The Kansas City Chiefs have proven they have a formula that can win games in the NFL. The question is if we can trust them to follow it from here on out.
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the surging Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday and reestablished themselves as the AFC West favorite and a playoff contender. Two months ago it would have seemed ridiculous to have even the slightest doubt about either of those things, but a 1-6 slump shattered the collective confidence of the Chiefs Kingdom and put both the division and any shot at a playoff run in serious doubt.
While confidence may not have returned to the level it was when KC was 5-0 and sitting on top of the NFL universe, back-to-back wins against the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers have put a stranglehold on the division and seem to have (at least for the time being) righted the ship. The Chiefs finally rediscovered their winning formula; now they just have to stick to it as the playoffs get closer.
I understand both extremes of belief from Chiefs fans right now. If you’re sitting there thinking, “I’m not getting my hopes up at all. This team will be one and done in the playoffs again!” I totally get it and understand why you would feel that way. At the same time if you’re sitting there thinking, “This team has proven they have the talent to beat anyone and if they’ve found their mojo again then there’s no reason they can’t make a run in the playoffs!” I totally understand that thinking, too.
Part of the reason the 2017 Kansas City Chiefs have been so frustrating is because they have been both incredibly impressive and absolutely awful. Neither one is an exaggeration at all. The reason the 1-6 stretch of putrid performances was more frustrating than other losing streaks that we’ve all lived through is because I think we all deep down knew the Chiefs were too talented to play like a bottom five team. We’ve seen bottom five teams in Kansas City and this roster isn’t it.
The Chiefs proved both early in the season and during their latest two wins that they have a formula that wins games. Why they got SO FAR away from that formula for a seven-game stretch is a complete mystery to me. We could probably debate this entire offseason over who and what is to blame. That’s not what I want this post to be about. Instead, I want to lay out the winning formula for the Chiefs. It’s really not that complicated.
Let’s start with the most basic and team wide part of the formula.