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Have the Chiefs Become the New Patriots?

In the aftermath of the Kansas City Chiefs 21-14 win over the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt, Germany, it’s clear Andy Reid’s offense isn’t going to be one that lights up the scoreboard this season. Instead, Reid has a defense that is poised to carry the weight this season in achieving another AFC West Title, AFC Championship Crown, and his third Super Bowl victory.  

It’s official the Kansas City Chiefs defense is one of the best in the NFL. They pitched a shutout against the Miami Dolphins in the first half. They made Tyreek Hill look ordinary and proved what we already knew about Tua Tagovailoa, he can’t make plays in the clutch nor defeat teams with a winning record.

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Now that might be a harsh reality for Dolphins fans, but Tua is an average quarterback with elite options at his disposal. He left points on the board, and he had no answers for a Chiefs defense that ultimately put the hammer down on the final Miami offensive possession.

After the game, Quarterback Patrick Mahomes told Peter King, the Chiefs have the top defense in the NFL. That might not be the case, but when the game is on the line, they make plays.

It’s reminiscent of the New England Patriots 2001, 2003, and 2004 teams that won a trio of Super Bowls. They were led by their dominating and suffocating defense, which had a very young quarterback, Tom Brady, who made enough plays to win each of those Super Bowls by a three-point differential.

Outside of the opening drive and the brilliant 95-yard drive that extended the Chiefs lead 14-0 in the second quarter, once again the offense struggled to find any rhythm in the second half. That’s because Reid didn’t design enough opportunities for Travis Kelce, Rahsee Rice, or Jerrick McKinnon. This season they appear to be good enough offensively to win games with a low point differential and that might not change anytime this season.

With the bye week ahead, Reid and offensive coordinator, Matt Nagy, need to have the same conviction as their quarterback, that they’re going to fix the offense, and they are indeed going to be a tough team to beat down the stretch.

Thankfully, Reid has a defense he can rely upon that enters the bye week with a 7-2 record and sits atop the AFC so he has room to tinker with the offense.  To ease the burden on the defense, tweaking the offense just enough to create a larger point total, can be achieved by using the talent he has on offense.

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The credit for the defensive success this season belongs solely to Steve Spagnuolo. A year ago, he and Andy Reid decided to overhaul the defense. The change in philosophy centered on the fact Reid told Spags to forget the depth chart and play the best eleven guys at each position. So, he did, and he was patient with them in not excelling as their coach, but as their teacher prepping them for what they would face against opposing offenses.

As we saw in the postseason a year ago, the Chiefs young secondary grew up with wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals. Fast forward to 2023 and they’re the strongest unit in the NFL.

I know fans continue to be upset with the offense, but I can’t find a single reason to doubt Mahomes conviction about the lackluster offense. He is at the epicenter to solve this Rubik’s Cube and he has two weeks to get ready to face the Philadelphia Eagles defense in two weeks.  Based on the talent level of both teams, they are almost identical offensively. That means it’s going to be a defensive battle of playmakers that decide the winner.

The Chiefs are amid a dynasty run like the Patriots. They’ve won two of the last four Super Bowls, they might win another this year, they’ve owned the AFC West for eight straight seasons, and could host their sixth consecutive AFC title game in January.

In the end, how they win games during the regular season or by how many points is irrelevant. What is fact and must be accepted within the Chiefs Kingdom, NFL defenses are better equipped to shut down high-scoring offenses in 2023 than ever before. That means teams must find the proper balance between offense and defense to rise to the top.

The Chiefs have a balanced team, despite the fact the offense isn’t as flashy as fans are accustomed to seeing, in the end, does it really matter as long as they keep winning?

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