Kansas City Takes the NFL by Storm

David Josselsohn

The Kansas City Chiefs have been the NFL’s biggest surprise this year, turning around their disastrous 2-14 season in 2012-2013 to start 8-0 this year. While they haven’t been as flashy as their division mates, the Denver Broncos, they are the only

undefeated team in the NFL.

New coach Andy Reid has changed the psyche of Kansas City and has made them into a defensive powerhouse. Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry and Quinton Demps lead the Chiefs defense, who top the NFL with 36 sacks this season – nine more than any other team in the league. That defensive squad has all of a sudden become the type that strikes fear into the heart of opposing offenses and has coaches scratching their head when trying to figure out how to devise a plan of attack. Kansas City’s defense clearly has to be considered one of the best in the league, along with those of Seattle and San Francisco.

The offensive side has improved as well. The Chiefs brought in veteran quarterback Alex Smith from San Francisco to play for them, and he has done just what they have asked of him. Smith has always been considered a “game manager” in that he only throws very conservative passes and doesn’t turn the ball over. While Smith isn’t going to match the likes of Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, he has done his job and let running back

Jamaal Charles carry the burden on offense.

Charles has to be considered one of the best running backs in football. Possessing devastating agility, Charles always has the ability to break off a run for a touchdown. This methodical ground and pound game coupled with Smith’s game management has proved lethal for the Chiefs, and has given opponents trouble throughout the season.

While the Chiefs have been incredibly impressive, there are those who don’t believe. Most people are convinced that Denver is the better team and will prove it when they meet Kansas City on November 17. I tend to agree with these people. Kansas City has, quite frankly, played some horrid offenses this season. They’ve seen Blaine Gabbert, Terrell Pryor, Case Keenum, Jason Campbell and a completely lost Eli Manning so far. I will give the Chiefs credit for taking care of business, but they have yet to face a significant test. They play the Broncos twice in the span of three weeks and I honestly feel like Kansas City will be exposed during that stretch.

My main issue with the Chiefs is that I don’t think that they can play from behind. If a team like the Broncos puts 14 points on the board in the first quarter against Kansas City, I don’t think they can win. Kansas City has an offense made for front-running. They control the clock, they run the ball and they don’t let you back in the game with turnovers. While that is great, it’s not a recipe to put up numbers and come back in a game in which you are trailing. I can’t see Alex Smith moving the Chiefs down the field and keeping up with Peyton Manning.

Do the Chiefs have what it takes to make it to the playoffs? Of course they do. They’re 8-0 and it would take an epic collapse for them not to make the playoffs. Once they are there, though, I’m not sure they can compete. Teams like New England and Denver will be able to jump out to leads on Kansas City, and Cincinnati has been impressive as well.

However, don’t ignore the importance of home field advantage when the playoffs arrive. Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Chiefs, has been classified as one of the best stadiums in the country. It gets incredibly loud and the fans have an enormous impact on the game. If the Chiefs do stumble against the Broncos and don’t win the division, they will be playing on the road for most of the playoffs, and I’m not confident that the Chiefs will win a game like that. 2013 has been an incredible turnaround for the Chiefs, but I’m unfortunately very pessimistic about the prospect of them

building on this impressive start.

Contact David Josselsohn at [email protected]