The Kansas City Chiefs enter the bye week with a 6-3 record, a stranglehold on the AFC West and a resume of wins against some of the NFL’s best teams.
Kansas City also enters the bye week with one of the league’s worst run defenses and losers of three of their last four games.
Through nine games, who are the real Chiefs?
After making the playoffs in back to back years and starting the season 5-0, expectations from Chiefs fans rightfully high.
Even after a rough month, Kansas City is still one of the best teams in the NFL and in the driver’s seat for a home playoff game.
Hosting a playoff game at Arrowhead has only happened seven times in the last 45 years, it’s no small task and should be celebrated regardless of the circumstances.
But the debate many will have Monday morning is not whether the team is just good or bad. It’s whether or not this is the same old same old, good but not great Chiefs team.
Looking at the season as a whole, the Chiefs went 6-3 with one of the toughest schedules in the NFL, playing five teams with records at or above .500, and still have one of the best offenses in the league.
With road games at New England, Oakland and Dallas in the first half, and a playoff rematch against Pittsburgh, many preseason expectations for KC’s record at the bye were 6-3, at the very best.
Now, the Chiefs have a chance to catch fire in the final stretch run with four home games and three road games, with the road tests coming against teams with a combined 8-12 record.
The only teams Kansas City will play with records above .500 are the Bills and Dolphins, both of which come at home.
The only problem with having a weaker schedule down the stretch, is that Sunday may have been the last real test the team gets before the playoffs.
Kansas City could very well lose to non-playoff teams, like they did last year against the Titans and Bucs, but wins over mediocre teams will not do much for Chiefs fans’ confidence when the playoffs roll around.
Whether it’s fair or not, the feeling around the team and its fan base is different now than it was after wins over the Patriots and Eagles. The weaknesses on both sides of the ball have been exposed, adjustments have been made.
The Chiefs will get healthier over the bye week and perhaps change game plans, to a limited degree, and could ease into a second straight division title when all is said and done.
But Sunday’s trip to Dallas was the team’s last big chance at a statement win. Save a fluke touchdown at the end of the half, the team was dominated all across the board.
Now, the team’s biggest test may not arrive until mid-January. The Chiefs could finish 12-4, 13-3, but it won’t be until the playoffs for fans to learn whether the first half was prophecy, or just an aberration.
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