The Kansas City Chiefs continued to show some serious flaws as they dropped their second consecutive game. However, they still control their own destiny.
The 2018 Kansas City Chiefs have somehow mastered the art of being both a thrilling and frustrating team to follow.
On one hand, they have the most exciting young quarterback in all the NFL in Patrick Mahomes. They have as good of record (or better) as any team in the AFC and, with a win over the lowly Oakland Raiders next week, they’ll be able to secure the number one seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
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If you choose to just end your description of the Chiefs there it sounds like life is fantastic in the Chiefs Kingdom. The problem is that the Chiefs clearly have one of the worst defenses in all the NFL and consequently have found themselves on the losing end of four playoff-caliber games this season (like they were on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks). That fact makes it really hard to approach the playoffs with a sense of optimism despite all the good things that I started this paragraph with.
There lies the paradox of the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs.
They are incredibly talented and fun to watch.
They are incredibly flawed and often make you want to throw things.
One minute Patrick Mahomes is making a play that literally no other quarterback in the NFL could pull off and you are thinking this team is unstoppable. The next minute the defense is getting completely trucked by the opposing running game and wide receivers are running wide open through the secondary on almost every snap.
One minute you are on cloud nine in disbelief that the team you love has this quarterback that is the envy of the league, and the next you are cursing our bad fortune that we are stuck with Bob Sutton’s inept defense. One minute you are out of your seat screaming in joy, “How did he do that?” Two minutes later you’re screaming in rage, “CAN ANYONE OUT THERE MAKE A PLAY?!”
It’s an emotional roller coaster that leaves you with both an adrenaline rush and feeling sick to your stomach.
The good news is that no other team in the AFC is any better off. The New England Patriots are looking washed with no Josh Gordon, a hobbled Rob Gronkowski, a mediocre defense, and Tom Brady finally starting to look his age. The Houston Texans have a great record and an exciting young quarterback but have less quality wins on their resume than K.C. and couldn’t win a game with the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday that could have put them in the driver’s seat for the number one seed.
The Baltimore Ravens have a great run game and defense but have a limited passing attack and a loss at Arrowhead already on their resumé. The Los Angeles Chargers may have pulled off a comeback at Arrowhead and a great all-around record, but in typical Chargers fashion they couldn’t win when it counted Sunday and will now likely have to play their entire playoff run on the road. Then there’s the Pittsburgh Steelers that may have played themselves right out of the playoffs on Sunday.
So when I say that the very flawed Kansas City Chiefs control their own destiny, I don’t just mean that they can still get the number one seed in the AFC. They still have a very real chance to make a Super Bowl run.
Now, do I believe that the team we have watched the past two weeks can win a Super Bowl? No, unfortunately, I do not. There would have to be a serious improvement on defense for that to seem feasible to me. However, we have seen enough magic from Patrick Mahomes in his first season as a starting quarterback that you simply cannot write him off.
I fully believe that the Chiefs will win at home against the Raiders and force the road to the Super Bowl to go through Arrowhead. Then it would just take one game at home where the Patrick Mahomes plays great and the defense does just enough to win for the Chiefs to be playing at home in the AFC Championship Game. That is a completely realistic scenario.
So while it may feel like its time to write this team off after two tough loses, I encourage all Chiefs fans to ride this roller coaster out to the finish. Could it end with us all in agony and sick to our stomachs? Yes, but there is just enough hope that it could end in the ultimate adrenaline rush that I’m simply unwilling to take the chicken exit and bail on the ride all together.
The Chiefs may have some very obvious flaws but they still control their own destiny in the AFC and that is more than any other team still in contention can say entering the final week of the season. Beat the Raiders. Get a few more guys back from injury or back to full health. Then sit back and wait and see what kind of magic Patrick Mahomes can pull off in the playoffs. If nothing else, we know it won’t be boring. So please make sure safety belts and shoulder harnesses are locked and secured because it’s going to be a wild ride.