The Chiefs will be coming off the bye week with an AFC West division lead and a record of 6-3. Overall, another season where the Chiefs have continued to rack up regular season wins. But, after such a strong start at 5-0, Kansas City has lost 3 of the last 4 games. The losses have come against good football teams, but that doesn’t mean a strong finish is imminent. Last year the Minnesota Vikings also started their season 5-0, only to finish with an 8-8 record and not in the playoffs.
Playoff Sight Ahead
The Chiefs don’t seem to be completely like the Vikings from last season though, as only one of the Chiefs final seven games is against a team with a current winning record. That is a matchup where the Chiefs host the Buffalo Bills. This really helps that it’s a home game, but Buffalo has done well this season, considering that they are in the first season under Sean McDermott’s regime. Also, the Chiefs have a three game stretch at home in December, the most important month of the NFL season. The Chiefs usually have played well after the bye under Andy Reid, so hopefully the Chiefs feel as invincible as they did in September.
Same Roster, Different Results
Through the midway point the offense has been pretty good, except for one game. But after years of this team being led by the defense, it has caused an uproar among Chiefs fans, as the defense has been beaten so often recently. The Chiefs currently rank 7th in total offense, but 29th in total defense. The defense is getting healthier though, as Steven Nelson has been back for the last two games and Tamba Hali returned in the Dallas game right before the bye. The good thing for the defense is the opposition they face in the second half of the season. Here are the current rankings for the Chiefs second half opponents in total offense. The New York Giants rank 28th, the Bills rank 26th, the Jets are 22nd, the Raiders are 19th, the Chargers come in at 17th, the Dolphins are 31st, and lastly the Broncos are 18th.
That can be deceiving, but in a quarterback driven league and based on performances on the season, the Chiefs can be able to stop these teams. But, many will say it is the run defense that needs tightening up. Yes, it does, but there are only about half of these seven teams that have a good slew of running backs. Plus, the way the Chiefs have been scoring for the better part of the season, some of these opposing offenses may not be built to come from behind, thus why many of them have losing records.
Bold Predictions for the Second Half
Instead of repeating some things that I may have mentioned over the last weeks about health or the defense, I will do some bold predictions here to give fans some things to anticipate the rest of the way. The first one involves Alex Smith. The most touchdowns thrown in a single season in Chiefs history is 30, when Len Dawson did it back in 1964. Smith already has 18 touchdown passes in the first nine games, I say he will just barely break Dawson’s record of 30. Also on the offensive side, despite having less than 100 scrimmage yards the last two games, Kareem Hunt will finish the year like he started with 7 straight games of at least 100 scrimmage yards.
Other predictions include the Chiefs defense getting at least two takeaways in all of the remaining regular season games. Lastly, Harrison Butker continues his dominance and makes all of his kick attempts for the remainder of the regular season. All in all, stats are stats, but these are things that certainly within reach for the rest of the season.
Braden Holecek is a writer for cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.