Another week in the books, another win in the ledger and another remarkable outing by the Kansas City defense. While the entire world is leaning to see when the Chiefs’ offense is going to break out of its funk, it has been the defense that has stolen the show in recent weeks, which they did once again in Sunday night’s 22-9 win over the Denver Broncos.
The Chiefs have now reeled off 5-straight wins, and now sit atop the AFC West and tied for the lead in the AFC. Unfortunately for Kansas City, all other division leaders hold tie-breakers over the Chiefs. However, the Chiefs seem to be hottest team at the top, and may very well be able to pull off the comeback and earn the AFC’s top seed heading into the playoffs.
The defensive turnaround may be the most shocking thing I have ever seen as a Chiefs fan, and it has come from a multitude of places. The Melvin Ingram trade has invigorated the defensive line, allowing Chris Jones to move inside and giving Frank Clark some relief on the other side, as he continues his career resurgence. The emergence of Nick Bolton, the return of Anthony Hitchens and the star-turn of Willie Gay, Jr. has breathed new life into the linebacking corps. On the back end, the added pressure on the quarterback has turned the Chiefs secondary around, moving a group that looked like one of the worst in the league to a confident, play-making unit that has led the way for what has been the hottest defense in the league the last few weeks.
As the Chiefs capitalized on the first of three straight division games, the same old questions still surround the offense. Patrick Mahomes and company have continued to struggle, and have become the “other” side of the ball for the first times since the quarterback took over. In Sunday’s game, it was not any of the team’s big-three offensive stars who led the way, but instead the team’s running backs, as Clyde Edwards Helaire and Darrell Williams combined for a solid performance, contributing most of Kansas City’s big plays on the night, while Travis Kelce looked beaten up and lost, and Tyreek Hill could not solve the Denver defense, and both struggled to catch he ball when opportunities presented themselves.
At some point, the Chiefs will likely figure things out on the offensive side of the ball, and hopefully that will come at the right time, because they will likely need to score quite a few more points per game in the playoffs. No matter how you cut it, the Kansas City offense needs to get better, but it’s also hard to argue with five straight wins and an 8-4 record. This week should be an interesting test, as the Chiefs take on the Las Vegas Raiders, just a few weeks after destroying them on their home field. The Raiders will almost certainly have taken some lessons from their previous outing, while the Chiefs will be looking to duplicate their most successful game in recent memory.
When the Chiefs lock up with the Raiders on Sunday afternoon, it will be a mystery to see what group will step forward to lead the way, but one thing we have learned so far this season, no matter what happens with this team, it will be an adventure.