That collective sigh you hear throughout the Kansas City metro is folks reading the news that Patrick Mahomes’ dislocated kneecap shouldn’t keep him out as long as the worst case could.
The Chiefs got the best news they could have on Friday afternoon and may only have to withstand as few as three games without the reigning MVP. I don’t feel good about the fact that Mahomes is missing time, but there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of this football team—their season is not over.
Let’s have some optimism. We deserve it. Here is the good news about the outlook of this football team:
1) Mahomes is coming back
The season isn’t over! Everything this team wants to accomplish is still very much in front of them. He is going to return, this team is going to get their leader back and it should all be in time for them to make the playoffs and win the division. We don’t have to move to draft season yet, and the Chiefs are likely to get at least one home game in the playoffs because...
2) They’re 2-0 in the AFC West
The Chiefs’ two most-challenging divisional games resulted in a win. They already have a win on the second-place Oakland Raiders and won against the Denver Broncos on the road Thursday night. They don’t play another divisional game until Monday Night Football in Mexico City on November 18. That could be the first game back for Mahomes.
The Chiefs are undefeated in the west and may have their signal-caller for all six of them. Two divisional road divisional wins under the belt. That’s massive.
3) The bye week may be perfectly timed
The Chiefs are for sure going to be without Mahomes for back-to-back home games against Green Bay and Minnesota, followed by a road game against the lowly Tennessee Titans. Then comes their game against the Chargers in Mexico City.
Depending on how the first three weeks go and the outlook of the Chargers, the Chiefs could elect to sit Mahomes out for a fourth game and then get a bye week. Mahomes could sit out until December while still missing only four games.
If the Chiefs can upset Green Bay or Minnesota and then beat Tennessee on the road, I’d think long and hard about a patient approach. They can play this week to week.
4) A bye is still in play
Believe it or not, if this team can manage the next four weeks, they could still get a first-round bye in the playoffs. The No. 1 overall seed might be out of reach, but the only one-loss team in the AFC is in the same division as the undefeated New England Patriots. They can’t get a bye. The Chiefs can. Root for the Texans and Colts to lose more games and the Chiefs merely would need to have the same record as the Ravens for an extra week off in the playoffs.
5) Mahomes gets to rest his ankle
No more limping around and trying to manage a high-ankle sprain. Now all ailments get to be appropriately treated and managed. This could prove huge for the stretch run. When they do let him loose, it should be close to the play we’ve come to expect.
6) Others have to step up
The team knows they’re getting their quarterback again. The pressure has been put on other areas of this football team to weather the storm until he returns. That can actually be a good thing. The defense responded immediately with the best performance we’ve seen in two seasons. They showed urgency we hadn’t seen. This defense will have a new level of focus, trying to help carry this team for a difficult stretch.
7) Help is coming
The stretch run could be a lot of fun in Kansas City. This team could peak at the perfect time. Chris Jones, Eric Fisher, Sammy Watkins, Kendall Fuller and Andrew Wylie will all likely be back when Mahomes returns. The team will be at full strength for the stretch run. Mahomes will be better protected, the defense will get some talent back and this team will have a chance to rack up wins against AFC West opponents en route to another AFC West title.
The Chiefs could very well peak at the right time. And if that happens, it’d be quite the story.