Kansas City Chiefs Deserve to be Called Super Bowl Contenders

Jamaal Charles

The Kansas City Chiefs are the last undefeated team in the NFL. Yes, the team with the league’s worst record a season ago remains the only group yet to taste defeat in 2013. Let that meat marinade for a moment.

Maybe Adidas is really onto something with that “Impossible is Nothing” slogan.

Yet, this historic turnaround does not come without its criticisms. “The #Chiefs are the worst 7-0 team in NFL history,” ESPN writer Don Van Natta, Jr. complained via Twitter. “The teams they have beaten are a combined 14-33.”

“It’s like a great dream that nobody wants to wake up from,” ESPN’s Chris Berman mused.

Kansas City is a statistical lock to make the playoffs, but talk about bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Arrowhead hasn’t become household speak yet: the Chiefs still have only the fifth-best Vegas odds at 10-1.

Chiefs

The Chiefs’ airtight defense has been able to hide their average offense. But, the guys over at Freakonomics dived deep into football statistics and proved that the phrase “defense wins championships” doesn’t necessarily hold up any more than “the best defense is a good offense.” Their conclusion does gives hope to the Chiefs: “In the NFL it seems, you need either exceptional defense or exceptional offense to win a championship. But neither one is more important than the other.”

And Kansas City certainly does not have an exceptional offense. Their 24.1 points per game (13th), 210.7 passing yards per game (26th) and 4.9 yards per play (24th) won’t cause many defensive coordinators to lose sleep. But the Chiefs are 7-0. They’ve faced the sixth-most third downs (104) and convert them at a dismal 34.6 percent, which translates into more punts than every other team except for Buffalo. The Chiefs are 7-0? Just 23 plays (2 rushing and 21 passing) have gone for 20+ yards. The Jaguars have 24. THE CHIEFS ARE 7-0!!!

Cheifs receiving

Luckily, they have an exceptional defense to carry the team. Not a 2000 Baltimore Ravens historic defense, but definitely a 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers nasty one. Tampa Bay held teams to an average 12.6 points per game over the 16-game season. Through seven games the Chiefs are allowing 11.6. If you can consistently hold a team to a touchdown and a field goal every week, you have a definite chance to get a win.

2013 Chiefs Through Week 7

TAKEAWAYS

GIVEAWAYS

 

INT

FUM

TOTAL

INT

FUM

TOTAL

DIFF

10

9

19

4

4

8

11

2002 Buccaneers

TAKEAWAYS

GIVEAWAYS

INT

FUM

TOTAL

INT

FUM

TOTAL

DIFF

31

7

38

10

11

21

17

Adam Teicher of coldhardfootballfacts.com noted that after Week 3 the Chiefs were “one of two NFL teams yet to commit a turnover. That’s a statistic capable of making a good team look great as long as it lasts. The trouble is, it never does last, at least not at this rate.”

That number has since swelled to +11. When Alex Smith finally threw two picks and the offense lost its first fumble against the Giants later that week, they did more than survive. They sent the Giants crashing to 0-4, letting New York into the end zone just once.

2013 Chiefs

TACKLES

SACKS

INTERCEPTIONS

FUMBLES

SOLO

AST

TOTAL

SACK

YDSL

PD

INT

YDS

LONG

TD

FF

REC

TD

339

40

379

35.0

244

54

10

193

44

3

7

9

1

2002 Buccaneers

TACKLES

SACKS

INTERCEPTIONS

FUMBLES

SOLO

AST

TOTAL

SACK

YDSL

PD

INT

YDS

LONG

TD

FF

REC

TD

778

223

1011

43.0

295

251

31

494

97

4

18

7

1

Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, and company are on pace to shatter the NFL record of 72 sacks in a season by eight. They are already one defensive touchdown shy of the ’02 Bucs and are flirting with the record of 10. The Bucs held opposing quarterbacks to 10 touchdowns and an outrageously low 48.4 rating; the Chiefs have held their opponents to six touchdowns and a 64.9 QBR.

If you still can’t get past Alex Smith’s “game manager” label, take a look at the five lowest scoring offenses to win the Super Bowl:

• 2008 Steelers 21.69 ppg
• 2002 Buccaneers 21.63 ppg
• 1982 Redskins 21.11 ppg
• 1990 Giants 20.94 ppg
• 2000 Ravens 20.81 ppg

Pay particular attention to who enters as the fourth-lowest scoring offense on the list—the 2002 Brad Johnson-led Buccaneers! And they did it by beating Oakland’s top-ranked offense. In fact, only three of the last 10 Super Bowl winners averaged more than 25 points per game.

Brad Johnson

With a soft schedule, the picture won’t become clearer until they face other potential playoff-bound teams in Denver (Weeks 11 and 13), San Diego (Weeks 12 and 17), and Indianapolis (Week 16). In the meantime, Kansas City is already a lock for the playoffs; so don’t be surprised if Alex Smith shows up in McDonald’s Mighty Wings commercials next fall.

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