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Monday, June 18, 2018

Kansas City Chiefs are 3-0 but not real contenders

Andy ReidThe Kansas City Chiefs are surprisingly 3-0 after beating the Philadelphia Eagles on the road 26-16 Thursday night. Kansas City’s defense has been particularly impressive, allowing just 34 points in three games. They have given fans a reason to be excited, but don’t get carried away thinking that they’re real contenders yet.

The Chiefs don’t look dynamic enough on offense to be a real threat as a playoff team. Their offensive limitations have been obvious the past two games.

While most top offenses are posting big numbers and points, the Chiefs chip away a little at a time. They had several opportunities to score early in the game against Philly and turn it into a blowout, but they were unable to take advantage. Quarterback Alex Smith hardly ever throws the ball downfield, and instead throws short passes and hopes for long runs after the catch. They don’t have an intermediate-deep passing game, which is pretty necessary. Dwayne Bowe only has nine catches for 90 yards and a touchdown through three games. He’s becoming as underutilized in the offense as Michael Crabtree was in San Francisco with Smith at quarterback.

Even though Kansas City didn’t throw the ball downfield on Thursday, they still totaled 395 yards against Philly, compared to 292 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and 313 yards against the Dallas Cowboys. The big difference was they rushed for 147 rushing yards, which was easily their highest mark of the season.

The real strength of this team is the defense.

The Chiefs have scored two defensive touchdowns this season — both on interceptions — and they have nine turnovers in three games. They also have 14 sacks, including six for 50 yards against the Jags, and five for 30 yards against the Eagles.

Though the Eagles hurt themselves with the pick-six on a tipped ball and by losing a fumble on a bad snap, the Chiefs were still the first team to stop the Chip Kelly offense.

In addition to the good defense, the Chiefs have a favorable schedule. Their next five games are winnable, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go 6-2 in the first half of the season. They have the Giants at home next week, then they’re at Tennessee for Week 5. After that it’s a three-game stretch at home against the Raiders, Texans, and Browns. The schedule gets tougher after their Week 10 bye when they have to go on the road to Denver. I think they’ll lose both games to the Broncos and probably split with San Diego, but this team should win nine games for a possible playoff spot. I just don’t see them doing any damage in the postseason if they make it.

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