After the Chiefs impressive Monday night victory over Baltimore, in which they overwhelmed the Ravens by manhandling their defensive line and controlling the clock and ball, it brought to mind the possibility that this could be a season unlike any other in recent memory.
The fact that the Chiefs have not started a season 0-3 since 1980 already means that they must take an alternate path to the postseason, and considering that many other teams have also began the season with question marks and unexpected losses, the final few weeks of the campaign could be very interesting indeed!
Teams like Jacksonville, San Diego and the New York Jets that have started much better than anticipated will most likely begin to fade as the season wears on. Even the Houston Texans, who have two wins early on, cannot be expected to contend for a postseason berth. So what this season has so far presented to us is that the teams that were supposed to contend for the AFC Championship most likely will be the ones still standing when we hit the New Year. The AFC West could quite possibly be won this year with a 10-6 record, and the runner-up could also sneak in the dance with as much as seven losses! Yes, this is shaping up to be a very strange season in the National Football League.
The team that will represent the AFC in Jacksonville will be the one that is peaking at the end of the season, not the team that has started out hot! Of course the Chiefs would rather be 3-1 than 1-3, but something tells me that last season they wouldn’t have minded finishing the regular season 11-5 or 10-6 if they knew that in the playoffs they would be coming together and playing their best football instead of laying that defensive egg at Arrowhead against the Colts! Gunther Cunningham’s defense against the Ravens was very impressive and barring any injuries, they can be expected to only get better as the season wears on. If the Chiefs play as they did on Monday night, with the mindset that they are the underdogs and being written off by the media and the competition, there is no reason why they can’t ultimately fulfill their lofty expectations for this season! They however, cannot assume that the game against the Ravens was a harbinger of the way they’ll play in all their upcoming games. Carl Peterson and the front office still need to see if anything can be done to tweak the roster and add necessary ingredients! The trading deadline is fast approaching and Larry Johnson is still smoldering on the sidelines and not aiding the cause one bit. In order to keep this cancer from spreading throughout the team, a deal needs to be done before the deadline! Perhaps a trade to Miami for a linebacker to fill a back-up role?
Despite the fact that something needs to be done with Larry Johnson, the team showed on Monday night that they still have what it takes to be a champion. They must put behind them the awful start and continue to improve each week. By not assuming victory and working harder and harder, the Chiefs may finally get an opportunity to put their past playoff failures behind them and be on the crest of the wave late in the season when the true championship teams find a way to win!