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Tony Dungy is Right, the Chiefs Should be Worried

A 16-game regular season record doesn’t win championships. Super Bowls are won with momentum, play, rhythm, and by limiting deficiencies.

Among most experts and bettors, the Chiefs remain Super Bowl favorites. I’ve argued for months they aren’t, citing their inability to play well for four quarters and the holes on their roster.

After a month and half of sluggish, up-and-down play — Tony Dungy finally agrees. Tuesday, Dungy told Dan Patrick that he’s worried about the Chiefs who are “playing with fire.”

Dungy did go on to say that if the Chiefs put it together, they should win the AFC. That’s true, but at this point, unlikely.

I’m not trying to take anything away from Kansas City’s season, they are winning games. But come playoff time, all records are 0-0, which favors the teams playing the best football. That’s not the Chiefs. Not even close.

For six straight weeks, Kansas City has failed to put opponents away, allowing them to hang around. In the final minutes of each game, Patrick Mahomes has had to win the game or hold a single possession lead. Kansas City has won its last six games by two, four, three, six, six, and three. The week before that, they played the Jets and won by 26. There won’t be any Jets in the playoffs.

The thinking that they are “bored,” driving in cruise control is wrong. It has been wrong. One doesn’t drive in cruise control for a month and a half. A team does not take the Bucs, Saints, and Dolphins lightly. This is who the Chiefs are: a good team with too many flaws to be a great team.

Kansas City has a great QB, WR, and TE. It also has a below-average offensive line, a very average defense, and a poor run game that may now be without its top running back.

So far this year, the Chiefs have been able to overcome these flaws, but their margin of error is razor thin. If this same version of the Chiefs enters the playoff — and there’s no reason to think it won’t — just one play, one drop, one sack, one turnover, one catch, or one bad flag could swing the outcome the other way. Kansas City’s style of football leaves no room for such random plays that occur frequently.

While they had to overcome three straight double-digit deficits on their way to last season’s Super Bowl victory, the Chiefs ultimately won all three games by 10+. They put teams away and didn’t rely on 50-50 plays with two minutes to go. This year’s path will probably be far more challenging. The Chiefs won’t have the luxury of facing Bill O’Brien’s coaching, Ryan Tannehill’s passing struggles, or Jimmy Garoppolo’s limitations. Instead, the Chiefs will face offsetting obstacles.

For this playoff run, the Titans will couple their league-best running attack with a significantly-improved passing game. 

Patrick Mahomes is special, but so is Josh Allen, who is playing even better and blowing teams out early.

As for the NFC, Aaron Rodgers ranks above Mahomes’ in touchdowns, completion percentage, passer rating, and touchdown-interception ratio.

There’s also Drew Brees, who nearly beat the Chiefs in his worst game as a pro. Russell Wilson, at his best, is one of the best players in the league. 

This year, a special QB is not enough to lift the Super Bowl trophy.

Do not ignore what teams tell you on the field. For over a month, the Chiefs have whispered how vulnerable they are.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers any news story that deserves attention but focuses on media. His interests include reading Stephen King novels, avoiding traffic on the road, and pretending to solve true-crime mysteries. He still believes Cersei should've won and encourages everyone to always question the news.

7 Comments

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  1. I realize I am helping you out with clicks as I doubt you make very much money posting this garbage, but it is painfully obvious you don’t watch Chiefs games.

    If Outkick wants actual Chiefs coverage from someone that watches the games, let me know, and I will post a weekly Chiefs preview with someone that hasn’t missed a Chiefs game in 31 years and actually knows who L’Jarius Sneed is …

    Last year, at this same time, it was Ravens vs ? in Super Bowl LIV. How’d that work out? And you’re questioning the Chiefs running game?! LoL. The Chiefs stopped trying to run about 10 weeks ago. They don’t want to run. They don’t need to run. Oh? You’re worried about cold weather? I guess you forgot the snow game last year against Denver where Mahomes had about the best game I’ve ever seen, and he dubbed himself a “snow game QB.” Or how about that playoff game two years ago against Indy where Mahomes retired Andy Luck in a blistering cold snow game where 1 big name QB was all grit, and the other *literally* took his ball and went home. Or the following week when Mahomes played in -15 degree weather and took the lead 2 different times in the 4th quarter after trailing the entire game against New England and then getting them a FG with 30 seconds left in the game after Brady took the lead once again in that ridiculous 4th quarter?

    Oh … and 0-24, 7-17 and 10-20 last year in the playoffs.

    But your great advice is to bet against that guy, who is 13-1 this year, is a 99+% chance to get the #1 seed and a Bye, and is 4-1 in the playoffs with his 1 loss being the OT AFCCG where Dee Ford lined up offsides (a call that is rarely ever called) and where he didn’t get a chance to possess the ball in overtime against the eventual champion Patriots and Tom Brady.

    That’s your advice for Outkick.com. Bet against that guy because in the last 6 weeks he has lost 3 backdoor covers and has only really had 1 competitive game (the 2nd Oakland game) where he played perfectly and won, again, of course.

    Your advice is to look at a box score at the end of each game and conclude, “hey, they only won by 3!” and ignore the entire game context and how the NFL works when any team (other than the Patriots of the last 20 years) get a huge lead.

    Bucs fell down 17-0 against Atlanta and I immediately bet the house on the Bucs +4.5 because that’s how the NFL works, dildo.

    I have said it once and I will say it again, if I had to choose between Andy Reid being up by 17 going in to the 2nd half against a good team or Mahomes having the ball down 3 with 1 drive to go to advance, I am probably going to take Mahomes, 1 drive, down 3 … the magic of Mahomes is to create by buying time in (and out) of the pocket and making it impossible for defense to cover his guys. When the Chiefs get a lead (2+ scores), the playcalling reverts back to the days of Alex Smith and Mahomes is coached to dink and dunk and work the clock and that ends up leading to punts and backdoor covers. That is it. That is what you are seeing.

    These are the games the Chiefs have had a chance to lose this year :

    Game 2 (LAC)
    Game 5 (Loss to Raiders)
    Game 10 (Beat Raiders on final drive)

    All of these other games you are talking about as being close were never close, you are ignoring context. As a Chiefs fan that has lived a life of “Because, Chiefs”, I will tell you when I think the Chiefs have a chance to lose. That did not occur against the Saints, the Bucs, the Dolphins, the Panthers, etc …

    You are looking at backdoor covers and last second meaningless scores and ignoring the fact these games were never in play. At no point did the Chiefs defense make a big stop to win the game in any of these games. They never even took the field. Mahomes ended all of these close games with ball in hand.

    You’re a clown, bro. I would LOVE to take your action for winning AFC. I will bet you 5K right now. You get field. I get Chiefs. PM me, let’s do it.

    • I’ll be fair. Teddy B and the Panthers, after converting about 12 4th and impossibles, did have the ball at the end of the game down 31-33 and Joey Slye missed a 67 yard field goal, at Arrowhead, by about 47 yards right. So the Chiefs defense did end a game, once, on the field with a chance to lose this year. One time. They are 13-1. You predicted the Dolphins to beat Mahomes by 13, and he is now 50+ games in and has never lost by more than 8. He has an 83% winning percentage (not even a close 2nd to this stat to start a career).

      You are a moron, and your Chiefs tripe is a bad look for Outkick.com (who promotes gambling on Fanduel every waking moment), regardless if it gets you clicks.

  2. Last year the Chiefs fell behind big in games early and has to climb out of the hole. This year they are getting up big and putting it on cruise control. Same outcome, different flavor. The only thing that can stop Mahomes is Mahomes. Right now I can only see the Bills or the Titans beating them, and that’s if Mahomes is off. Could happen, but I like KCs chances

  3. I wouldn’t disagree they aren’t putting games away. However, they were down double digits in all three playoff games last year….and they won them all. It is the will to win that separates them from many teams, including the Steelers and the Seahawks.

  4. THANK YOU RICK!!! Finally someone has called it. When Reid is up, his play calling is horrible. Remember 21-3 against the Titans in 2017? Let Mahomes run the show. Did you see last week when Reid called a time out, and Mahomes mouths, ‘I got this’.

    Reid is an amazing developer of talent. He’s one of the best at play design. He’s atrocious at play calling and game management. If he stays a head coach and leaves the game to the assistants and the players (especially the ones he has thanks to Veach) he’ll walk away from the game with several championships.

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