This is a guest post from Tony Samboras.
With National Football League playoffs officially underway, most folks are looking at the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots as favorites to take down the conference championships and faceoff against one another in the Super Bowl. Before anyone anoints either of those teams as Super Bowls champs, they may want to consult with the Kansas City Chiefs.
It should be noted that the Chiefs were helplessly buried from playoff consideration in 2015 after starting the season 1-5. All they did from that point on was roll off 10 straight regular season victories to become the first team in NFL history to start the season off 1-5 and still make the playoffs. After an opening round shutout victory over the Houston Texans, they lost a close one to the New England Patriots, a team that lost to eventual Super Bowl Champ the Denver Broncos in the conference championship game.
Fast forward to the 2016 season. After a slow 2-2 start, the Chiefs found its best form in a road victory against the upstart Oakland Raiders. From there, the team played steady, if unspectacular, ball in route to season record of 12-4, which was good enough to claim the American Conference’s #2 seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The noted improvement over last season is enough to give fans some legitimate hope for a spot in Super Bowl #51 to be held at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
As was the case last season, the Chiefs relied heavily on a stubborn defense that held opponents to less that 20 PPG. At 343 total yards per game, the defense adopted a persona of bend, but don’t break. They ended up leading the league in inceptions (18) and defensive touchdowns (5).
On offense, the Chiefs ended up pretty much on par with last year’s performance. In his 11 th season in the NFL, quarterback Alex Smith recorded a career high in passing with just over 3,500 total yards. He still had difficulty putting the ball in the end zone with only 15 touchdown passes, but he was also able to avoid turnovers with only 8 interceptions in 15 starts. His favorite target ended up being All-Pro tight-end and reality TV star Travis Kelce, who led the team in dates, receptions (85) and yards receiving (1,125).
Considering the Chiefs have a record of 23-5 since week 6 of last year, the league’s other teams would be well advised to not take this team lightly. The ability to win games without a great offense bodes well for a team that seems to play its best when the games matter the most.
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