#5 Seed- Kansas City Chiefs
The Story- In what looked to be a lost season after a dismal 1-5 start, the Chiefs rallied to 10 wins to close out the
season with a very good 11-5 record and the #5 seed in the AFC playoffs. Like I mentioned in the Houston slide, KC and Houston have a lot of similarities, with KC maybe being slightly better in most of those categories. Let’s take a look at their strengths and weaknesses.
One of the best coaching staffs in the NFL
Efficient, effective QB play from Alex Smith
They have a great turnover/takeaway ratio
Underrated defense that has great talent at every level
Two big time playmakers in Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin
Momentum from winning 10 straight games
Lack of talent outside of Maclin and Kelce
Only three of their 11 wins came against Playoff teams
They have a reputation to “dink and dunk”. They don’t force the ball downfield very often
KC hasn’t won a playoff game in over 20 years. That may not play a huge factor, but it is something to consider knowing that this team has a history of not finishing well in the playoffs.
Conclusion- Kudos to Andy Reid and co. for not giving up on the season and rallying to a postseason appearance. They have great talent on defense and enough weapons on offense to threaten anybody in the AFC, but at the end of the day, their recipe for success has been simple. Force turnovers and don’t turn the ball over. While it’s been largely effective in the regular season against lesser teams, they can’t expect that formula to work in the playoffs.
Although they did beat the Broncos in Denver this season, that game serves as a classic example of how the Chiefs have rallied this season. When you turn the ball over five times (four of which were in field goal or red zone range), you’re likely to lose the game. In a scenario like that, you gift wrap the game to the opponent, regardless of how good or bad they are.
With all due respect to the Chiefs, most of their games this season have been about the opponent losing rather than the Chiefs winning. Very rarely did we see KC go out and “knock a team out”, so to speak. Watching their games throughout the year, it was very noticeable that many of their victories came at the opponents expense rather than KC outright beating the opponent. Take a closer look at those three wins against playoff teams.
Denver, I already talked about that. Pittsburgh? They played them when Big Ben was out and faced off against Landry Jones. The only playoff opponent I can really give them big props for beating was ironically against their opponent this weekend in Houston. A win is a win in the NFL. At some point though, quality of wins do matter. Barely beating teams like Cleveland and San Diego doesn’t translate to similar success in the postseason.
Would I welcome a rematch with KC? Certainly. Do I think it could be a tough matchup? Possibly. At the end of the day, they don’t scare me as much as other match ups in the AFC. They used this same formula in the 2013 season and what happened when they got to the playoffs? They surrendered a 28 point lead to the Colts and lost. It’s a simple solution. We beat them at their own game and we walk away victorious. If we can get out to an early lead and limit our mistakes, KC can’t beat us or anybody else in the AFC.