The Kansas City Chiefs have somehow failed to capitalize on the easiest parts of their schedule, losing to teams they should roll over.
The Kansas City Chiefs have one gimme left. Then again, at this point, there’s no such thing as a gimme when it comes to Chiefs football.
Next Sunday, the Chiefs will play the New York Jets in a game that, on paper, has a clear talent differential, a team of haves and another with have nots. The Jets were supposed to be the third straight easy game for the Chiefs after the bye, a string of second half, second class teams that were intended to give the Chiefs a serious boost toward the playoffs. Instead, these teams are chipping away at their postseason hopes.
When the Chiefs first entered the bye, they were already a team in need. It’s not as if the Chiefs have just started stumbling. However, they were at least losing to much better teams or hated division rivals who always rise up to play them well. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the NFL’s best teams. The Dallas Cowboys had Zeke Elliott and came ready to play. The Oakland Raiders played them tough and won, while the Denver Broncos played them tough and lost.
The bye week came at the perfect time. Andy Reid was supposedly unbeatable after a bye week and the Chiefs were getting healthier with each passing week. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Mitch Morse were back and healthy along the offensive line. Tamba Hali returned to help the pass rush. With two weeks off, the Chiefs were expected to rest and retool and then feast on the NFL’s dregs.
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One week out of the gate, however, the Chiefs looked worse than ever before. Against the New York Giants, the Chiefs laid a serious egg, allowing a one-win team to not only play them close but win in an embarrassing 12-9 game that didn’t just show the familiar conservative approach from Alex Smith but a shell of even that player—a quarterback with happy feet and irrational fear in the pocket.
This week, against the visiting Buffalo Bills, the Chiefs should have rolled over Sean McDermott’s team at home. There were key injuries for the Bills that included Kelvin Benjamin and Cordy Glenn. The Bills defense had allowed 135 points over the last three games, all losses. The Bills were fading fast in the AFC, had lost key players and looked like a doormat ready for the Chiefs to walk over.
Instead, the Chiefs are now reeling at 6-5 following a 5-0 start. They’re a single game up over the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC West and they still have to face every single team in their division one more time. What once seemed like an unsurmountable lead has nearly disappeared completely, proof of the sheer cliff the Chiefs have gone over in the last month or more.
With the Jets up next week, the Chiefs have one more chance to gain some ground in the standings by holding Todd Bowles team at bay. Unfortunately, despite how things look on paper, the reality is that anyone would be a fool to bet on the Chiefs at this point. Instead of taking advantage of the easiest part of the schedule, the Chiefs have been exposed as one of them—the easy team on every other team’s schedule after starting the season at the league’s best.