans to get on board.

If you read my piece last week you know that I believe the key to the Chiefs improved play over their past couple of games is that they have been much better on third down on both offense and defense. If you want to see the numbers to back that up, you can read that piece HERE. So if you combine my last two assumptions (that the Chiefs winning their next three games after Denver is essential for their playoff hopes AND that being better on third down is the key to KC’s improved play) then the question becomes….

Is there reason to believe that KC can win on third down in those three games?

In order to answer this question I decided to look at San Diego, Buffalo, and Oakland and see how they have been on third down this season. These numbers obviously don’t include SD’s Monday night game but do factor in Buffalo and Oakland’s games from Sunday.

Next: Can KC win in San Diego?