It’s Officially Hunting Season For The Chiefs


Chiefs-Raiders 2015 round one is in the books, and it was a pretty satisfying one. The game was tightly contested most of the day, until the Kansas City Chiefs defense did that thing they did where they force the opposing quarterback into terrible throws that hit someone wearing a red helmet square in the chest.

Although the game was far from perfect, it was good to see the Chiefs overcome a less than ideal situation against a team fighting with all they had. I wrote last week that the Chiefs have the model to overcome adversity, and it looks like they’re following it.

I want to be excited about the Chiefs’ chances to run the table through the rest of the season. ESPN is, with their analysts determining the Chiefs have a 35.9 percent chance to win the rest of the games on their schedule, the highest mark in the NFL. The team also has a 92.8 percent chance of making the playoffs. The fact this is the same team that looked to be dead in the water at 1-5 is astounding.

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Still, as much as the turn-around has inspired faith, and the game performances have shown improvement, I’m hesitant. The Chiefs have a clear path to the playoffs, and a slate of opponents that look ready to roll over and take a loss with no questions asked. The only problem is, we’ve been in this situation before.

The Chiefs certainly look like they are working hard not to fall victim to one of these lesser teams in the second half of the season. It still remains to be seen, however, if Kansas City is truly over that bad habit they’ve had in recent memory where they drop games to inferior teams through lack of execution, uninspired play calling, and needless mistakes.

The Raiders game was a huge step in the right direction. The Chiefs played a sloppy game for much of the contest, allowing turnovers and penalties to keep Oakland a stone’s throw ahead. The opening drive by Oakland certainly had me worried. The Raiders took the ball 80 yards downfield with Oakland running the bar way more efficiently than most expected. An unnecessary roughness penalty against the Chiefs helped, of course, but Oakland scored with relative ease.

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    Of course, on the ensuing drive, KC came right back and punched Oakland in the mouth, evening the score and setting the tone for a half of football where it was hard to tell if either team wanted to score again. Oakland finally broke the scoring drought just before the half ended, and Kansas City looked like they could be falling victim to a trap game.As we know now, they didn’t. The Chiefs used great defensive play, smart football from Alex Smith, and a big day from Jeremy Maclin to overcome early mistakes and take the win.

    So if the Chiefs have proven themselves, why am I nervous about the rest of the season?

    Easy. It’s trap season. There are officially no teams remaining on our schedule with something to fight for. There will be no playoffs or trophies or celebration for any of the four remaining teams set to face the Chiefs. That makes them dangerous for a different reason; backed into a wall, some of these teams are looking to lash out. They will see an opportunity to take from the Chiefs what was taken from them: a chance at the Super Bowl.

    The Chiefs have come a long way this season, and tentatively look like they’re ready to bury a few demons. Still, they must not get complacent. It’s hunting season for four teams in the NFL. Their target will be the Chiefs. Kansas City must do everything possible to avoid getting caught.