After the previous NFL season ended, the Kansas City Chiefs Kingdom went into the current season with some very high hopes.
In his first full year as a starter, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (pictured left) set the world on fire. Mahomes, 24, blazed his own trail decisively prior to becoming the NFL’s reigning MVP. In the 2018-19 season, Mahomes led his team to its third-straight division title. Under Mahomes’ leadership, the Chiefs cruised to the playoffs with a 12-4 record.
The third-year quarterback became the second behind the great Peyton Manning to pass for 5000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a single season. Though the Chiefs lost last year’s AFC Championship game to the reigning Super Bowl title holders (New England Patriots), many experts and analysts labeled them as favorites to go all the way in 2019-20.
Though these predictions came with good reason, that was then and this is now.
Eleven games into the current season (7-4), the Chiefs have already lost as many games as they lost in 2018’s regular season. Yesterday’s Monday Night Football win against their AFC West rivals (Los Angeles Chargers) was not very convincing (24-17). The Chargers are 4-7 and are probably out of AFC playoff contention 11 games in.
Nonetheless, they had a chance to beat the reigning AFC West Champions. In the game’s first half, Andy Reid’s (pictured right) high-powered offense was stifled by the Chargers. The Chiefs were only a week removed from a stunning loss to the lowly Tennessee Titans as well.
That was Mahomes’ first game back after a knee injury he sustained several weeks ago.
“[Mahomes] threw for over 400 yards [against the Titans]. But it wasn’t enough for his team and his struggling defense,” said Mike Greenberg in a pre-game report for Monday Night Football.
Greenberg is a veteran ESPN sportscaster and radio personality.
To Greenberg’s point, defense is an area where the Chiefs must improve if they want to go deep into the playoffs. The Chiefs are not a Top 10-ranked defense overall. They are ranked 20th and allow 23 points per game, according to TeamRankings.com.
Also, NFL.com had some sobering rankings, which were calculated based on the hypothetical notion of the NFL Playoffs starting today.
The Chiefs were given a Number 3 seed overall for the AFC. They would host a 6-4 Houston Texans team with a Number 6 seed. If the Chiefs won that Wild Card game, they would have to face the 8-2 Baltimore Ravens in a hypothetical Divisional Round. The Ravens delivered the Texans a thorough 41-7 beating on Sunday (November 17).
Though the Chiefs beat the Ravens 33-28 earlier in the season on September 22, the Ravens have gone on vengeful rage since then. They have even delivered the 9-1 New England Patriots their only loss of the season. The Chiefs could not do that against New England last year during the regular season or in the AFC Championship.
Professional wrestling legend Ric Flair’s famous adage emphatically states: “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man!” The Kansas City Chiefs must do just that in this year’s playoff picture to reign supreme for the first time since 1970. The road to Lombardi Land went through Kansas City, Missouri last year indeed.
However, this year, that same road to glory will go through Foxborough, Massachusetts; against a team that is currently the Number 1 seed overall in the NFL. The Chiefs have a lot to fine tune going into their Week 12 Bye.
The chances for them to get a first-round playoff Bye Week are not coming any easier after that.