After four straight wins, the Chiefs now bear a strong resemblance to the team we thought they were heading into the season. Is this version of the Chiefs capable of winning a Superbowl championship?
The 2018 season ended in typical disastrous Chiefs fashion, this time in the AFC Championship game as a result of four crucial inches of Dee Ford’s hand placement. In the end, a record-setting offense and an MVP quarterback was not enough to mask glaring defensive issues (the team finished ranked 31st in total defense). The offseason was spent revamping said defense with a new coordinator, scheme and a myriad of fresh faces.
Early season struggles have been erased
After surging to a 4-0 start, the wheels came off this season a bit. Injuries mounted, penalties piled up and Patrick Mahomes went down in Denver with what a dislocated knee cap that would keep him out for two games. Upon his return, the Chiefs immediately were handed an inexcusable and improbable loss to the Titans, a game that saw many jump as far away as possible from the Chiefs’ bandwagon.
Sitting at 6-4, many feared that the team would have to go head to head with the Oakland Raiders just to win the division. Alas, the past four weeks have erased those bitter memories as the team has now won its unprecedented fourth straight division title and beat conference nemesis New England along the way.
The road to a championship
As we sit today, the Chiefs are currently the owners of the 3 seed in the AFC playoffs. Despite wins against 1 seed Baltimore and 2 seed New England, the Chiefs are going to need some help if they are going to procure a first round bye. Having to play a home game in the wildcard round followed by potential road games at New England and at Baltimore is not exactly the most carefree route to a championship, but this team has proven its mettle on the road with only one loss away from Arrowhead this season.
While the Chiefs offense has taken a dip this season, going from 1st in the NFL in 2018 to 8th this year, the defense has been able to climb the proverbial statistical ladder from 31st to 18th. After Sunday’s 23-3 bludgeoning of the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs rose to 10th in scoring defense, a stat that could be very key going forward as the unit continues to gel after a disastrous start. Even with a slight plunge in offensive production, Patrick Mahomes, the offensive line and the receiving corpse are as healthy currently as they’ve been all season
Even with two vaunted opponents possibly sitting squarely in the Chiefs path, it’s hard to question the limitations of a Patrick Mahomes led team with an improving defense. The Chiefs have now proven they can win in New England, which may be a sinking ship as it is and Lamar Jackson is 0-2 against KC the past two seasons. So to Chiefs fans with visions of Miami dancing in your heads this holiday season: dream away and buckle up for the thrill ride that’s on the horizon.