5 convincing reasons to believe the Chiefs defense is Super Bowl-ready

There are five reasons to believe that this defense is good enough to carry the Chiefs to another Super Bowl this season.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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The Kansas City Chiefs completely dismantled the Miami Dolphins Saturday night. The frigid temperatures may have made the game the fourth coldest in NFL history, but it couldn't cool off the red-hot Chiefs defense. In a year where the story in Kansas City has consistently been about an underperforming offense, the defense has slowly become one of the top units in the NFL.

Early in the season, the feeling was "Thank goodness the defense played well." That gradually morphed into "Thank goodness the defense is better this season." Eeventually that became "the defense is carrying the team this year."

When you have the face of the NFL and reigning MVP in Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, a head coach widely regarded as one of the top offensive minds in the history of the NFL, and a tight end that has the top sports podcast in the world and who is also dating the biggest pop star on the planet, it's nearly impossible for the defense to get the spotlight. However, they deserve it.

In fact, I believe there are five reasons to believe that this defense is good enough to carry the Chiefs to another Super Bowl this season despite the inconsistencies of the offense. That list of reasons has to start with the man running the unit.

1. Steve Spagnuolo is having a great year

Steve Spagnuolo has a reputation for being one of the better defensive coordinators in the league. In fact, I often think that Spagnuolo has been better appreciated by outsiders than he has by Chiefs fans. I think part of the reason for that is that when you watch every play so closely you sometimes forget to zoom out and look at the big picture.

Are there frustrating drives where an opposing offense moves the ball on the Chiefs' defense? Yes, but usually Spagnuolo is eventually able to find a counter to what the offense is doing and slow or even shut them down. The Chiefs' defense has allowed just 16.7 points per game through the 18 games they have now played. In those 18 games, they only allowed more than 21 points twice. Once was against the Denver Broncos when the offense turned the ball over five times. The other was against the Green Bay Packers and that was probably the only game all season where you can make an argument that the Chiefs defense didn't play well enough to deserve the win.

We'll get to the great players who are making this defense successful in a moment, but it wouldn't be fair to not take a second and acknowledge how great of a job Spagnuolo has done, both in getting his young defense coached up and ready to play and in his adjustments and schemes that have been giving opposing teams fits. Here's just one example from the Dolphins game.

My last thought on Spagnuolo is one that should have the rest of the NFL terrified. Over his tenure as Chiefs defensive coordinator he has a track record of getting his best defensive performances at the end of the season. It used to be that this was something Chiefs fans reminded themselves of during defensive struggles during the first half of the season, but KC's defensive success early in the year has made some forget about this. Spags saves some of his "bag of tricks" specifically for the playoffs. This is because he gradually adds more and more complex schemes as we get later in the season.

Not only are the Chiefs young players getting more experienced and more confident, Spags is giving them more and more as they can handle it. In previous seasons that took the Chiefs defense from struggling early to good enough to win in the playoffs with an elite offense. This year that same improvement/ramp up late in the season could take them from good to the caliber of defense that can lead a team to a Super Bowl.

Now let's get to the players.