Playoffs! That's right! our Chiefs have finally sealed the deal and we are heading to the big time. I never saw this coming entering the season, and there is (understandably) a lot of celebrating going on here at AP right now.
However, along with that happiness comes a certain amount of trepidation. After all, it wasn't too long ago we went to the playoffs only to get absolutely and totally spanked by the Colts. As a wrote about here, I think this team is very different from that team a few years back, but the fear still exists, at least for me. And it's a view that many non-Chiefs fans share.
Something I've heard a lot of the last few days (and all season) from various fans of other teams is that the Chiefs are not really a playoff-worthy team. Basically, the argument goes something like this.
"The only reason you guys are in the playoffs is because you've played the most epically easy schedule of all time! You guys are a mediocre team that looks better than that because you've played terrible teams all year. Plus, the Chargers choked. You're gonna get killed in the playoffs by real playoff-caliber teams!"
I've heard various forms of this so often I actually wrote a post earlier this year questioning just how easy our schedule had been. I'd like to do the same here, only this time looking into the new argument that we're an average team made to look better by playing sub-average opponents. So let's get started, and I know what you're thinking...
First off, what does it mean to be mediocre or average? Well, I take it to mean you're a team that's not good, but not terrible. A team that's had a few good wins, but just as many bad losses. A team that's hovering around .500. So is this what we are? Are we a .500 team that's been handed success against multiple bad teams?
When looking at our schedule, I find many teams which fit the description of "average". I'd say the Browns, Texans, Jaguars, Raiders, Seahawks, Rams, and Titans all pretty much fit. I include the Browns because while they've only won 5 games, they've had a brutal schedule and have played tough all year. I include the Texans because of their level of play early in the year (when we played them), which was much higher than it's been as of late.
While arguments could be made for maybe the Chargers to be considered average as well, I'm going to leave them out of this because of their talent level and stud QB.
So we've got 7 teams which are around average. They aren't teams that would necessarily be looked at as an easy "W" by others, but not teams that are feared either. So how do we look against this group of average?
Our record against these teams is a pretty impressive 5-2. But what I'd like to point out is the nature of the games. We played very close, tough games against the Browns, Texans, and Raiders, coming away the winner once and the loser twice (incidentally, notice that all these games are on the road? Just something to point out). On the other hand, we have the remaining four games.
Let me put it this way, against the Jaguars, Seahawks, Rams, and Titans, we weren't Brian in this picture.
We came out of those games with wins by an average of 18.5 points. Or to put it another way, we beat those teams by more points than 6 teams in the league average per game. Again, six teams in the league don't even average the number of points by which we destroyed those 4 teams. Here's a fun picture to look at while that stat sinks in.
These aren't the Panthers we're talking about here. The Jaguars have a shot at the playoffs. The Rams are a division leader (OK, it's the NFC West, so we'll only count that a little). The Titans have some very talented players, and up until we beat the crap out of them the Seahawks were 6-3 and considered a pretty good team, especially at home.
Like I said, none of these teams are good. They are average. But here's the question I put to you... Does an "average team" (like we're accused of being) beat the living daylights out of other average teams like this? The short answer is no. And taking into account that NO average teams have whipped us like that this year (of course, a bad team did, but we'll ignore it as an anomaly :) ), it seems rather illogical to view us as average.
I'll give you another piece of ammo to use the next time someone tells you that the Chiefs are merely an "average" team.
-The Chiefs are rated 9th in the league in points allowed while tied for 11th in points scored. How many "average" teams are at or near the top ten in BOTH of these categories?
Allow me to save you the time; none. Because average teams don't do that. They either have decent offenses and bad defenses (like HOU and OAK) or a decent defense and a bad offense (like CLE and MIA). Want a list of the other teams that are 11th or higher in both offense and defense?
The Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and San Diego Chargers, with the Baltimore Ravens JUST missing the cut (ranked 12th in offense, 3rd in defense). The only team on that list one could even try to argue is average would be San Diego, and let's face it, they're a top 5 team talent-wise with one of the best QB's in the league. An anomaly, an outlier, the exception to the rule.
What does all this mean? Well, it means that the next time someone tries to tell you we're merely an average team, you get to say this in response...
"I don't know about that. We beat the tar out of a lot of average teams this year. Doesn't seem like we could do that if we were only average too. Also, seeing as we're at the top 10 in the league in both offense and defense (is your team by the way?), I don't think average is the right word for us."
Know what they call that in a debate?
Obligatory ninja pic