By: Jordan Kendall, Senior Staff Writer
Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
One of the most surprising teams after seven weeks has been the Kansas City Chiefs. They are 3-4 and are coming off of an embarrassing 27-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs were considered a Super Bowl favorite heading into the year, however their chances of even reaching the playoffs seem far from a guarantee. For this week’s column, I’m going to discuss what’s gone wrong in Kansas City and if they can bounce back.
One of the obvious problems is the recent performance of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Through seven games he isn’t looking like the superstar quarterback we’re used to seeing. In his last three games he has thrown five interceptions, and his completion percentage has been under 70% in each game.
Mahomes has always been a gunslinger, an aggressive quarterback who isn’t afraid to take big risks. He’s made countless plays that no one else can and seems to have a highlight throw several times a game. However, he’s also made several bad plays that make you wonder what he was thinking.
One example that stood out to me was against the Washington Football Team a few weeks ago. He fumbled the snap, felt pressure and floated a ball nowhere close to any of his receivers and it was intercepted. The Chiefs won that game 31-13, but those types of plays have been common in the first half of the season.
Mahomes needs to take care of the ball better. He makes a lot of throws across his body and into traffic that 99% of NFL quarterbacks wouldn’t dare to try. I don’t think he needs to do this nearly as often. He’s got the talent around him, I think he can afford to let them make the plays for him. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce are among the best at their position for a reason, let them do what they do best.
As not only the quarterback, but as one of the faces of the NFL, Mahomes gets most of the attention and blame when things go wrong. He deserves some of the blame for what’s happened, but it’s definitely not all on him. Kansas City’s defense has been horrible and cannot afford to continue to play as bad as they are.
As of week seven, the Chiefs defense has the fifth-worst total defense, allowing 404.6 yards per game. They also are bottom ten in pass and run defense, as well as points per game. Kansas City is giving up 29 points per game while their offense is only averaging about 27 a game. They also have the second-worst turnover differential at -10.
Other than defensive tackle Chris Jones and safety Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City doesn’t have a star on defense. While their offense has several top-5 caliber players at their position, the defense has maybe two. The rest of the defense is average or below average players at best.
Their performance is proving how big of a mistake the Chiefs have made in recent years. They assumed their offense was good enough to score enough to beat anyone, even if the defense was sub-par. Since that’s no longer the case, the team has been exposed.
The worst news for them is that their schedule is going to be as difficult as anyone’s in the next two months. They face the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, and Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals lead the AFC at 5-2 while the Packers and Cowboys only have one loss through seven weeks. They also play the Las Vegas Raiders twice and the Los Angeles Chargers who only have two losses each.
All of these teams have great offenses who are more than capable of taking advantage of a lackluster defense. I’m not as concerned with the offense, I think Mahomes will figure out ways to cut down on turnovers. I’m much more concerned with the defense holding this team back. If Kansas City wants to get back to the Super Bowl, their defense needs to turn it around and fast.
Before the season, I predicted the Chiefs would win the Super Bowl. After watching their recent performance, I no longer feel confident in them. I think they sneak into the playoffs as a wild card and have a high chance of being one and done this year. I would be shocked if they can turn this around and get to their third Super Bowl in a row.