Written by: Tre Lyday – Staff Writer (@trelyday03)
I still stand by the original statement I made on September 10th, 2016 at 9:51 PM on Twitter. I can’t say what I said, because I promised a friend I wouldn’t say it anymore. So if you wish to see what it is I said, it’s pinned on my Twitter profile @trelyday03.
Now the Chiefs definitely dropped the ball on Sunday, and missed an easy chance to clinch a playoff berth, and be one step closer to a first-round bye. Unlike some people I’m not going to lose my mind over this, and I’m on to Denver. I still expect the Chiefs to make the playoffs, and be a very viable threat to the Patriots in the AFC. To do that though, they will need to do the following.
| Continue to Take the Ball Away
The Chiefs have prided themselves on taking the ball away, and to put it quite simply, they are really good at it. They still lead the league in takeaways, and added three more Sunday against the Titans, who, coming in hadn’t turn the ball over in about a month. What I hear the most from people, is that the fact that the Chiefs give up a ton of yards, both on the ground, and in the air. That is true, but if you can create turnovers at the rate the Chiefs do, it really doesn’t matter how many yards you give up if they can’t score.
| Stay Consistent on Offense
I’ve really had no problem with the Chiefs offense, until recently. They scored 21 straight points against the Raiders in the second quarter, and didn’t score again for the rest of the game. They scored 17 first half points on Sunday against the Titans, and didn’t score again. They were in the red zone in the third quarter, and Alex Smith threw a pick in the endzone where he stared down Maclin the entire time. In fairness I knew where the ball was going pre-snap, because Demetrius Harris didn’t help much by the way he lined up. So if I knew where he was going with the ball you can bet the Titans did. While the Chiefs are brilliant defensively, it would be nice if they could score some second half points, because this isn’t the most efficient way of winning games, and it showed Sunday.
| Feed Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce
Jeremy Maclin is a great receiver, and will be important down the stretch, but the Chiefs need to borderline force feed Kelce and Hill. You saw Hill against Oakland with a punt return for a touchdown and then catching a deep post against quarters coverage (which along with tampa 2 still remain the worst defensive play calls ever). Kelce had his streak of four straight 100 yard games snapped on Sunday, which is actually a shocker to me because of how bad the Titans secondary can be at times. Kelce is a top-three tight end in the NFL, and probably the best route running tight end, and should be used as such. The Chiefs can ill afford to shy away from getting him the ball. Tyreek Hill had a long touchdown run on the first drive of the game against the Titans, and didn’t really see the ball afterwards. As you very well may know there’s not a soul in the world who can catch Hill, so if you get him the ball in space there’s always a chance he goes the distance. Maclin will always be there, but it’s in the Chiefs’ best interest to make sure those two are the main focus of the offense.
| Don’t Panic
The common theme for fans, and sometimes players is to panic. Mostly fans, but there’s really no need to panic. While the Chiefs need the Raiders to lose one more time to regain the two seed in the AFC, they still control their playoff destiny. Win and they’re in, simple as that. I’m never one to panic, because it’s just not in my nature. They do the things I listed above, and they’ll be fine. The Chiefs in my opinion are still easily the second favorite to win the AFC, and still easily one of the best teams in the NFL overall. Just, don’t lose focus on the task at hand which is Denver… at home… in prime time… on Christmas… no big deal, right?