We’ve already had one improbable sports story in Kansas City this fall.
Are we witnessing another?
If anybody was questioning the validity of the Kansas City Chiefs being a playoff team, I give you Sunday as Exhibit A.
The Chiefs out-toughed the alleged toughest team in the NFL at Arrowhead Stadium with a 24-20 hammer-and-tong victory over defending Super Bowl champion Seattle, their seventh in the last eight games.
KC is now tied for the AFC West lead with Denver, though the Broncos hold the tie-breaker.
If the Chiefs can overcome winless Oakland on Thursday in the Black Hole — trust me, this is a monumental task as the Raiders HAVE to win at some point — the showdown in two weeks with the Broncos could break all the decibel records.
Sure, Kansas City was 11-5 last season and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Indianapolis Colts. But most dismissed that as a product of a super-soft schedule.
With games against the powerhouse NFC West toughening up the schedule, the Chiefs’ 7-3 start to me is far more impressive than their 9-0 beginning of last year. This Chiefs team, I believe, has far more staying power than last year’s team.
Andy Reid has to rank second at this point in the Coach of the Year voting as Arizona’s Bruce Arians is the hands-down winner. Reid has taken a team with a rebuilt and highly suspect offensive line, one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL and a decimated defense (no Derrick Johnson, no Mike DeVito and until last week no Eric Berry) to unexpected heights.
No receiver has caught a touchdown pass, a mind-boggling stat. Alex Smith seldom throws the ball down field more than 15 yards. The Chiefs seemingly bend on defense, but seldom break. No team has rushed for a touchdown against them, a stat that ranks among the best all-time in NFL history.
I really don’t know how they’re doing it. Jamaal Charles is a wonder at running back. Smith doesn’t make many mistakes. The secondary gets toasted at times, but finds ways to recover.
Kansas City has six games left, two of them with Oakland. You’d like to think they can win both of those games. There’s still divisional games left with Denver and San Diego, but both are at home. They still have to play at Arizona (the team with the best record in football) and at Pittsburgh (which always has the Chiefs number).
A 4-2 finish would give Kansas City an 11-5 record, which I think will be good enough to get in. Amazingly, 12 of the 16 AFC teams are at .500 or better as there’s little question where the power in the NFL is.
New England should win the AFC East and Indianapolis the AFC South. The NFC North is amazing with Cincinnati at 6-3-1 and the other three teams are at 6-4. That should start to break up with upcoming head-to-head games. Then you have KC and Denver at 7-3 in the AFC West, with San Diego at 6-4.
The divisional games will decide it. And with the Chiefs home for three of their four, you have to like their chances.
A World Series in October. A Super Bowl in February?