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Kansas City Chiefs Look Like A Team Ready to Defy the Odds

17 October 2020

Kansas City Chiefs

Many like to say that offense wins games and defense wins championships. But then how do you explain last year’s Super Bowl run by the Kansas City Chiefs? Their defense finished the 2019 season ranked 17th in total yards allowed while their offense ranked sixth in total yards.

But when you look at how the Super Bowl played out, the old saying makes more sense. Kansas City won the game because of an offensive explosion in the fourth quarter that netted them 21 points.

Like most Super Bowl champions, if not all, they entered the 2020 season as the favorite to win the Super Bowl once again. Since the roster did not lose anyone of importance but got stronger, it is not hard to understand why.

However, as great as they look on paper, the odds are not on their side. Yes, they are favored to win the Super Bowl at just about every sportsbook in existence (if not all); DraftKings currently has them listed at +400. But that is the problem. History has not been kind to preseason favorites in years past.

Since 1995, there have only been three preseason favorites that went on to win the Super Bowl—the ’18 New England Patriots, the ’16 Patriots, and the ’06 Indianapolis Colts.

So, while they may have Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and the rest of the guys that won it all last year, history says they will not win it again. After watching them get beat by the Las Vegas Raiders last week, it is easier to see them falling short.

Do not bank on that just yet, though.

Why the Raiders Beat the Chiefs

The Las Vegas Raiders did not do anything special in their win over the Kansas City Chiefs. When you play a team with such offensive potential, the best thing you can do is (a) keep them off the field. Mahomes cannot score if he is on the sideline.

Thanks to a running game that churned out 144 yards, the Raiders held the ball for 35:18 while the Chiefs only had it for 24:42. The Chiefs usually like to neutralize their opponent’s running game by running up the score. If teams must pass to keep up, they cannot run as much as they want to.

But the run game is not the only reason why the Raiders won. They also made the most out of every opportunity they got. 

When Patrick Mahomes threw an interception late in the game, they scored the game-sealing touchdown. Then there were the big plays. Twice they scored on long touchdowns, a 59-yarder to Nelson Agholor and a 72-yard one to Henry Ruggs III.

It is next to impossible to beat the Chiefs by scoring field goals. When the opportunity presents itself to get in the endzone, you have to do so—and the Raiders did. This kept the pressure on Mahomes and the Chiefs and made it a little easier to predict what they were going to do.  

The less a team feels like it must defend, the easier it becomes to do the job right.

Why the Kansas City Chiefs are Still Going to Win the Super Bowl

While there may be a blueprint to stopping the Kansas City Chiefs, a vital caveat of that blueprint is having the personnel to pull it off. Few teams have the necessary talent, but it is not just about having the right talent. Defenses cannot make mistakes against the Chiefs.

Mahomes will exploit those mistakes every time.

But when it comes down to crunch time in the playoffs or the Super Bowl, there is an excellent chance any team they face will have the necessary talent. Houston looked like they had a shot last year until they imploded, and the Chiefs offense exploded. 

So, to protect themselves from getting in such a situation, the Chiefs must become even better than they already are at what they do best—generating offense. A recent acquisition, Le’ Veon Bell, should help them do just that.

The Chiefs run game works better when it has options. That way, if one guy struggles, they can turn to the other. It worked well enough last season with Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy, and the year before with Kareem Hunt, Damien Williams, and Spencer Ware.

This year, they have only had a rookie, Clyde Edwards-Helaire.  Adding Bell to the rotation will give the Chiefs a proven, dynamic rusher along with their talented rookie. Now that they have options, if Edwards-Helaire struggles as he did against the Raiders (ten carries for 40 yards), they have someone else to turn to.

This, of course, is assuming the version of Bell the Chiefs get will be the one the Steelers had and not the one the Jets had.

By making a great offense even better, the margin of error for everyone else gets even smaller and makes the Kansas City Chiefs a great bet to defend their Super Bowl title.   

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