The electricity was as good as it gets last Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs finished off a 12-4 regular season, winning the AFC West for the fourth straight year.
The Chiefs have not been very lucky in key situations for the last 50 years, but last Sunday that luck changed. Head coach Andy Reid and every Chiefs fan needs to sing hail to the Dolphins for beating New England to give Kansas City the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye. The team has not gotten key breaks for way too many years.
They now have an opportunity to make a positive run in the playoffs. This year’s Chiefs are better than the Chiefs team that played in the AFC Championship game against the Patriots last year.
First of all, the defense is head and shoulders better than the 2018 version. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has done a slow but steady job in making the defense a force to be reckoned with.
The improvement at the safety position has been key. Tyrann Mathieu has proven to be a great leader who plays with an aggressive mindset. The knee injury to the rookie safety Juan Thornhill came at a bad time, but Chiefs fans should not hang their heads. Safety Armani Watts can play.
The defensive line has gotten better every game. Chris Jones is dominating. Frank Clark has come alive at the last half of the season and is playing with Pro Bowl capability. Rookie Khalen Saunders has been much better than advertised. Nose guard Derrick Nnadi should have been selected to the Pro Bowl.
Brett Veach did a great job of picking up defensive end Demone Harris and defensive tackle Mike Pennel. They have provided quality depth. The addition of soon-to-be Hall of Famer Terrell Suggs can only help provide more pressure down the stretch. The man can still rush the passer.
The linebackers were the weakest group last year and they have improved since the 2018 season. It seems Spagnuolo has sold the linebackers on each individual strength, and he will see that each will use those strengths when the need arises. Reggie Ragland did not have a good 2018 season but is playing a positive role for this year’s defensive squad.
The special teams have really come along since the debacle in Tennessee. Mecole Hardman has been a difference maker on returns and has been a big play receiver. Harrison Butker has been a true stallion in 2019. He will have to respond in the playoffs if the Chiefs want to move on to the Super Bowl. Dustin Colquitt has always remained consistent. That is big. A solid punter is a best friend for defenses. Field position is huge in the playoffs.
The offense is still one of the top three in the National Football League. When Damien Williams is healthy, you have a guy in the backfield who has the speed to break a game open at any time.
The Chiefs have the best receiving crew and the fastest as a group in the NFL. Tyreek Hill is a difference maker. Sammy Watkins may be the best No. 3 receiver in the league. Travis Kelce is a Hall of Famer getting ready to happen. Demarcus Robinson is the No. 4 receiver and that means he is the best No. 4 in the league. If Byron Pringle had the chance, he would be consistent because he is a great runner after the catch. Mecole Hardman is a touchdown waiting to happen on every catch. The receiver corps is simply loaded.
The offensive line, when everyone is healthy, is as good as any in football. This group has played a lot of snaps together and they really have Andy Reid’s offensive scheme down. In the last six weeks they have cut down the number of penalties they were picking up during the stretch when the team lost four out of five games.
Of course, the biggest asset of this team is obviously still a quarterback who can lead a team to the promised land. However, this team is not all about Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has been just average in the six-game winning streak, but he has been taking what the defenses are giving him and is relying on his teammates to make plays.
Football is a team game, and everyone has to do their part in order to be a champion. Hopefully the Kansas City Chiefs can match a talented team with a little luck and finally return to the Super Bowl. The opportunity is definitely close, so Chiefs fans cross those fingers and believe this may be the year.
• The quote of the week comes from former Denver Broncos coach John Ralston: “Success comes in cans, not in cannots.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.