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As a fan of football, we tend to look at the things that are right in front of us and not under the surface. So when you go onto your favorite website and look at the standings you notice that there are two teams left that are undefeated and you say to yourself, “Wow, two teams are undefeated, they must be pretty equal.” That’s true and also it’s not. In the next few paragraphs I will try to show that not only are the Denver Broncos flying high with an electric offense, they also have a franchise, hall of fame quarterback. Those two things alone are headline grabbers. The Kansas City Chiefs are doing it with a smothering defense, waking the echoes of the dominant 90’s Chiefs’ defenses, a reinvigorated new head coach in Andy Reid, and a work in progress offense. Below you will see that both teams are both 6-0, but are winning in much different ways.
Denver is averaging a whopping 44 points a game and an incredible 476 yards per game. These numbers will set records for sure if this pace continues. They have a running game led by the resurrected Knowshon Moreno and a patchwork offensive line that has lost two starters but seemingly hasn’t missed a beat The wide receivers are plentiful and of course they have Peyton Manning who has answered any questions about his age or arm strength.
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Kansas City relies on a ground game led by Jamaal Charles who leads the league in touches and has numerous times been a nice safety valve for the elusive Alex Smith. Smith was brought over from San Francisco for two first day draft picks and has he has immediately brought stability and a sense of direction not seen since dare I say Trent Green? The offensive line is solid but not spectacular and they do have a top 15 wideout in Dwayne Bowe. They have other complimentary play makers around Smith, but the offense really relies on ball control, no turnovers and wearing the opponent down. It’s not as flashy as Denver, but the Chiefs still average around 25 points per game which is good for 9th in the NFL. Chiefs’ fans won’t complain considering what we’ve been watching the past few years, especially when they have a defense that can win games for you.
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Who said defenses can’t win championships? If someone said it, they haven’t watched the Chiefs this year. When management brought over Bob Sutton from the Jets, they decided that the pieces for a championship contending defense were there, they just didn’t have the blueprint. Sutton took what the defenders do best and implemented an attacking style that gives the opposing offenses many different looks and makes it hard to game plan for. While leading the league in sacks early on is nice, they need to shore up their rushing defense in order to win games in December and hopefully January. The precedent has been set for the rest of this season, and if they continue this stifling defensive play, the Chiefs will be in every game from here on out.
Denver’s defense has been maybe the one flaw in an otherwise dominant first 6 games of the year. They rank 24th in the league in points given up and 29th in yards allowed. Luckily when you score 44 points a game, you can afford to have a porous defense. Admittedly, Denver hasn’t had the services of Von Miller, and has had to deal with a limited Champ Bailey. Denver will have to fix these issues if they want to win in December, when the game generally slows down and most teams do not score 40 plus a game.
I only bring up Dustin Colquitt because he has had 19 punts so far inside the 20 and is averaging 43.2 yards a punt which is good for a 37.2 punt net average. This is contributing to the Chiefs pinning their opponents deep in their own territory. This is just one more example of how the Chiefs aren’t overwhelming their opponents in points but doing the little things in order to secure the win. Having to go 80 to 90 yards a couple of times a game gives the Chiefs’ defense more opportunities to create turnovers and gets sacks on the QB.
What people are saying:
“Denver is dominating their opponents.” “You can’t stop their offense.” “The Chiefs are 6-0 but who have they really played?” “The Chiefs’ schedule is so easy” These are just a few of the things I have heard on TV and radio over the past couple of weeks. Well to settle this argument, we shouldn’t let facts get in the way of a good story, or maybe we should. According to the twitter handle NFL Stats @NFL_Stats “the Chiefs and the Broncos’ opponent’s combined record are identical at 11-25.” The reason the Broncos are grabbing the headlines are two fold. One they have four time MVP Peyton Manning at the helm, and two is that they are putting up gaudy point totals that would make the 1998 Minnesota Vikings blush. Also according to NFL.com, Denver’s strength of schedule is .430 while the Chiefs are at .473. Honestly, the comparisons need to end on this topic since both teams are playing easy schedules.
So when 6-0 and 6-0 may look very similar to most people, looking at it closer reveals that each team is winning in their own way and that so far it’s doesn’t matter how you win, but that you win. When the teams meet in a few weeks, then we can have a real argument about who is better. Let’s just enjoy the team’s successes as the weeks go on.