Through five weeks of the season, the Kansas City Chiefs were the best team in the NFL. They were 5-0, had beaten the Patriots (9-2) and Eagles (10-1), and were outscoring their opponents by an average of 32.8 to 22.2. The offense was, in a word, unstoppable.
Well, then it got stopped.
The Chiefs have suddenly lost five of six to fall to 6-5 on the season. They’ve gone from the AFC’s No. 1 seed to barely hanging on in a mediocre AFC West. Kansas City has averaged just 18.0 points per game over its last six games and has been held to 17 points or fewer in four of its five losses.
It’s been ugly.
What can the Chiefs do to get back to their winning ways?
“Well, I think first off, they got to get the run game going,” former Chiefs Pro-Bowl quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst Trent Green said on The DA Show. “Kareem Hunt, even though he’s still second in the league in rushing, it’s not because of recent games.”
Indeed, Hunt is second to Le’Veon Bell in rushing yards, with 890, but 609 of those yards (68.4 percent) came in the first five games.
“The offensive line has to play better,” Green said. “They need to create more running lanes. They’re getting to a point now where defenses are like, okay, as long as we can stop Tyreek Hill from getting that big dynamic play, the big touchdown play, let’s let Travis Kelce get his seven or eight catches, 100 yards – whatever it may be – but it’s not an Antonio Brown or Julio Jones kind of thing just because the speed’s not there. It’s different. So you’re focused on, okay, take away the big-play threat.”
Hill leads Chiefs receivers in receptions (54), targets (77), yards (726) and touchdowns (four). Kansas City’s next-best receiver? Albert Wilson, who has 20 catches for 257 yards and three scores.
“You got rid of (Jeremy) Maclin at the beginning of the year, and Chris Conley got hurt,” Green said. “Now you got Demarcus Robinson and Albert Wilson and you’re trying to piece together what the rest of the offense is going to be. They’ve had injuries on the interior part of the offensive line. We can go on and on about some of the issues.”
Alex Smith hasn’t been as sharp, either. Smith had 12 touchdowns (11 pass, one rush) and zero interceptions through five games. He has eight touchdowns and four interceptions over his last six.
“Alex isn’t playing as well,” Green said. “You start off 5-0 and Kareem Hunt is playing the way he is and Alex is throwing the ball downfield – after five weeks, I think he was the front-runner for the MVP. Even though Tom (Brady) was playing the way he was, the fact that Kansas City went in there and beat New England in the opener and Alex hadn’t thrown an interception in five games, it was his. And now all of a sudden, no running game, the pass protection has gotten worse, the down-the-field throws have gone away, now it’s more dink-and-dunk – they’ve got to get that fixed. They’ve got to get back on track. I think some of it is just confidence and attitude. Defensively, they need to create some turnovers. They haven’t been doing a lot of that lately, getting them field position. That was really the formula they had a year ago. So there’s a number of different areas they need to address.”
The Chiefs will face the Jets (4-7) at East Rutherford this weekend before three straight home games against the Raiders (5-6), Chargers (5-6), and Dolphins (4-7). Sunday’s kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. ET.