By Kevin Kietzman
Well, the Ravens didn’t do the Chiefs any favors Monday night with one of the most disappointing efforts of the season and it now feels like the best the Chiefs can do is get the #2 seed in the AFC Playoffs.
While it’s still possible the Patriots could lose at Denver and at Miami, it seems the most unlikely scenario of all. And even if they did, the Chiefs have to run the table against Tennessee, Denver and San Diego. And I don’t think the Chiefs will.
Not to be a downer, but I think it’s time to start looking for another Raiders loss somewhere to make sure KC wins the West and gets a week off and a home game. The Raiders are at San Diego this week and the Chargers are decimated with injuries. Quarterback Phillip Rivers, always turnover prone, is reaching new lows recently with his dreadful play. It has to be a Raiders win. Next week, the Colts visit Oakland and while the Colts can occasionally ride the hot hand of Andrew Luck to victory, they are not even in the Raiders’ league. Another Oakland win.
Again, don’t be alarmed, but I think the AFC West is coming down to the final game of the season and I’m not going to be surprised if the Chiefs are a game back and need a win at San Diego and an Oakland loss at Denver.
The problem the Chiefs have had all year is they just don’t put teams away. Even at home, where KC has been victorious in 11 of its last 12, they are not even close to dominant. Maybe you can just keep winning close, low scoring games, but I don’t want to find out. It’s time for the Chiefs to exert themselves, time to make a statement.
The Titans come in this week with arguably the league’s hottest quarterback in Marcus Mariota and a defense that has completely pulled it together the second half of the season. Tennessee will pound the ball running first (and Mariota is a big part of that running several designed plays Alex Smith used to run) and then take it up top for the long ball. This won’t be easy. I actually think beating Denver on Christmas night is now an easier assignment than beating Tennessee. I’ll take a close win this week but need the Chiefs to stop pounding our hearts against the Broncos. I tease Alex Smith a little bit every week when I see him that you have to start getting some easier wins or we’re all going to die young.
Bottom line for me? I actually thought the Ravens would win Monday night and set this thing up for a race to the top seed. Now I think the Chiefs will do very, very well to just hang on to the #2 seed and get that coveted bye and a home game in the playoffs.