Blogging The Boys: What was the main cause of the Chiefs slump early in the season? Was it a surprise they struggled or could you see it coming?
Arrowhead Pride: It was a surprise. There have been no indications in the last 3 years that this team is even capable of playing that badly on a consistent run of games. So when it did come I think it took everyone associated with the Chiefs by surprise. The reason for the slump? I guess it was a little bit of everything.
Defensively, they weren’t very well-coached. Too many times, the weaker pieces of the defense were being left out to dry and teams were happily taking advantage, and the so-called ‘superstar’ players of the defense weren’t playing to their ability (or paychecks in some cases).
Offensively, something was off with the Chiefs offense. Turnovers, dropped passes, lack of confidence, miscommunications - it was all going at the same time. However, I do think they are starting to turn a corner. Against the Packers, they were starting to get some looks that they have seen before but it was their execution that let them down. They didn’t have such issues against the Raiders.
BTB: Is the Chiefs defense as bad as is being portrayed in the media, or are there factors that are being overlooked?
AP: There has been two versions of the Chiefs defense this year. The first one was the horror show that played in the first 7 games of the season. This particular version was a mess - they couldn’t do anything well. Thankfully, they’ve turned a corner recently and look a lot like the 2019 version of the Chiefs defense. They’re getting pressure on the quarterback once again, they’re creating turnovers, and more importantly, they’re playing with some swagger. Now we must take this with a pinch of salt considering the quarterbacks they’ve faced recently. I suppose we’ll find out on Sunday if they’re looking any better.
BTB: Do you think Clyde Edwards-Helaire will play this week? If so, how does he change the Chiefs offense? (Note: The Chiefs have now activated Edwards-Helaire to the roster)
AP: There is no doubt that Edwards-Helaire would be a welcomed addition to this new style of Chiefs offense. With Reid and Mahomes now seemingly more willing than ever to involve the running backs in the passing game, then we should expect for CEH to breakout. We all saw how much of a threat he was in receiving passes out of the backfield in his final year at LSU. Andy Reid likened Edwards-Helaire to Brian Westbrook just after the 2020 draft - but we haven’t really seen any evidence of that in the pros so far.
While the Chiefs have activated Edwards-Helaire for the game, I’m not expecting too much - the Chiefs had an open roster spot after Marcus Kemp was placed on the Covid list, so that is probably why they activated him. For my money, they will be unleashing CEH after the bye week - hoping he will wreak havoc.
BTB: What is the best way for a defense to deal with Patrick Mahomes?
AP: The fashionable thing to do at the moment is dropping 7 or 8 guys into coverage every play. The question is if this tactic is really working or has it been a case of Mahomes getting in his own head? Despite the Chiefs well documented ”offensive troubles”, the team still averages 26 points a game with Mahomes himself going for 294 yards per game and 2.5 touchdowns. During the slump, the issue has been protecting the football and execution. They were getting the small things wrong: throwing passes behind receivers, not securing the football after the catch and not holding on to the ball high and tight. Now that the Chiefs have evidently cleaned up that side of things, it will be interesting to see how teams go about trying to flip possessions in their favor.
BTB: What is your prediction on how the game plays out including a final score?
AP: I’ve had this game highlighted as a potential game of the year ever since the schedule was released — but I’ll not lie: I was worried for this particular matchup a few weeks ago. Luckily for the neutral, both teams have rounded out into some nice form of late and are both coming off their most dominant wins of the season. If I am being honest, my prediction for a Kansas City win on this week’s Great British Chiefs Show was through rose-tinted glasses. But with the Cowboys losing star receiver Amari Cooper to the COVID list, then all of a sudden my prediction is coming from the brain and not the heart. Chiefs 37, Cowboys 34
Thanks for the knowledge, Arrowhead Pride.