The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t play a game on Sunday, but they were the biggest winners of the weekend. With the Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Cincinnati Bengals all losing home games, the Arrowhead Invitational in January remains firmly set on your post-season calendar.
Over the last two weeks, virtually every NFL pundit said the demise of the Kansas City Chiefs was inevitable. First, it was the Jacksonville Jaguars winners of five straight games, then it was the Cincinnati Bengals the winner of four straight games, then the Baltimore Ravens were unbeatable after back-to-back blowout wins.
So, what happened on Sunday? They all lost at HOME to teams they were favored to defeat.
The Bengals lost to the upstart Houston Texans, thanks in large part to two key interceptions by Joe Burrow. With Tee Higgins out of the lineup, Burrows was off and during one stretch in the game, the offense punted five straight times. The Bengals defense wasn’t much better. I didn’t realize until Sunday how woeful their secondary was after C.J. Stroud lit them up.
The Ravens fell to the Cleveland Browns, thanks in large part to the throwing arm of Lamar Jackson. His pick-six was typical of a quarterback who can’t use his arm to win games. Once the Browns shut down Baltimore’s rushing attack, Jackson who had a fourteen-point lead late in the fourth quarter, showed why he’s still a gimmick quarterback.
The Jaguars never had a chance on Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers, losers of three straight games, found their mojo and routed Jacksonville. So much for Trevor Lawrence joining the elite quarterback club. He was so bad in this game that Head Coach Doug Pederson benched him in the fourth quarter.
So, what does this all mean for the Chiefs? It’s a reminder to everyone they are the best team in the AFC.
Every Monday morning the so-called experts find someone new to latch onto. I guarantee you today’s narrative will center on Stroud, who has been remarkable in back-to-back comeback wins for the Texans.
Still, the Chiefs sit atop the AFC and have for most of the last five years because they are a well-oiled football machine! They don’t make excuses, they work hard, overcome obstacles, and understand the regular season is a grind and a means to an end.
In the pretender class of the AFC, they focus on chasing the Chiefs. With each loss, they realize the perch atop the Conference flagpole is harder to climb.
The Bengals with a loss this Thursday in Baltimore, basically can kiss their 2023 post-season chances out the window. If the Ravens lose, they have zero shot at the top spot in the AFC and likely would lose their grip on the AFC North, because the Pittsburgh Steelers keep winning and so do the Browns.
The Jaguars have a favorable schedule, but the Texans and Colts aren’t going to be the pushovers they were earlier in the year. In fact, Houston has already won in Jacksonville, so though the opponents they face the rest of the season might seem easy, they are not.
To be honest, this narrative is getting old. The Chiefs take hit after hit because outside of the Chiefs Kingdom everyone is hoping they fall and don’t get back up. The fact of the matter, the Chiefs don’t care what others think, they just go about their business and win football games.
Unlike the other pretenders, the Chiefs know their deficiencies, and they don’t stop working on them until they solve them. That’s because they have great coaches, who understand the ebb and flow of the season. It’s clear Kansas City goes through lulls where they seem bored during the regular season, but when you are that good that’s understandable.
In Kansas City and around the NFL, rosters change from season to season. Thus, adjustments must be made and that takes time to become a cohesive team. Right now, the Chiefs are attempting to develop their young receivers on the fly. In doing so the goal remains the same, win the division, host the AFC Title game again, and win the Super Bowl.
The pretenders just hope to catch the Chiefs with a chance to beat them, but they don’t.
As the Chiefs prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles a week from today, they’ll be in the spotlight with their NFC Counterparts. These are without a doubt the best two teams in the NFL, and they’ll face off in Arrowhead to see who is best.
This week the narrative will be the Eagles are the better team, and they’ll be picked by almost everyone to defeat the Chiefs in their house.
What we’ll learn a week from tomorrow will likely change that narrative as to which team is tops in the NFL, because the Chiefs are the NFL’s top brand and best team.