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