The Armchair Quarterback's Guide To The NFL: Week 8

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Oct 6, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) makes adjustments at the line against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. The Chiefs beat the Titans 26-17. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Armchair Quarterback Take Of The Week

The Kansas City Chiefs Are For Real

The Kansas City Chiefs are 7-0 and the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL. Normally that distinction would be accompanied by Super Bowl expectations and widespread respect amongst NFL fans nation wide. However, that isn’t really the case with the Chiefs. The overwhelming consensus is that the Chiefs are “a really great story”, but not legitimate title contenders.

Granted, the Chiefs are, in fact, a great story. They were an absolute dumpster fire last season. The pitiful 2-14 record and first pick in the NFL draft don’t even do justice to the train wreck that was the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs. They tied a record held by the 1929 Buffalo Bison (I didn’t make that up) for longest streak without holding a lead in regulation (8 games). Stop and think about that, not even having a lead in 8 consecutive games. At least the Jaguars have had a couple of leads. The Chiefs had a fan revolt and flew banners over the stadium, they were so fed up with the poor play of Matt Cassel that some cheered when he got injured which caused Eric Winston to jump in front of a camera and call all Chiefs fans “sickening and disgusting”, and to top it all off there was the horrific murder/suicide by one of their players.

So of course it’s a “great story” when the very next season they start 7-0 and are the last unbeaten team in the league. However, NFL fans would be foolish to dismiss this team as a “fluke”. Yes, they have had a relatively easy schedule. Yes, their offense hasn’t been very exciting. Yes, they don’t have a future Hall of Fame QB that will carry the team on his back to Super Bowl glory.

That doesn’t mean that this team should be bypassed when discussing the best teams in the NFL this season.

The main reason that the rest of the NFL should be taking notice of the Chiefs is their defense. You can make a strong case for the KC defense being the most impressive unit in the NFL through seven weeks.

The Chiefs defense is holding opponents to a mere 11.6 PPG. They have yet to allow a single team to score more than 17 points. The point totals allowed in their seven games are 2, 16, 16, 7, 17, 7, and 16. The average points scored by those seven teams are 10.9, 24.1, 28.6, 17.2, 20.7, 17.5, and 17.4. That means that the Chiefs have held their combined opponents to over 55 less points than they are averaging, or almost 8 points less per game. In other words, those seven teams are averaging 19.5 PPG, but KC held them to 11.6.

Let’s compare that with the widely respected Seattle defense. Seattle has allowed 35 more points through seven games (5 points per game) than KC. The general opinion is that this is because Seattle has faced better teams. If you do the math, Seattle’s opponents average a combined 20.4 PPG, but Seattle held them to 16.6.

So KC has held their opponents to 7.9 PPG under their average and Seattle has held their opponents to 3.8 PPG under their average.

Kansas City and Seattle are tied for the most forced turnovers with 19.

Kansas City has 35 sacks through seven games. They are on pace for 80 on the season, which would shatter the long standing record of 72 held by the 1984 Bears. Seattle has 23 thus far.

Seven games is a big enough sample size that it is now impossible to not give the KC defense credit for being one of the elite units in the game.

In the past ten seasons there have been exactly ten teams that held their opponents to to an average PPG under 15. Six of those ten advanced to their conference title game. Two of them went on to win Super Bowls.

I can already hear what some of you are thinking.

“That’s great Lyle, their defense is really good. It’s their offense that isn’t good enough to make them a viable contender.”

That’s a fair argument, but let’s take a closer look just to see how valid of a case there might be.

Remember those 6 teams that held their opponents to an average PPG under 15 and went on to make it to their conference title game? The average offensive PPG of those six teams was 22.8.

The Kansas City Chiefs are averaging 24.1.

Besides the Broncos, what team is putting up SO many points that KC can’t compete with them? The number three scoring team in the NFL is the Cowboys and KC already held them to a season low of 16 points. What about the other teams that are viewed as Super Bowl contenders.

The Packers are averaging 28.0.

The Seahawks are averaging 27.3.

The Saints are averaging 26.8.

The Colts are averaging 26.7.

The 49ers are averaging 25.1.

The Chiefs are averaging 24.1.

The Patriots are averaging 21.7.

The Bengals are averaging 21.1.

Can you really make an argument that KC’s offense has no business in this group when they are basically a field goal away from everyone not named the Broncos?

One final point, people are using KC’s horrible season last year as a reason to NOT fear this team. I say, it makes them more dangerous. The Chiefs aren’t “cocky”. A lot of their best players have suffered through those horrible seasons and are now hungry to win and willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. They know they aren’t perfect yet and will continue to fight and work to improve. Andy Reid and Alex Smith weren’t here for those bad years, but they both have something to prove after how things ended with their previous teams. They’ve only been together for seven games. Isn’t it possible that they’ll continue to improve as they have more time together? Especially with a chip on their shoulder and a team around them that are hungry for success.

The Kansas City Chiefs are more than just a “great story”. They now have to be viewed as one of a handful of teams that have a legitimate chance to compete for a Super Bowl.

Then again, I am an admitted KC fan, so there’s a slight chance I could be biased.

Now on to the week 8 game predictions……

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