Kansas City Chiefs May Be Team to Beat in AFC Playoffs

By Jonathan W. Crowell
Alex Smith, Sean McGrath
Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs‘ 56-31 victory against the Oakland Raiders while on the road Sunday put them back in the winner’s circle for this season. It also went a long way to hush some critics who claimed that the Chiefs had lost their drive, though the game was a bit of a close call at least at one point.

The Chiefs also clinched an AFC Wild Card spot for themselves for going into the postseason, and with the Denver Broncos‘ loss last week to the San Diego Chargers, Kansas City is now tied at 11-3 with Denver for the No. 1 spot in the AFC West division. Not too bad for a team who had been written off as flukes when they were the only undefeated team at 9-0 a few weeks ago.

The Chiefs’ defense seemed to show some slippage, allowing more than 425 yards for the fifth time in the past six games as they let the Raiders move up from a 35-10 deficit at one point to just within four points at 35-31 before their offense kicked back into gear.

But the Chiefs’ offense was in top form for most of the game. Quarterback Alex Smith went 17-of-20 passes for 287 yards and a career-high five touchdown passes. He lost his first fumble of the season, but considering the fantastic season he’s had statistically fans will be quick to overlook that. Running back Jamaal Charles had another phenomenal and record-breaking game with five touchdowns, 20 yards rushing and 195 yards receiving. No one has scored five touchdowns in a game for the franchise since Abner Haynes pulled that stunt for the Dallas Texans in 1961.

Chiefs rookie running back Knile Davis, who so many had concerns about earlier in the season, scored a touchdown for the third consecutive game, and safety Eric Berry intercepted two passes, returning one for 47 yards and another touchdown.

Kansas City has not defeated the divisional rival Raiders for both of their games in one season since 2006. The Chiefs lost both of their divisional games to the Broncos in the regular season and another to the Chargers. One divisional game for the season remains against the Chargers on December 29.

The Chiefs take on the 9-5 AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead this Sunday. It’s looking like those two teams will meet for a Wild Card round playoff game in Indianapolis after the regular season ends.

If the Kansas City defense can tighten back up to where they were earlier this season and the offense continues improving they will be the formidable team to beat in the playoffs.

Jonathan W. Crowell is a writer and an online sports blogger for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @JW_Crowell, “like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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