For the K.C. Chiefs and Washington Football Team, the 2021 season isn’t starting out all that hot. For the Chiefs, a historic offense is no longer enough to blow other teams away given the team’s proclivity for turnovers and the defense’s inability to stop any opponent from imposing its will. For WFT, a defense that was supposed to be among the NFL’s best still hasn’t lived up to expectations, especially in the front seven.
On Sunday, as both teams prepare to face each other in Week 6, some team is likely to look back on track—at least for another week.
Last week, the Chiefs took one on the chin at home in a highly-anticipated game in primetime against the Buffalo Bills. Meanwhile, the Football Team did the same in giving up 33 points to the New Orleans Saints who no longer have Drew Brees under center and are still missing Michael Thomas for the season’s first half. Now in Week 6, both teams are going to try to avoid the start of a losing streak and silence their doubters for a week (or at least quiet them a bit in K.C.’s instance).
For those unfamiliar, Washington has one of the most stout front seven units in football, deep with both impact talent and led by the dynamic Chase Young. From Montez Sweat to Jonathan Allen, Matthew Ioannidis to DaRon Payne, and Cole Holcomb to Jamin Davis, WFT’s defensive front is a work of art—or at least it is on paper.
Even after watching Ryan Kerrigan walk, Ron Rivera‘s defense was supposed to be the team’s calling card, anchored up front with the sort of fearsome front that made life so hard for the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Instead, Washington allowed the Saints to run up the score to 33 last week and allowed 30 more to the Falcons in Week 4. The Bills scored over 40 in Week 3, and the New York Giants put up 29 in Week 2. The only time a team hasn’t been in orbit of 30 or more is Week 1 in the team’s 20-14 loss to the L.A. Chargers.
The same can be said for the Chiefs who came into the season as the odds-on favorites to win Super Bowl LVI. The Chiefs sit at 2-3 in the basement of the very division they’ve owned for a half season. The Bills just dominated them completely at Arrowhead in an important game for AFC supremacy and now the Chiefs are down for conference losses against Buffalo, Los Angeles, and Baltimore. If not for some heroics against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, they could easily have a single win to their name (against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4).
At the same time, the Chiefs can put together a win in Week 6 and bring the record back to even in a division where the Denver Broncos are falling apart and the Las Vegas Raiders are mired in controversy with Jon Gruden’s nasty exit. It wouldn’t satisfy everyone, to be clear, but beating the teams they should is at least one sign that the Chiefs are getting things right, even if they struggle against fellow contenders.
Something is going to give on Sunday at FedExField. Either a Washington defense begins to wake up and live up to the potential they had before the season began or the Chiefs turn the corner and wake up to show themselves to be worthy of contention. For Washington, the win would be considered a feather in the cap. For the Chiefs, it would be taking care of necessary business.
Either team would take what they can get at this point.