The Kansas City Chiefs started the season 1-0, but dropped their next five games. Despite a 1-5 record and losing Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs have done a complete 180.
The Chiefs were the worst team in the league after Week 6 and would have owned the No. 1 overall draft pick had the season ended at the time. Now, the Chiefs own the No. 5 seed in the AFC.
Kansas City has won six straight games, improving to 7-5 and has not lost since October 18. But the Chiefs are doing more than just winning—they’re leaving a mark and have become one of the hottest teams in the NFL.
Here are eight things you need to know about the Chiefs’ during their turnaround.
- Alex Smith has not thrown an interception in nine games
Alex Smith isn’t known for long-range passes, though he has showcased that recently. The most impressive part about Smith during Kansas City’s shift is his 305 consecutive passes without a pick.
Smith, who has just three interceptions this season, needs four passes to pass Bernie Kosar and 54 passes to surpass Tom Brady to shatter the NFL record for most consecutive passes without an interception.
The biggest thing coaches can ask from their quarterbacks is to take care of the football, which Alex Smith has done a great job of, and is a big reason why the Chiefs currently hold a wild-card spot.
- Three different Chiefs have rushed for 100+ yards in a game this year
Losing Jamaal Charles was a big blow. At 1-5, there was little optimism after the Chiefs lost their biggest weapon.
But Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware have both stepped up in Charles’ absence.
During Kansas City’s current six-game winning streak, West has rushed for 520 yards and four touchdowns. With West dealing with a hamstring injury last week, Ware has managed to muster 265 yards and four touchdowns while getting more playing time lately.
Now, the Chiefs are using both running backs to help the offense.
- The Chiefs handed Pittsburgh, Detroit, Denver and San Diego their worst losses of the season
Not only are the Chiefs winning, but they’re also winning big and dominating their opponents.
The Chiefs gave the Steelers, Lions, Broncos and Chargers, the first four teams the Chiefs beat during their six-game winning streak, their worst losses of the season in terms of point differential.
The Chiefs beat the Steelers by 10, the Lions by 35, the Broncos by 16 and the Chargers by 30.
- Chiefs have won four key games with wild-card implications
The Chiefs, Jets and Steelers all own a 7-5 record as the Bills and Texans stand at 6-6. Let’s not forget about the Raiders, who aren’t too far behind with a 5-6 record.
Kansas City was victorious against Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Houston and Oakland, giving it the edge over those four games in case they finish with the same record. Even though the Chiefs haven’t played the Jets, they will be seeded above them in tiebreaker situations due to conference record and record against common opponents.
The Chiefs are showing why conference games are crucial, as it has helped them propel to a 7-5 record and as they have a solid lead in the wild-card standings.
With only four games remaining in the season, the Chiefs find themselves in a comfortable position.
- Chiefs held Bills and Raiders to six points in second half
During Kansas City’s six-game winning streak, the Bills and Raiders challenged the Chiefs, giving them their two toughest matches during this stretch. But Andy Reid and the rest of the coaching staff deserve credit for making necessary adjustments at halftime, and the evidence is clear.
The Chiefs held both the Bills and Raiders to six points in both contests, cruising their way to victory in each of those games to extend their winning streak.
- Chiefs have 17 takeaways during winning streak
In addition to Smith not turning the ball over, the defense is making an impact, boasting a plus 15-turnover ratio in the last six games.
The Chiefs average 2.8 turnovers per game since going on a winning surge.
Kansas City currently leads the AFC in interceptions with 17 and tie first in the AFC with Denver and New York for total takeaways with 23. The team’s plus-13 turnover differential is the second best in the league to Carolina’s plus-14.
- Chiefs are not allowing opposing teams to score
Though Kansas City has won six straight matches, the defense has played at a high level for eight consecutive games.
After surrendering an average of 31.3 points a game in the first four weeks, the Chiefs have allowed just 14.4 points per game in the last eight games.
The defense is another key reason why the Chiefs have turned their season around, by limiting teams in scoring and snagging footballs. The offense has taken full advantage of the opportunities the defense has provided, making them a tough and balanced football team.
- Chiefs remaining schedule is fairly easy
Coming off a bye week, the Chiefs had only two teams on their schedule that possessed a record above .500 in the Broncos and Bills. The Chiefs defeated both of those teams and now face a manageable schedule to finish the regular season.
The Chiefs will play host to the Chargers (3-9) this week, then visit the Ravens (4-8) for their final regular season road game. The Chiefs finish the last two games at Arrowhead Stadium with the Browns (2-10) and the Raiders (5-7) visiting.
Kansas City looks to continue its impressive streak and has a great chance to continue the trend. If it locks up a No. 5 seed going into Week 17, we may see 22 backups start against the Raiders, very similar to what Reid did in the final game of the 2013 season.