Oct 27, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs mascot WarPaint is ridden on the field after a score during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Two key indicators suggest Chiefs are legitimate

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The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated, but have received a significant amount of criticism due to their schedule.  Even The Onion got in on the action to make fun of their schedule.  As head coach Andy Reid put it, they are not competing for Miss America.  It does not need to be pretty, but they just need to keep winning.  There are two things that make the Chiefs look significantly less fluky with just how well they have played; their defense and their point differential.

The Chiefs have the best defense in the NFL, bar none.  They might give up some points in some games including two games against the Denver Broncos, but their ability to pressure the quarterback and cause turnovers is not going away.  The Chiefs have 36 sacks as a team and have caused 20 turnovers (10 fumble recoveries and 10 interceptions).  They have stars at every level of the defense with Dontari Poe, Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers, and Eric Berry and finding a weakness is not easy.  The Chiefs rank 4th in passing defense, 11th in run defense and are 1st in points given up per game.  The most points they have given up in one game is 17; that happened twice.

Their offense is not great but it does not have to be as long as that defense keeps working.  They can run the ball and make enough plays to win and usually win comfortably.  Eight games into the season, the Chiefs have the second highest point differential in the NFL at +94.  The only team that has a larger one is their division rival, the Broncos at +125.  No one is questioning how dominant the Broncos are because of the amount of points they can score but their defense is not all that great.  The Chiefs are just going the opposite way.

People can criticize the Chiefs all they want, but they currently possess a one game lead over the Broncos and if they can win that division, they could have home field throughout the playoffs and Arrowhead Stadium is as potent a home field advantage as there is in the NFL.  Going into the second half of the year with an 8-0 record makes it hard to imagine they will not make the playoffs, but the difference between winning the AFC West and getting the wildcard could mean the difference between the first seed and the fifth seed.  The criticism of the Chiefs are not going away, but neither is that defense and that point differential is outstanding.

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Tags: AFC West Kansas City Chiefs

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