Oct. 15, 2016
Are the Chiefs a Legit Super Bowl Threat? Not JUST Yet
The Chiefs defeated the Raiders for the second time this season, thus improving their record to 10-3, ahead of Oakland technically (tied record-wise, but the two wins over edges them ahead), and now are a game back of New England for the best record in the AFC, thus capping an impressive run of beating the Broncos, Falcons, and Raiders in consecutive weeks.
Needless to say I am impressed. You have to be.
But do I consider Kansas City the team everybody needs to fear when January rolls around? No.
Needless to say the Chiefs have some good players on both sides of the ball that you can't help but be impressed with: Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Eric Berry, and they have a quarterback who is solid in Alex Smith. Yes, Alex Smith. Listen, I know people give him that rap of being an above average quarterback, but I will say this and I might be in the minority here: had Alex Smith stayed in San Francisco and was the 49ers QB in 2012, Lombardi Trophy #6 would reside by the Bay, and possibly Jim Harbaugh never leaves. But I've gone off topic....................
It's just.............................well, they're the Chiefs.
Yeah, sounds very unfair, and no, I am not saying they are on the same level as the Cleveland Browns or in the past the Detroit Lions or until this year the Oakland Raiders in futility. The Chiefs have had some amazing seasons over the past 20 years. But..................when January starts, the Chiefs end. Again, unfair, I know, and you shouldn't point out to the "history" of a team's failures (following the Lions makes it hard for me NOT to however).
So, why do I NOT consider Kansas City a threat for the Super Bowl? Simple reasons actually.
1. Unless Brady gets injured or Goodell finds that he has done another illegal bit, the Patriots run the AFC. Yeah, simple as that. And it is a dominant style. Not a "squeak-by" your opponent way. And the Chiefs have to go to Foxboro if there is a playoff game between the two. Doesn't necessarily bode well. Would the Chiefs play them tough? Yes, but I think New England would be way too much to handle and the defense for the Patriots is not too bad as opposed to Kansas City................
2. The Chiefs are near the bottom of most offensive and defensive categories. They are winning games, but how? The offense has a playmaker in Tyreek Hill now, but they are only 23rd in total offense and 29th in total defense. But the adage is, you find ways to win games. And they are winning them. You do have to credit Andy Reid however for this. He is a great regular season coach.
3. Andy Reid's playoff woes. This does come back to history a bit since Reid's days in Philadelphia. The Eagles teams he had in Philly were probably far more talented than what he has in Kansas City. So in that case, it goes to show you he is an excellent coach for the first 16 games. It is those playoff games. Yeah, he's won his share of playoff games, but the haunting record obviously is 1-4 in Conference Championship games plus a 1-2 record so far in KC. A good buddy of mine who isn't a fan of Reid says he's a guy who is built for the regular season, but not for a Super Bowl run. Possible truth to that.
4. The Chiefs outside of Alex Smith have nobody who could take over a game. Yes, I am an Alex Smith fan, I admit it. However, Jeremy Maclin is reliable as a house of cards in a tornado. Jamaal Charles, who is hoping to return to a playoff game this year cannot stay on the field. And while I am loving Tyreek Hill, he will have to show a little bit more. Eric Berry is the best bet and he pretty much won the game in Atlanta last week. But the Chiefs need somebody on offense to help out and not just one game here & there. Hence why I think they'd lose to New England.
5. Yes, the history. I cannot completely turn a blind eye to the Chiefs history. Compared to the other 4, this is the least legit. But...............we saw Schottenheimer lead Kansas City to the best record in 95 and 97, only to lose in the first game against Indianapolis and Denver, respectively. We then saw Dick Vermeil have his own nightmare in 2003 when he got the Chiefs to a first round bye and lost to the Colts himself. The 2013 playoff where they blew a big lead to Indianapolis again (this time in Indy). So maybe it is "just avoid the Colts" for playoff strategy. Bad news though: Colts are in the thick of the AFC South playoff race. More bad news: as I am posting this, Derrick Johnson ruptured his Achilles. Anyway.................
The Chiefs are 10-3 and really in the driver's seat now in the AFC West. However, it doesn't feel convincing they are 10-3 (similar to the Lions in the NFC North at 8-4 right now). And they face 2 out of 3 teams fighting for a playoff spot (albeit at home) in Tennessee and Denver. The win over the Raiders show they can hang, but they still had issues as well that Oakland didn't capitalize on. At all. But overall questions do need to be answered in Kansas City to see if the Chiefs are really a major threat or just getting breaks go their way in 2016. But hey, sometimes that's all you need.
I like to see feel good stories about Berry and seeing Hill & Smith do their thing. I'm not really a big Chiefs fan, but I like the players on the team and hope they do great as I would like to see them in a Super Bowl. However, I don't think they match up with the likes of New England at all......or even Pittsburgh for that matter. While I still can't see the Chiefs as a legit threat yet, anything is still possible the rest of the way.
-Fan in the Obstructed Seat