2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chiefs are undefeated but are they the best?

    2013-10-27 18:21

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By TIM DAHLBERG
AP Sports Columnist

The first half was the easy part, though nothing comes that easy for the only undefeated team in the NFL.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 8-0, remarkable by itself in a league where parity rules and only hapless Jacksonville counts as a sure win. It borders on amazing when you consider the Chiefs were 2-14 a year ago and so anemic offensively that some fans actually cheered when quarterback Matt Cassel left with a concussion in a home loss to Baltimore.

The Chiefs went out and got a new quarterback, a new coach and a new general manager after that. A lot of the team is new, too, with some 30 different names on this season's roster than last.

They're good, yes, because you have to be good to win eight straight games in the NFL. Defensively, they're top-notch, and Alex Smith does a commendable job managing an offense that takes few risks but makes even fewer mistakes.

Still, no one outside Missouri and Kansas talks about the Chiefs in the same breath as the Broncos, Seahawks or 49ers, all teams that have lost. They're not Super Bowl favorites in the sports books in Las Vegas, where the wise guys still aren't convinced they belong among the NFL elite.

The Chiefs have their doubters, and win No. 8 Sunday at home against Cleveland likely did nothing to persuade them to jump on the bandwagon. A mediocre team at best, the Browns were in the game until the final minutes before finally falling 23-17.

It told no one anything about the Chiefs they didn't already know. And it remains anyone's guess how deep the team can possibly go in the playoffs.

But the players are starting to believe. And it may not be long before these Chiefs finally get some believers, too.

''The best you can be right now is 8-0 and that's where we're at,'' Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. ''Everybody's going to give us their best. We know that. If we can take that punch and keep rolling, that's what we did today. It wasn't pretty, but a `W' sure does look good.''

It does, though those ''W's'' weren't exactly piled up at the expense of the better teams in the league. None of the teams the Chiefs have beaten have winning records at the midpoint of the season, and the weak schedule makes it tough to evaluate just where Kansas City should be ranked.

Not to worry, because that's about to change. The second half of the schedule isn't filled with the cupcakes the Chiefs have been fortunate to meet so far. It includes not just one, but two, meetings with the high-powered Broncos, and two more with a San Diego team that seems to be rapidly improving.

Throw in games against Indianapolis and Washington, and the second half of the schedule is about as tough as the first half was easy.

''The goal is to go farther and farther,'' running back Jamaal Charles said. ''We're going to take this one game at a time and look at the next opponent, but it's a blessing to be 8-0.''

While the Chiefs retooled a big chunk of their roster under new coach Andy Reid and new GM John Dorsey, the real key to the turnaround may lie with the steady play of Smith, who never seems terribly impressive but always seems to win. Cast off by San Francisco after a concussion gave Colin Kaepernick a chance to shine, Smith has won 27 of his last 33 starts over 2 1/2 seasons with two teams.

Smith was his usual efficient self against the Browns, throwing for 225 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs play it close to the vest, but Smith has thrown only four interceptions all year and is the second leading rusher on the team.

The only stat that really matters, though, is that Smith is undefeated as quarterback of the Chiefs.

''This is the NFL and there's not going to be blowouts week in and week out,'' Smith said. ''But it's fun being around this team. We enjoy coming to work, we enjoy preparing.''

A lot of people in Kansas City are enjoying coming to the stadium on Sundays, too. As good as this season has gone so far, last season was so miserable that fans raised money to fly a banner over the stadium calling for Cassel to be benched and GM Scott Pioli to be fired.

If the fans have moved on, so have the players.

''Last year is last year,'' receiver Dexter McCluster said. ''I'm done talking about it. 8-0 speaks for itself.''

It does, though it doesn't speak loudly. There are a lot of games still to be played, and a lot of questions still to be answered.

The Kansas City Chiefs may not be the best team in the NFL, or even the best team in their division.

But right now their record says they are.

----

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Miles AustinMar 30 05:32p

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, March 30. The deal is worth $2.3 million with $700,000 available in incentives, according to a source.

DeMeco RyansMar 30 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans (Achilles') said he will be ready for training camp in July after coming back from his second torn Achilles' tendon since 2010. He will [ More ]

Michael HillMar 30 05:02p

Free-agent RB Michael Hill (Colts) signed an undisclosed deal with the Washington Redskins Monday, March 30.

Demaryius ThomasMar 30 02:12p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas will not be present at the Broncos' offseason program or attend workouts with QB Peyton Manning at Duke University. Thomas is currently in Los Angeles for a charity event.

Jordan TodmanMar 30 01:42p

Free-agent RB Jordan Todman (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Monday, March 30. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Miles AustinMar 30 11:42a

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) will likely sign with the Philadelphia Eagles this week if all goes well with his physical, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIIMar 29 07:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will be the first-team quarterback during offseason workouts, according to head Jay Gruden, but Gruden also said he expects QB Kirk Cousins and [ More ]

Stevan RidleyMar 29 10:12a

Free-agent RB Stevan Ridley (knee) is scheduled to meet with a few teams this week. Ridley is expected to receive full medical clearance in around six weeks.

Andre EllingtonMar 27 07:52p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington, who averaged 20.6 touches per game in 2014 before being injured, won't have his role reduced in 2015, according to head coach Bruce Arians. [ More ]

C.J. AndersonMar 27 07:32p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished 2014 with 648 rushing yards in the last six games, will enter the 2015 season at the top of the running back [ More ]

Jonathan MartinMar 27 04:32p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27.

Alan BallMar 27 03:02p

Free-agent CB Alan Ball (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jarrett BoykinMar 27 02:12p

Free-agent WR Jarrett Boykin (Packers) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nick FolesMar 27 01:22p

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said it's the team's intention to draft a quarterback in this year's draft, despite trading for QB Nick Foles in the offseason. [ More ]

Dont'a HightowerMar 26 08:02p

New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) will miss six to seven months after undergoing surgery on a torn right labrum. Hightower's availability for the beginning of the regular [ More ]

Brian QuickMar 26 06:52p

St. Louis Rams WR Brian Quick (shoulder) is making progress in recovering from a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder he suffered last October. Head coach Jeff Fisher has [ More ]

Jay CutlerMar 26 06:32p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will head into the offseason as the team's No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, but head coach John Fox said there will be [ More ]

Danny LansanahMar 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah signed his one-year tender Thursday, March 26.

Jonathan MartinMar 26 04:52p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was waived Thursday, March 26.

Pat SimsMar 26 04:22p

Free-agent DT Pat Sims (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, March 26.

Victor CruzMar 26 01:32p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) 'looks really good and light,' according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz started running last week six months after he tore the [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyMar 26 11:52a

Free-agent WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Steelers) re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers Wednesday, March 26. Heyward-Bey signed a one-year deal with the team, but financial terms were not disclosed.

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group