Here’s the deal: the Kansas City Chiefs are not a good team. They have a talented offense, decent special teams, and one of NFL history’s most established head coaches. But they also have a 6-6 record after starting the season 5-0. Of their last seven games, they have lost six. Kansas City is taking a punishment–mainly on defense–and simply put there is no good excuse. With a game against the Oakland Raiders looming, the Chiefs might soon lose their spot atop the AFC West.
In the last few weeks, the Chiefs have not only looked outmatched–they have looked adrift. Bad plays abound, while good plays don’t inspire renewed effort from the team. Play calls are imbecilic more often than not. Let’s dig into this dumpster fire and see if maybe the Raiders also have weaknesses to exploit.
This may sound cheesy, but the Chiefs aren’t playing like a team. Unit cohesion is mainly a problem for the defensive secondary, which has been tested and failed in more ways than one. Last week against the Jets, cornerback Marcus Peters stormed off the field into the locker room after drawing a penalty when he threw an official’s penalty flag (which had been thrown to mark a penalty by fellow Chiefs defensive back Steven Nelson) into the stands. Long story short, the Chiefs look to be coming apart at the seams.
The Chiefs’ defense has not stopped the run or the pass at acceptable rates this year. There is not a single facet of defensive football that Kansas City has effectively performed throughout the season. At this point, it’s time to stop talking about weaknesses on the defense and time to admit that the defense itself is a weakness.
The Chiefs’ offensive line is back to health yet still performing at mediocre rates. Alex Smith may connect with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce for some big plays, but the consistent ability to sustain drives and control the clock is not there. The run game and drop-back passing especially are terrifyingly weak for Kansas City.
There’s actually not many weaknesses in the lineup of the Raiders, but their run game may be one of them. Oakland is currently sitting at 25th in the NFL in rushing. If the Chiefs turn improve their level of play, they might be able to limit this facet of the Raiders’ offense.
The Raiders haven’t actually turned the ball over that many times this season (17), but they’ve also only notched nine takeaways of their own so far. If Kansas City takes care of the ball, the Raiders probably won’t be able to force a turnover.