Well, this was about as predictable as the Sunday Scaries hitting the minute Sunday Night Football is over:
The Chiefs are going to beat the Patriots.— Clay Wendler (@ClayWendler) October 7, 2018
New England is an old dog and Mahomes is going to put them down.
A changing of the guard is about to be witnessed.
You heard it here first.
Winning a shootout against Tom Brady is certainly a bold strategy that’s never gone wrong for anybody before.
Wisdom of trying to outscore a New England Patriots team that’s ranked in the top 3 in points scored every year this decade notwithstanding, this Kansas City Chiefs team may be even more lopsided in the proficiency of their offense and their defense than the 2011 Patriots, and that, my friends, is a sentence I never thought I’d type with a straight face.
Remember that defense, where Julian Edelman was playing nickel cornerback and Patrick Chung was doing his best Earl Thomas impression and Sterling Moore let Mario Manningham...ok, that’s enough. You get the idea.
For as many Pro Bowl and quite-possibly-Hall-of-Fame defenders as the Chiefs have had over the last few years - think Eric Berry, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Marcus Peters, and Darrelle Revis (sorry, couldn’t resist) - this year’s Chiefs defense, objectively speaking, sucks at everything.
It’s quite literally so bad that there’s no wrong choice between running the ball against them or throwing the ball, because this defense could screw both of them up equally well.
For as much as Patrick Mahomes gets described as a backyard gunslinger, this secondary’s effectively turned every quarterback they face into a backyard gunslinger - they’ve given up 1,715 yards through the air, for an average of 343.0 per game. You remember how the old fantasy football streaming defense strategy was “pick up whoever’s playing the Browns”? That, but for whatever quarterback is playing the Chiefs this week.
That 1,715 passing yards allowed is also the NFL’s worst, if that wasn’t clear already.
The run defense, somehow, is actually not the league’s worst - the 594 rushing yards the Chiefs have allowed is good enough for 24th in the league, which sounds like a relative bright spot until that averages out to 118.8 rushing yards a game. What other teams give up yardage on the ground like this? Glad you asked: the Falcons, the Titans, the Bengals, the Browns, and...well, this is awkward: the Patriots.
So for every time for the last, what, 15 years that we’ve made “Bend but don’t break” jokes about the Patriots defense, the Chiefs actually aren’t as awful at allowing points as you might think. They’re still bad, just, you know, not 30+ points per game bad (a dubious honor shared by everyone in the NFC South except the Panthers). KC’s defense is giving up 25.8 points per game so far, good enough for 20th in the league, and hey, like John Madden used to say, I think the team that scores the most points is going to win this game!
(Note: John Madden did not actually say that, but you have to admit you at least thought “Yeah, that sounds like something he’d say”)
If DVOA (defensive value over adjustment) is more your thing, the Chiefs aren’t dead last in that metric either. They are, however, 31st. Woof.
Ok fine, so, yards and points, BOOOOOORING, what about BIG PLAYS and the defense STEPPING UP? Surely the Chiefs D has had some gamebreakers that’d make you smash your controller and rip a string of swears that even Deadpool would appreciate if you were playing Madden, right?
Yes and no; the good news is they’re tied for 6th in the league in sacks with 15, and 7th in interceptions, with 6 picks. Golf clap, everyone.
The bad news: almost all of those came against...everyone do the Good Place voice...
I mean, it’s not like we can just write that off, cause the correct answer to any “Well, if (team) didn’t (do what they did) against (whoever), they’d be (whatever)” is “No sh*t, Sherlock”, but turning Blake Bortles into Evil Blake Bortles for a few quarters doesn’t quite an elite defense make, even if a couple Chiefs wanted to play the NO RESPECT card afterwards:
Orlando Scandrick: “We kind of embraced the underdog role this week,” corner Orlando Scandrick said. “Talk about their defense, No. 1 defense vs. No. 1 offense. We’re kind of the forgotten piece of the puzzle. For me personally, I didn’t feel the respect, so I thought it was going to be great for us to go out and earn it in front of our home fans.”
Reggie Ragland (who I still forget isn’t in Buffalo anymore): In the days leading up to the game, linebacker Reggie Ragland said the key to fixing the Chiefs’ defense was simple: they just needed to be more “grown.”
Anywho, the Patriots have spent the last two weeks treating an undefeated Miami Dolphins team and a not-THAT-bad-they-get-a-pass-because-they’re-rebuilding Colts team like a hibachi chef cooking for a party of 12, so if the Chiefs don’t give up 38 points, at least they’re hanging in there better than those dudes.
Even if “hanging in there” looks like this thing that someone at your office definitely has: