Between the countless Royals’ playoff comebacks, the Chiefs 11 straight wins last year and the 21-point second half comeback against San Diego, Kansas City fans have grown accustom to defying slim odds.
After a blowout loss to the Steelers and a bye week, the Chiefs head to Oakland this week in desperate need of a win to avoid another opportunity to defy slim odds.
The Chiefs are only four games into the season, but the outcome of this rivalry game will have a big impact on the fate of the Chiefs’ season.
Kansas City showed the ability to turn things around last year after a 1-5 start, but a tougher schedule and the strength of this year’s AFC West make another late season comeback less likely if the team can’t find a way to win in Oakland.
Since 1990, teams that start the season 3-2 make the playoffs 50 percent of the time.
Teams that start 2-3, only reach the playoffs 21 percent of the time.
A loss in Oakland could hurt the Chiefs’ playoff chances even more than just 29 percent since this is a key AFC West game.
Denver and Oakland are each 4-1, and a loss this week would put Kansas City in a two and a half game hole, just five games into the season.
This is the best start Oakland has had since they made the Super Bowl in the 2001 season, and the division is already crowded with the reigning champion Broncos.
It’s rare for three teams in the same division to all make the playoffs, so keeping up with Denver and Oakland is a must if the Chiefs hope to return to the postseason.
The Chiefs have won five of their last six games against Oakland since Andy Reid came to KC but their one loss did come on the road to a Raider team that started the year 0-10.
Kansas City’s first seven games last year were all played against eventual playoff teams, but after that, the schedule loosened up. This year, the Chiefs might not have that luxury.
Four of the last six Chiefs games are against current 4-1 teams, along with road trips to San Diego, Carolina and Indianapolis. Compared to last year when the Chiefs did not play a team with a winning record in their last seven games.
While the deck is stacked against KC if cannot leave Oakland victorious, they do have history on their side going into the matchup.
In his career, Andy Reid is 15-2 following a bye week and 2-1 as the Chiefs head coach.
Reid has had the extra week to prepare for this matchup, so it wouldn’t be shocking if a few wrinkles are employed into the offensive game plan.
Reid has also started the season with a 2-2 record seven times in the last 17 years and has made the playoffs in six of those seven years. That’s a good sign for Chiefs’ fans.
The Chiefs proved last year that the one game won’t decide the outcome of a season but a divisional game’s impact shouldn’t be taken lightly. If the Chiefs hadn’t blown a fourth quarter lead against Denver in week two last year, Kansas City wins the AFC West and takes a top seed in the playoffs.
This game against Oakland could have a very similar impact.
This could be the moment the season shifts into high gear or it could be the moment that really sets the team back.
Kickoff is set for Sunday at 3:25 p.m. on KCTV5.
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