Today I am going to present this question: who says we can't make it to the playoffs this year? Alot of people on here comment that they feel we are a year or two away, and yes I can see why most feel that way, after watching 3 years of lackluster football. We haven't had alot to hang our hats on recently and I am fully aware that this post is going to get bashed on. Yes I know we had the 31st ranked defense last year. Yes I know our offensive unit struggled to convert 3rd downs and catch the ball and our O-Line took half the season to get into the flow. We had our ups and downs last season and yes there was probably more hiccups than most would have liked, who is to say we can't put it together this offseason and make a run next year? After the jump I will present why I think we can and will make vast strides this offseason that will net us our first postseason apperance since January 6th, 2007.
The 2009 Cincinnati Bengals
Going into the 2009 season Cincinnati did not have alot to look forward to. The Bengals finished 2008 with 4 wins 11 losses and 1 tie. They were 1-5 in their own division and were minus 160 points in their point differential. They finished the 2008 season with 3 straight victories including knocking off our Chiefs in the final week of the season by the score of 16-6. Those 3 straight victories to finish the season were very important to the 2009 Bengals.
The 2009 Bengals opened the season against the Broncos at home. The final score was 12-7 in favor of the Broncos as I am sure most of you remember, on Stokley's deflected pass 87 yard touchdown. Regardless of the loss the Bengals would go on to win their next 4 games, 3 of which were against divisional opponents and 2 of them at those opponents homes. They would finish the season 10-6, 6 games better than the previous year, and also better in the point differential catagory although not by much with a plus 14 margin. The big thing to focus on here 6-0 in their own division. A division that includes the Ravens, Steelers and Browns. The AFC North is notoriously tough yet after a dismal 2008 year, Cincinnati came back and owned it.
Now I know we haven't drafted yet. I know our roster isn't set in stone and we haven't suffered injuries and surprises. But if the 2009 Cincinnati Bengals can come in and sweep their division why cant we? Only one other team last year swept their division and that was the Colts. If we want to get back to the playoffs then we have to start within our own division. The Bengals could easily have been sitting at home during the wildcard week if they had dropped one or two of their divisional games. We have to get back into beating the Raiders, Chargers and Broncos and finishing the season positive in our own division.
Okay so Cincinnati was the example I used for the 2010 Chiefs, who have yet to take a snap, but lets take a look at one thing that stands out to me, more than any other, the point differential. In 2009 our Chiefs finished negative 130. Not as bad as the 2008 Bengals at 160 but still alot. We finished the season with a decisive victory over the Broncos in Denver 44-24, watching Jamaal Charles set a Chiefs single game rushing record with 259 yards on 25 carries. The Chiefs looked like the team we all thought they were.
In my opinion if we can start the season off like we finished it, get into the positive side on our point differential, and come out positive in our own division who is to say we cant make it to the playoffs? Every year there is one team that does it, and while I dont want to see our team one and done in the playoffs, just getting there is going to be bittersweet for the players who have known only defeat, and the fanbase that is starved for success. With all that we have done this offseason, adding Crennel and Weis. Re-signing Chambers and bringing in Thomas Jones and Lilja. Finishing the season strong on the road against a division rival why not us in 2010?