Analyzing the Kansas City Chiefs

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January 2021

The defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs have been unstoppable this season with a 10–1 record, but how do they match up to their title team last year and the analytics of other teams that have been champions in back to back years?

Through eleven games, Patrick Mahomes had thirty touchdown passes and two interceptions. Last year, Patrick Mahomes had twenty-one touchdowns and three interceptions through his first eleven games (ignoring his two game absence due to a dislocated right knee cap). Through eleven games last season the Chiefs were 7–4, but this season they are at an impressive 10–1 with their only loss to AFC West rival the Las Vegas Raiders. This year, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are second and third in receiving yards and are on pace to break the record for most receiving yards
by two teammates in a season, which was set by Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce with 3,106 yards for the Rams. Interestingly, the Rams did win the Superbowl that year as well. Last year the Chiefs ranked sixth in yards per game (YPG) and now they rank first.

With their offense nearly unstoppable, the Chiefs’ only threat in the AFC are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are off to an impressive 11–0 start. The Steelers rank first in team defense this season, making them a considerable threat to the Chiefs’ high powered offense, but the top scoring team has won four of the last five games against the top defense after week ten since 2006. Although they will not face each other in the regular season, if they do face each other in the playoffs, historically the Chiefs are favored. If the Chiefs manage to advance to the Super Bowl and play either the Saints or Rams, who are second and third in team defense respectively, then the Chiefs may be in trouble. Defenses have won seven of the last eight matchups of a top-ranked defense vs. a top-ranked offense in the Super Bowl, and although the Rams and Saints are not number one their defenses have consistently performed during the Super Bowl. According to ESPN, the New Orleans Saints have the best chance of winning the NFC and the Los Angeles Rams have the 6th best chance of making it to the Superbowl. If the Chiefs can avoid one of these defensive powerhouses, then the numbers project Kansas City celebrating their second Super Bowl in 2 years.