FanPost

Winning Close Games, And Why That's Okay

The Chiefs have won a few close games this year. Two of them by 1 point, and the Titans gave them a bit of a scare as the only team to carry a lead in the 4th quarter against the 2013 Chiefs. One of the first things that analysts do, especially when a team has played an "easy" schedule, is to look at point differential to determine the strength of victory. This is pretty basic stuff, but in the Chiefs' case, it seems to bring people to the wrong conclusion.

The Chiefs, as a stifling defense and a conservative offense that excels in creating extensive drives and limiting snaps, will have the propensity to make a final score closer than it seems. The Dallas and Houston games are a great example of this. To anyone who watched these games, it was pretty clear that Chiefs had the upper hand from start to finish. How can that be measured?

Well, for an interesting exercise, take a look at the box scores from the last 7 games on pro-football reference. After perusing for a little bit, I came to an interesting realization: the Chiefs have never, not once, had a full quarter where they were under a 50% win probability. The closest they ever came was the majority of the 3rd quarter in the Dallas game, and ended up taking the lead and controlling the game very well for the entire 4th quarter. In addition, the only time they dipped below a 25% WP was for three plays against the Titans, after which they quickly engineered a comeback.

The point is, one of the greatest aspects of the Chiefs, and similar defense-oriented teams, is that even when the score is close they still control the game. Sure, one play can change the game. But when games are within a score, who would you rather rely on: a great offense that has to drive the length of the field, or a great defense that only once has to stop them from gaining a first down once? Be great for a 10-15 play drive, or be great for 4 downs? I'd stick with the defense, which is why Kansas City has not only been winning, but dominating the close games. If you need more proof, look at the yards from scrimmage the Texans had in the 4th quarter.

As a Niners fan, I know what it's like to have a great defense and a sometimes-frustrating offense. But the offense's conservatism really lends itself to the team's strengths, and that's what Alex Smith does well (except against the Giants, for some reason). He helps control the game, which puts the defense in good position, even when the offense doesn't score and decides to run into a brick wall on 2/3 drives. It's good-old fashioned smart football, playing to the strengths of the team. It's my favorite kind of football, and as much as I love Peyton Manning (sorry, guys) I'd love to see y'all in the Super Bowl. And I really do think you have a great chance, even more than I thought the Niners had in 2011. So many similarities between those two teams, it's amazing. And you're in a weaker conference than we were, although a tougher division.

So close games aren't always what they seem, and the Chiefs should win a few more of those tight ones. Good luck in your quest for 19-0, and unless you face my Niners in the Super Bowl I'll be rooting for you the rest of the way.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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