Getting down to business







BY JOSE FAUS


This is the way it’s supposed to go. The Chiefs went into New England and took down the mighty Patriots. Not that the Patriots have been all that mighty in recent weeks but a victory is a victory. The Chiefs won the Western division for the fourth year in a row, and are now the third seed for the post season.


After all these years of carrying the New England bogeyman on their backs you would think that chiefs fans would be overjoyed but instead there is some consternation. This is a fan base that has been close to the big prize a few times in the 50 years since the Lombardy trophy took a lap around the city.


I think last year there was more optimism for the team’s chances, and that had to do with the high octane offense the Chiefs put on the field. So, what can we make of this year’s team? Even with the win there continues to be some questions about the offense. We have rarely seen the high power game that struck so much fear in opponents last year. The blame for that has to rest with the offense and in particular the offensive line. They have not been as crisp as they can be and as a result quarterback Patrick Mahomes has taken a few more shots than he should.


In the second quarter, Mahomes was putting up large numbers but there was that rubbing and shaking of the hand that put a little consternation in Chiefs kingdom. It does not look like that is going to go away. An 80% healthy Mahomes is still good enough to win but it does limit the ability to get the complete game from all facets as the Baltimore Ravens are putting up.


Somewhere in the distance sit the Pittsburgh Steelers, a likely first round home opponent if the Chiefs cannot gain the second seed. So many things are outside the Chiefs control, but take care of business the next three games and the Chiefs can be that team that is peaking at the right time. The Ravens are and should be the number one seed.


Nothing speaks more loudly about how strong the Ravens are then the fact that in their last seven games they have defeated the Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and the Los Angeles Rams. All of those teams could end up in the playoffs. No one can match that record right now. By all measures the Ravens are peaking and barring any injuries should be the favorites to win it all.


But one has to wonder how much wear and tear can Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson take? Running quarterbacks are a risky proposition. There is no indication that Jackson’s backup should he be injured, can lead the Ravens. That is not to say that the Raven’s backup Robert Griffin III is a slouch, but it is hard to see the Ravens offense clicking without Jackson at the helm.


Then on the other side of the league you have dominant teams such as the Saints and the surprising 49ers. This past week’s matchup between those two teams reminded me a lot of last year’s matches between the Chiefs and Patriots and later the Rams. Those were nail biting, to the wire, see who scores the most points, because Lord knows defense is taking a nap.


Which brings us back to the Chiefs. The defense has been a pleasant surprise and by all indications is a real thing. There is a balance that is starting to appear. If one side of the line can get in the mind set of picking up the other side when they are down then the Chiefs have nothing to worry about. The defense can carry this team with moderate offensive output and we know the offense still has the tools to blow out any team given the right matchups.


The next three weeks will be key in seeing how well the team is coming together. Make no mistake they have to show that cohesion going into the playoffs. The road to the Super Bowl more than likely will go through the Ravens right now. This is getting down to business time for the Chiefs, and they well know it.