As what can now be considered a given basically, the Chiefs are AFC West Champs and playoff bound once again under the leadership of Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. At 14-3 they sit atop the AFC as the 1 seed and will have a bye week while Wild Card weekend plays out. You couldn't really ask for much more from Mahomes and company in regard to the regular season, you asked for the 1 seed in the AFC and they delivered. It was ugly at times, but now they're here, ready to take on the lowest remaining seed after Wild Card weekend 11 days from now. Now what are the keys for the Chiefs' playoff success, you may ask? Can this team reach another Super Bowl and go win it? Well of course, with what I've seen of the Chiefs thus far this year they have every tool and resource needed to win this year's Lombardi. The question is, can these tools be used correctly and efficiently? Let's have a look.
Offensively, the biggest struggle for the Chiefs this year can be attributed to three positions: The tackles, the running backs, and the receivers. Yes, that is a large chunk of the offense, but mostly it was just one or two at a time each game that suffered setbacks. Example: During the Titans game, Patrick Mahomes was getting pressure from the edge on almost every snap, but the run game won that football game, whether that was the legs of Mahomes, Pacheco, or McKinnon. During both Broncos games, receivers were dropping balls left and right to where the Chiefs passing game could not open the game up (That and the secondary made this year's Russell Wilson look good, more on them later) Finally, when it came to the running attack, nobody stood out until Isiah Pacheco started breaking off big games when he was given the chance to do so, and Jerrick McKinnon decided he wanted to become the best receiving running back of all time. Overall, when this offense is working on all cylinders, no one can beat this Chiefs team. They just have too many weapons, we saw that with last weekend's game against the Raiders. One of the league's top pass rushing defensive lines was rendered useless because of strong all-around offensive play. Mind you, this is a squad that the Chiefs barely beat only about a month or two ago (Yes, I know Carl Cheffers was the referee) I'll say it once and I'll say it again, when you have Patrick Mahomes on your team and you give him even serviceable weapons to work with, you will always have a chance to win that ball game, and the Chiefs offense will rack up 30+ on anyone so long as they fire on all cylinders and play to their best level, not to their opponent.
Defensively, the unit is better than you might think. A lot of people point to the defense when pointing out flaws in the Chiefs, and though some claims are justified, such as the secondary being very young and inexperienced or the fact that the team has had shaky tackling overall, the Chiefs had an above average defense this year. They finished 2nd in sacks, had 20 total takeaways, finished 8th in run defense, 18th in pass defense (their worst stat but still average) and overall 11th in total team defense (footballdb.com), and a lot of Chiefs act like they're the worst defense in the league. This defense is coming into their own, as I said before it is still very young, but it is brimming with talent. The Chiefs have one of the most underrated front sevens in the league, Chris Jones being arguably the best interior defensive lineman this year, George Karlaftis breaking out, Frank Clark playing like he wants another contract, and a duo at linebacker that are set to be the next names to appear on the long list of great Chiefs linebackers in Willie Gay and Nick Bolton. Bolton by the way broke Derrick Johnson's franchise record for solo tackles with 180. Spagnualo too, is constantly criticized for nothing, in my opinion. He cannot teach professional football players to tackle better, he cannot teach them to not commit penalties, he is only responsible for the playcalling on the defensive side of the ball, and while I have a couple gripes with certain calls, overall he is far from the worst we could have at that position. His job is safe, and if he can have this defense perform to the best of their ability these next three games, the Chiefs will have another Lombardi. Utilize the talent of the front seven, put defensive backs in the best position to make a matchup play (i.e. no Watson or Williams on a guy like Davante Adams) and make your FREAKING tackles, and this defense will help this team cruise to another Super Bowl.
The special teams as well is important so I will mention it briefly. Butker has to make his field goals, and I don't know what needs to happen in order to have that be the norm, but it needs to happen. If we have to call Dustin Colquitt and make him hold again so be it, but Butker's still got the leg to make those with ease. Punting I have no complaints about, but if I so much as see a doink off the upright (even if it still goes in) or a kick go sideways that first game I'm going to make sure Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't come to Sporting KC or that team in Saudi Arabia he signed a multi-hundred-million-dollar deal with, but rather to the Chiefs so that he can boost our kicking game. The Chiefs have all the tools to make and win this Super Bowl, and hopefully this has laid the groundwork to how exactly they can go about doing it. For now though, we sit and wait to see who the Chiefs' first victim will be. Gosh, remember when this team had practice squad guys starting at quarterback and a career assistant coach at head coach? Wild times.
Burn Notice: 10/10 IT'S PLAYOFF TIME BABY YEAHHHHHHH