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

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 01:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) felt some progress in his sprained left medial collateral ligament Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Fitzgerald was pretty upset [ More ]

Julius ThomasNov 26 01:23p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Phil LoadholtNov 26 12:33p

Minnesota Vikings OT Phil Loadholt (pectoral) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Geno SmithNov 26 12:23p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will return to the starting quarterback role in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, after QB Michael Vick saw only three starts. The [ More ]

Timothy WrightNov 26 10:43a

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright has 23 catches on 26 targets this season. 'Every time we throw to him it's a touchdown - we'll try to find him [ More ]

R. Griffin IIINov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Colt McCoyNov 26 09:43a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has officially been benched in favor of QB Colt McCoy in Week 13. Head coach Jay Gruden informed the team Wednesday, Nov. 26.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 11:43p

The Washington Redskins are planning on benching QB Robert Griffin III for the Week 13 game against the Indianapolis Colts in favor of QB Colt McCoy. However, Griffin still [ More ]

Jace AmaroNov 25 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (concussion) is in concussion protocol, according to head coach Rex Ryan, after suffering the concussion in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills.

R. Griffin IIINov 25 04:23p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III was named the starter for Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Nov. 24, by head coach Jay Gruden, but he left open [ More ]

Michael BushNov 25 04:13p

The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent RB Michael Bush (Bears) and cut RB Kerwynn Williams Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Brandon McManusNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos waived PK Brandon McManus Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Connor BarthNov 25 03:43p

The Denver Broncos signed free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Nov. 25, after waiving PK Brandon McManus, according to a source.

Reggie BushNov 25 03:13p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) said he'll be ready to play Thursday, Nov. 27, after missing Week 12 with an ankle injury.

Latavius MurrayNov 25 02:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) will undergo baseline testing for his concussion Tuesday, Nov. 25, according to a league source. He is feeling good, but he must go [ More ]

Brian HoyerNov 25 01:53p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer was never in danger of being benched in favor of QB Johnny Manziel in the team's Week 12 win over the Atlanta Falcons, according [ More ]

Blake BortlesNov 25 01:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles went 15-for-27 for just 146 yards and an interception in the team's Week 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and he hasn't tossed a [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group