Are the Kansas City Chiefs' flaws too great to overcome this season?

The Chiefs still have a high ceiling in them, but my concern is that their floor dips too low far too often.

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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The Kansas City Chiefs lost another heartbreaking and frustrating game on Sunday when the Buffalo Bills walked out of Arrowhead with a 20-17 win. The game was a microcosm of the Chiefs' problems during the 2023 season. There were times when they looked completely lost and there were times when Patrick Mahomes made you believe this team was still a Super Bowl contender, but ultimately their mistakes were too great to overcome.

That's not to say that the Chiefs are a bad football team. It's easy to overreact after a tough loss, but the Chiefs are still clearly one of the top eight teams in the NFL, and that makes them a legit playoff team with a chance to win a Super Bowl. When you combine that with the Super Bowl-winning pedigree of Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Chris Jones, and several other players, it would be crazy to completely write this team off.

The problem is that while the Chiefs are still a Super Bowl contender, they are a very flawed Super Bowl contender. You can make an argument that every single Super Bowl contender has their own flaws that they have to overcome, but this season it is starting to feel like the Chiefs may have a few too many. Can the Chiefs still beat any team in the NFL on any given Sunday? Absolutely, but can they string together the four straight wins against playoff opponents that will likely be needed to win another Super Bowl without their flaws getting the best of them in one of those games? That is another question.

While the Chiefs still have the potential for greatness in them, it takes a sustained run of greatness to win a Super Bowl. You need both a high ceiling of talent and a high floor of execution to string together that kind of run. The Chiefs still have that high ceiling in them, but my concern is that their floor dips too low far too often.

This season is starting to remind me in some ways of the 2021 season. That was Tyreek Hill's final year in Kansas City, when defenses adjusted to how they were playing the Chiefs and took the big plays away from them. The results had the Chiefs with a 3-4 record to start the season as they looked completely out of sync and frustrated.

The Chiefs turned things around in the second half and went into the playoffs having won nine of their final 10 games. After throttling the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round and pulling out the dramatic "13 seconds" game against the Bills in the second round, it felt like they were destined for another Super Bowl win. Then those same issues and frustrations from the start of the season reappeared against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game, and just like that, their season was over.

This year the issues and frustrations have less to do with how their opponents are playing them and are much more self-inflicted. The turnovers, the penalties, the inconsistent line play, the dropped passes, and the all-around poor play by most of the wide receivers all feel like in-house issues that the Chiefs have to constantly overcome. Do they have enough talent and experience to overcome those issues? Sure, but for how long?

The Chiefs' opponents in their final four games are a combined 20-32 on the season, with the Joe Burrow-less Bengals being the only team left on their schedule with more than 5 wins. So barring a complete meltdown, the Chiefs are probably looking at finishing the season at least 11-6, if not 12-5. Could they build some offensive rhythm over those four games and go into the playoffs on a much more positive note? Absolutely, in fact, I'd say that's probably the most likely scenario at this point.

My fear is that the issues we've seen off and on throughout the season might be too ingrained to eliminate completely. The problem isn't just the turnovers, since they could make it through a playoff game without turning the ball over. The problem isn't just the penalties, because they could make it through one playoff game without Jawaan Taylor getting flagged 47 times (whether he's more to blame or the NFL is on a witch hunt is a debate for another day). The problem isn't just the crucial drops by wide receivers (or clearly lining up in the neutral zone on what should have been an incredible game-winning play), as the Chiefs proved they could win one playoff game with just Marquez Valdes-Scantling during last season's Super Bowl run. The problem is that with all those major issues looming, can they keep them all at bay for a four-game playoff stretch?

I wish I could answer yes, but what I've seen through 13 games this season does not have me feeling confident. I hope the final four games of the season change my mind. Unfortunately, the 2021 Chiefs changed my mind down the home stretch of the season and in their first couple of playoff games, and then out of nowhere the issues from the start of the season showed up in the AFC Championship Game and sent them home. It certainly feels like that could be the path the 2023 Chiefs are on right now.

I'm not the only one who feels the frustration. Patrick Mahomes was more upset after this game than any other time in his Chiefs tenure. While I'm sure he was upset with the call on the Kadarius Toney offsides, I have to imagine a lot of that was built-up frustration that he's been holding in throughout the season. So what do you think Chiefs fans? Do you still think this team can iron out their issues in time to win another Super Bowl or do you think that at some point these issues will be too much for them to overcome? Here's to hoping that next week against the New England Patriots the Chiefs have a chance to get back on the right path.

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