Kansas City Chiefs Remain Undefeated, but How Long Can They Keep It Going?

Christopher Hansen@ChrisHansenNFLNFL AnalystOctober 13, 2013

Tamba Hali had 3.5 sacks against the Raiders on Sunday.
Tamba Hali had 3.5 sacks against the Raiders on Sunday.Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs are 6-0 for only the second time in franchise history after beating the Oakland Raiders, 24-7, at Arrowhead on Sunday. There are just two undefeated teams in the NFL—the Chiefs and the Denver Broncos—and they could be headed for a showdown in Week 11 in Denver with each team sporting perfect 9-0 records.

You can't discredit the fact that the Chiefs have gotten the job done against every opponent on their schedule—even if you think they haven't played a quality opponent. The Chiefs are winning primarily with a suffocating defense, but realistically how long can they keep the streak going playing this brand of football? 

The answer could be found in the question. No one is asking how long the Broncos can keep it going; they are asking if the Broncos can be beat—at all. Not many people are even pointing out how bad Denver's defense has been.

Apparently offense trumps defense in the minds of many, even though so many people still use the old (and false) adage that defense wins championships. In reality, both teams are a perfect 6-0 and also somewhat flawed, but they have been consistently winning games the only way they know how to win games.

For some reason, we've lost faith in the fact that an elite defense with an average offense can win in the NFL. Perhaps years of rule changes that favor the offense and fantasy football have ruined our perspectives.

Teams with a great defense may be no more likely to win games, but they aren't necessarily less likely to win games, either. In many ways, the Chiefs are just like the Broncos, just using great defense to win instead of great offense.

The Chiefs sacked Terrelle Pryor 10 times, allowed only seven points and forced three turnovers. The Raiders were in the game until the end, and the Chiefs defense proved yet again it can make up for the lack of offense.

The defense even did its job after falling behind by a touchdown. The Raiders never advanced the ball past the 50-yard line after the Chiefs fell behind 7-0, and the one time they did, the Raiders were forced to punt on 4th-and-48 from their own 12-yard line after two sacks and two penalties. 

Falling behind has not yet been a problem for the Chiefs because they allow so few points. An average offense is adequate enough to win games with a defense that is capable of taking over the game. As long as the game is close and the Chiefs can keep feeding running back Jamaal Charles, there shouldn’t be an issue.

The Chiefs need Alex Smith to be better, but by not turning over the ball he's helping the defense.
The Chiefs need Alex Smith to be better, but by not turning over the ball he's helping the defense.Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The Chiefs have some concerns on offense, but every team has issues. The aforementioned Broncos have a questionable defense that they are counting on Von Miller to fix when he returns from his suspension next week. Miller will help, but it's also possible he will not be a cure-all for their defensive woes. 

It's also true that Kansas City's defense is going to face better teams down the line. It's not every week you play a team that is down to its third-string offensive line like the Raiders. Even so, the Chiefs are playing such great defense they should be able to hang with even the best offenses in the league.


Looking Ahead

The Chiefs play the reeling Houston Texans in Week 7, a team that has thrown an interception for a touchdown in each of the past five games. The Chiefs should be able to dominate defensively because the Texans could be starting backup quarterback T.J. Yates. Matt Schaub went down with an injury while clinging to his starting job on Sunday but wouldn't be a significantly tougher challenge even if he played.

Playing against backup quarterbacks is going to be familiar for the Chiefs by their Week 10 bye because they will likely face backups in Week 8 and Week 9 as well. Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was a disaster Sunday, while Buffalo Bills starter Thad Lewis was surprisingly average, but neither represents a huge challenge for the Chiefs defense. 

It's hard to imagine the Chiefs will struggle against any of their next three opponents defensively. The Texans, Browns and Bills could give Smith some trouble, but that's pretty much been the norm.

Smith was just 14-of-31 against the Raiders for 128 yards. Smith added 29 yards rushing and didn't score. Most importantly for Smith, he didn't turn the ball over, which put his defense in optimal situations. That can continue for the next three weeks, and the Chiefs should still be able to win games.

The Chiefs will get two weeks to prepare for the Broncos, whom they play in Week 11 on the road and Week 13 at home. With the most prolific offense through six games in the history of the NFL, the Broncos will test the Chiefs' top-ranked defense.

If the Chiefs can beat the Broncos, there's probably not a team in the league they can't beat. If the Chiefs are still perfect by that point, their win streak could continue. Maybe the first loss will be against the Broncos in Week 13, the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16, or on the road against the Raiders or Chargers, but that's a maximum of five losses on the schedule and probably less.

It's not realistic for the Chiefs to win every game, but maybe it's about time we start treating them like the Broncos. Maybe it’s about time we start wondering if any of the teams on the Chiefs’ schedule are capable of beating them. Maybe it's also about time for the Broncos to be a little worried about the Chiefs and not the other way around.