Can anyone stop the Kansas City Chiefs at this point?

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 02: Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs greets players during warm ups prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on October 2, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 02: Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs greets players during warm ups prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on October 2, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Now that they are the NFL’s only undefeated team, it’s becoming safe to even wonder if there’s anyone who can stop them.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 4-0. They’re not 14-0. I just want to make that much clear from the start because the proposed question—I realize, trust me—feels a bit foolish.

Still, even after the first quarter of what is a very long NFL regular season, I’m left to wonder whether or not there’s a single NFL team who can upend the Kansas City Chiefs at this point. Not only are they the only undefeated team remaining the NFL, a sign of some decent parity in 2017, but they’re beating some very talented teams in the process. This isn’t some paltry schedule they’re playing; the Chiefs are winning in the face of the NFL’s best through the first four weeks.

Consider the following: they began the season by marching into the hallowed halls of the defending Super Bowl champions and, after a rough start, dominated them down the stretch for a 15 point victory. They’ve taken out two of the NFC’s toughest teams in the Philadelphia Eagles and, just last night, the Washington Redskins. Against a pesky L.A. Chargers team, they took care of business there as well.

Through it all, the Chiefs have never, ever looked the part of the NFL’s best team for 4 full quarters. In fact, sometimes it seems like they despite their own failures or miscues. They’re worst in the NFL in penalty yards given up after 4 weeks at 316, meaning they’ve allowed their opponents to march down an entire football field more than 3 full times in only four games. For the sake of comparison, the Carolina Panthers have only allowed 118 penalty yards, the lowest among teams who’ve played four games (the Buccaneers have allowed only 90 yards in 3 games).

The Chiefs have also been dealing with serious injuries along the way, including star safety Eric Berry, starting running back Spencer Ware, left guard Parker Ehinger, center Mitch Morse, linebacker Dee Ford, cornerback Steven Nelson and more. Each of those players are integral—not just some bit part—which means the Chiefs depth has been tested from the beginning.

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The Chiefs narrow victory on Monday night was the perfect example of the team simply finding a new way to win each week. They had a rookie kicker in Harrison Butker who missed his first career attempt. They had exactly zero sacks on the night, even when Kirk Cousins was missing his best protector in Trent Williams for a number of plays due to injury. The Chiefs also lost their starting right guard, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, to injury and he could be out for some time. This meant the Chiefs were playing all  backups between the tackles. Yet somehow they still allowed Alex Smith to complete 27 of 37 passes and average 5.4 yards/carry in the running game.

Through four games, the Chiefs have faced stiff competition, took significant blows, lost important personnel and still continue to win each and every week. They’ve been sloppy, undisciplined, fatigued and outmatched. Yet each time the Chiefs somehow end up on the right side of things. If there were a football god, you’d wonder what the Chiefs did to get on its good side.

Even more importantly, the Chiefs will only get better from here. Ehinger is on his way back. Morse should be healthy after that. Pass rushers Tamba Hali and Dadi Nicolas will be ready to return by midseason, as will cornerback Steven Nelson. The same could be said of Ford, perhaps even by Week 5. In other words, there are reinforcements coming to K.C. that will prove very valuable down the stretch.

Some players will also benefit from getting playing time. Reggie Ragland made his first NFL start on Monday night in the Chiefs base defense and the linebacker should blossom with more and more game reps. Tyreek Hill is still learning to perfect his routes. Kareem Hunt is learning to block. A young offensive line should coalesce as the season wears on, and yet these backups are earning valuable reps when pressed into duty.

Then of course there’s the defense, where young players like Chris Jones are still finding their ceiling and a man/beast like Tanoh Kpassagnon hasn’t even been given a chance to showcase his stuff just yet. Bennie Logan is still getting to know his teammates. Eric Murray is learning how to fill big shoes. Dan Sorensen is blossoming under more playing time. Ford will be playing for a big payday.

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The Chiefs will likely lose at some point and it could even be soon. But until now it’s interesting that they’ve continued to win in the face of their own mistakes and injuries. If they can become a well-oiled machine that shows plenty of discipline and can even get some key performers back to health, the Chiefs could look the part of a team expected to win each and every week.