Six weeks into any other season the talk of the NFL would be Andy Reid, Alex Smith, and the resurgence of the Kansas City Chiefs. But with Peyton Manning and the invincible Broncos steamrolling their way across the league, the media has relegated the (6-0) Chiefs to back page news.
Sure, the Chiefs are still getting “some” press, but for all intents and purposes they’ve been snubbed. Teams with one or even two losses are talked about more often than KC. (Patriots, Saints, Seahawks, Colts)
Look at any chart showing the AFC West standings and without a doubt the listing will read Denver first, Kansas City second. Sure, this is merely an alphabetization convention, but if media agents did in fact have the choice to simply choose which of the two (6-0) teams ought to be on top, Denver would win out every time.
The reality is that if the season were to end today, the Chiefs would win the division by tiebreaker and Denver would hit the road in the Wild Card Round! OK, OK, the season isn’t concluding today, and the Broncos and Chiefs have yet to play each other, yet the point is still relevant. The Chiefs are undefeated, yet NFL pundits everywhere have already handed the Broncos the AFC West crown, with the Lombardi Trophy close in tow.
Am I saying that the Chiefs are better than the Broncos?
Not at all.
On the other hand, I’m not saying that the Broncos are better either. The fact is, until the Chiefs lose, we have to assume that they are just as good as the Broncos, or at least make the subject a topic of conversation as opposed to a foregone conclusion.
So let’s take a look.
We already know that Denver boasts the NFL’s top offense. They’ve scored 265 points thus far, while no other NFL team is even approaching 200.
But, did you know that Kansas City has allowed the fewest points in the league at 65? This means that the Broncos gave up nearly as many points in one game to the Cowboys as the Chiefs have in all 6 matches. Denver’s opponents are also amassing, on average, 100+ yards more per game than KC’s rivals up to this point.
Both of the Broncos and Chiefs are dominating rivals, but on opposite spectrums – it’s incredible. What’s even more remarkable, is that after 6 weeks, they’ve both done battle against four of the same teams (Jaguars, Cowboys, Giants and Raiders).
Can Denver outscore any team in the league? Absolutely. But what’s not being mentioned is the fact that they may have to. Denver’s defense is 4th worst in yards per game, and tied for 4th worst in points per game.
These are most definitely not insignificant statistics, especially when it comes playoff time. Let’s not forget that Denver’s early playoff exit last season was not due to an untimely intercept, but instead that their defense gave up 38 points, including a ridiculous last second bomb.
While the “offense wins games, defense wins championships” mantra is slowly being shown the exit in this pass-happy, “don’t hit anybody” modern era of NFL, the fact remains the same; come playoff time, defense matters (a lot). Most postseason battles are decided by less than a touchdown. Evidently if you can’t make that final stop, BOOM! You lose.
So let’s hold off judgment on who’s tops in the AFC West until either the Chiefs or the Broncos crack. Either way, we’ll have our answer when Kansas City travels to Mile High Stadium in Week 11. I can’t wait.