The Kansas City Chiefs are the model franchise in the NFL right now. The only question is if they can become the league’s next great dynasty.
Over the last four seasons, Kansas City has reached the Super Bowl three times and won it twice. While the supporting cast has changed quite a bit over the years, the foundation has remained unchanged: Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and Travis Kelce lead the offense, while Chris Jones powers the pass rush from the interior defensive line.
This certainly does not feel like the strongest Chiefs team of this era. Drops from the wide receivers have been a huge problem all year. Kelce is getting older, and has lost some of his explosive play ability. The offensive line is solid but unspectacular. This is now a team carried by its defense. Somehow, the Chiefs are still two wins away from their third Super Bowl under Reid and Mahomes.
Here’s three reasons why the Chiefs will go the Super Bowl once again.
The bottom line here?
He is still Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs quarterback got a chance to do something for the first time last week: Play an AFC playoff game on the road. All he did was deliver a near-perfect performance, completing 17 of 23 passes for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns, good for an NFL Passer Rating of 131.6 and a QBR of 91.2.
And Mahomes has fared well at M&T Bank Stadium. His first visit came back in 2020, during the COVID-19 season, and he completed 31 of 42 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-20 Chiefs’ win. But he then faced not just the Ravens — but the crowd — the following season during a Week 2 trip to the Inner Harbor. While the Chiefs lost that game 36-35, Mahomes hit on 24 of 31 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
He is still Patrick Mahomes, and he gives Kansas City a chance to win each and every week.
The best big game defender left in the playoffs currently, Chiefs DT Chris Jones has a propensity for blowing up gameplans in the biggest games of the season. He always raises his game to another level in the postseason, and DC Steve Spagnuolo loves to play matchup ball with his best defensive player. An example: last week Bills QB Josh Allen goes to throw a surefire touchdown to WR Khalil Shakir, but guess who disrupts the pass by walking back LT Dion Dawkins? That’s right, it was Jones. Then we all know what happened after that pivotal play. His play is game-swinging, a true force multiplier for the Chiefs’ defensive front.
It’s been a quiet year for Jones, but one that saw him rack up 10.5 sacks while playing all across the defensive line. As good as the Ravens have been offensively, they’ve been rotating their tackles all season to keep them fresh. If Jones can get into a rhythm and find the weakest point of the Ravens’ offensive line, he can take over a game, just as he has in postseasons before.
This has really been the first season with the Chiefs that Steve Spagnuolo had actual resources to build the defense, and boy did they respond. A huge part of this was ensuring Chris Jones was re-signed, but beyond that investments in the defense through the draft transformed Kansas City from one of the league’s most mediocre defenses, into one of its best.
This year proved that Coach Spag wasn’t a relic of the past. Jones anchoring the middle of the line, paired with Trent McDuffie emerging as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL has drastically lifted the team, playing with newfound aggression they lacked in years’ past.
There is a very real chance this unit is able to diagnose the Raven offense and break them apart, with McDuffie essentially deleting a player’s impact on offense. If you take away Lamar Jackson’s weapons we’ve seen Baltimore struggle in the past, and Spagnuolo has the tools to do it.