By Joel Muhs / Sports Editor
We are six weeks deep into the NFL season and everything seems to be in order. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are dominating, Aaron Rodgers heads another solid Packers team, Matthew Stafford has turned the Rams into a title contender, and Patrick Mahomes has eight interceptions as the Chiefs sit in last in their division.
Wait a minute, let’s back that up. Eight interceptions for Mahomes? The Chiefs are last in the AFC West? I know, I’m just as confused as you are. However, after watching the Chiefs stumble to a 3-3 record to start off this season, I’ve come to some scary realizations as a Chiefs fan, and it isn’t good. With that said, I’m glad you asked what these realizations could possibly mean. Let’s dive in.
The Chiefs don’t have a defense. Shocker, I know. Even though the Chiefs are coming off a solid defensive performance where they allowed only 13 points, it was against a mediocre, at best, Washington Football Team. Outside of the Washington game, the Chiefs defense has been battered around and has at times reminded me of another defense from the area (sorry Jayhawks). The secondary is giving up chunk plays, the run defense isn’t great, and the pass rush still hasn’t got to the quarterback by the time I’m done with this article. It reminds me of the 2018 Chiefs team, except one thing is different.
The Patrick Mahomes factor is gone – for now. Before everyone starts yelling at me, yes, I still wholeheartedly believe that when No. 15 steps onto the field his team has a chance to win, but that feeling has diminished drastically over these first six games. In 2018, the Chiefs had a terrible defense and still managed to get to the AFC championship game because the rest of the league was trying to figure out how to stop the talent that is Mahomes. This is now Mahomes’ fourth year in the NFL as a starter and it shows.
There is still plenty of magic when Mahomes steps on the field, but if you give NFL defenses four years to study film, they start to figure some things out. However, if the Chiefs can deliver more on the defensive side of the ball and take pressure off Mahomes and the offense, this team is still very dangerous.
The postseason is in doubt. That’s right, I said it. The team that has made two straight Super Bowls and has won five straight division titles may not make the playoffs. Although the 31-13 win over Washington has made me feel slightly better about the Chiefs’ playoff hopes, I’m still skeptical. The Chiefs have looked nothing like their usual dominant selves and it’s been hard to watch at times. They let a win against the Ravens slip through their fingers (literally) after a fumble cost them the game, they turned the ball over on their first three offensive possessions in a loss against the Chargers, and they got flat-out embarrassed by the Bills on Sunday Night Football.
Even though some fanbases would throw a parade for a 3-3 record (Jacksonville), this particular 3-3 record feels different for the Chiefs. Unless things get shored up on both sides of the ball, I don’t expect to see this Chiefs team competing for the chance to go to a third straight Super Bowl.
Although the Chiefs are off to a start that have surprised many, I believe this team is still playoff worthy, but not in its current condition. The 2015 Chiefs were 1-5 through their first six games and finished 11-5, which included a playoff win. If that Chiefs team can turn things around, this one can certainly do so with Mahomes leading the charge.
Joel Muhs is a McPherson sophomore studying journalism. He is the Collegian Sports Editor.