The Kansas City Chiefs have been stalwarts of the game for the past four to five years. They’ve made the Super Bowl twice in two years and finally emerged as a franchise to take on Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots before that. With Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid at the helm, everything seemed rosy.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs’ fans, the 2021/2022 season hasn’t gone to script, so far. The roster already has three losses to its name, one more than it racked up during the last campaign. Something is wrong at Arrowhead Stadium, but what is it?
Offense Over Defense
It’s no secret that Reid loves to win playing a certain style of football: it’s attack-heavy and aggressive, and it’s why the Chiefs remain among the favorites for a third Super Bowl crown. As it stands, the outright American football betting markets price the franchise at +700 odds, making them the third-favorites behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+600) and the Buffalo Bills (+550). However, the odds had them much shorter before the team’s dip in form.
Although it’s obvious, it doesn’t make the revelation any less true – Reid and company have invested in the offense over the defense in recent years. For example, since 2018, the Chiefs have signed six new offensive linemen, whether through NFL Draft picks, trades, or free agencies. The defensive line has stayed intact, which is proving to be problematic.
So far this year, the Chiefs have given away 30 points or more in four of their first five NFL fixtures. In the other match, the Cleveland Browns racked up 29 points. Fumbles don’t help, like the four they conceded against the Chargers, but they can fix those mistakes. The hardest errors to resolve are the basic ones at the foundation of the defense.
Pressure On the Top Guys
Kansas City’s offense is so good that the guys have been able to secure a couple of wins. Considering that the defense hasn’t kept competitors under 29 points, it’s impressive that they aren’t zero and five. A record of two and three isn’t too bad.
Patrick Mahomes interceptions:
2019 — 5
2020 — 6
2021 — 6 (thru 5 games) pic.twitter.com/SN2b2Lv7IF
— StatMuse (@statmuse) October 11, 2021
Of course, Mahomes and Travis Kelce won’t be able to dig the Chiefs out of the hole every single time. The losses to the Bills, Ravens, and Chargers are evidence of this. Essentially, the pressure of the main men to come up with plays when they take to the field will become too much. Mahomes has already thrown as many interceptions this season as he did in 2020. As a result, his rating dropped to 70.9 against the Bills, which is almost unthinkable when you consider that it hasn’t been under 106 since 2018.
The Bills deserve credit for making Mahomes panic. After all, they are the +550 favorites for a reason. Still, the mistakes are the sort that we aren’t used to seeing the usually impeccable quarterback make. For the supporters, it’s scary because if Mahomes isn’t firing, the Chiefs will struggle to make the playoffs, never mind go to Super Bowl LVI.
The defense is the issue. If they don’t fix it, not only will Kansas City continue to leak TDs, but the franchise’s number one star will find it hard to do something fans are accustomed to – win matches on his own.