Originally written on Pro Football Spot  |  Last updated 11/19/14
It's time to adjust our expectations for this season.I've been holding back a little. I've been hurt before. Every time I've allowed myself to believe we could be more than a playoff team (OK, that hasn't really happened in a decade, but still), I found my hopes smashed into a thousand pieces by the Bills, The Kicker Who Shall Not Be Named, or Peyton Manning (I hate you Peyton Manning. Know that).So I adapted. I lowered expectations. I became more cautious as a fan. I have refused, since 2003, to even consider the possibility that Chiefs could be...(pauses, looks around. Leans in and whispers)Super Bowl contenders.All right, it's out there. I said it. Now I suppose I need to back up that assertion? Fine. But first, a caveat... I am well aware that our offense has struggled. I find it concerning. I do believe that having Anthony Fasano back will help to an extent, but our offense needs to get better. That said, I genuinely don't believe we'll need anything beyond a decent offense to contend THIS YEAR.Coming into the season, all I was hoping for was the playoffs. I figured 10-6 would be a massive upgrade on the absolute travesty we witnessed last season. We can't expect too much, too soon. Right?What I didn't expect is that our defense wouldn't just improve to "good," but that it would improve to "fire-breathing monster set to devour all in its path."Our defense is really, really, really good. I mean REALLY good. But I should address a commonly heard argument against our defense being truly elite. For full effect, imagine a Broncos fan wearing a Manning jersey saying this to you..."Yeah right, your defense is just beating up on bad offenses. Get back to me when you play someone!"This is by far the most common argument I've heard. Fortunately, it has absolutely no basis in reality whatsoever.Here are the 6 opponents the Chiefs defense has gone up against: Jaguars, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Titans, Raiders. Here is what each team scored against us, with their average points per game (MINUS their game against us) appearing next to that amount as "vs. RONFL" ("Rest Of NFL." Making up acronyms is fun!)Jaguars vs. Chiefs: 2 pointsJaguars vs RONFL: 13.6 PPGCowboys vs. Chiefs: 16 pointsCowboys vs. RONFL: 33.4 PPGEagles vs. Chiefs: 16 pointsEagles vs. RONFL: 30 PPGGiants vs. Chiefs: 7 pointsGiants vs. RONFL: 19.2 PPGTitans vs. Chiefs: 17 pointsTitans vs. RONFL: 22.2 PPGRaiders vs. Chiefs: 7Raiders vs. RONFL: 19.6 PPGWith one exception (the Titans), every single team our defense has played has scored at least 11 points fewer than it is averaging against other opponents. We've faced 2 offenses that are ranked in the top five scoring offenses in the NFL, and neither could even reach 20 points.The whole "the Chiefs haven't played anyone" argument is weak, lazy analysis that isn't even kind of true, at least when it comes to opposing offenses. We've played two of the heaviest hitters in the league and held them in check. Further, we've held every offense we've played well below its normal output.Which moves me to my main point (which, stunningly, has taken me a thousand words to get to); our defense isn't just good. It's not even "just" great. It is an elite defense. I could make a billion statistical arguments to that point (but then what fun stats would I Tweet about?????), but instead, I've got another way of thinking about it; ask yourself, "what is our defense bad at?"Go ahead. I'll wait. What is a weak spot on our defense?Still thinking? I can't blame you. Because I was asked that exact same question today by a friend of mine. The thing is... I didn't have much to say.Seriously, look at this lineupDL- Dontari Poe, Tyson Jackson, Mike DeVitoLB's- Justin Houston, Akeem Jordan, Derrick Johnson, Tamba HaliCB's- Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith, Marcus Cooper (including a nickel CB is just how it goes in today's NFL)Safeties- Eric Berry, Kendrick LewisIs there a weakness there? You've got 6 players who are playing at an elite level (Poe, Houston, DJ, Hali, Smith, Berry). You've got 3 players that are playing excellent football (Tjax, Flowers, Cooper, Jordan).That leaves you with DeVito (who has been good, but not great), and Kendrick Lewis (ditto).In other words, we're elite all over the field, very good in multiple spots, and... Average in a couple spots. That's as "bad" as it gets on the Chiefs defense. Average. There is no "weak link" out there.Even when you go to our depth (Quintin Demps, Husain Abdullah, Allen Bailey), you've got players who are playing solid football. The one exception has been Dunta Robinson, who has had a couple of rough outings but played quite well when injury forced him onto the field against Oakland.So again, when you look across our entire defense, you find elite player after elite player and no genuine weak spots. THAT is the mark of a great defense, and a defense good enough to win you a Super Bowl.You're someone who needs at least one statistic, you say? Fine. Per ProFootballFocus, the Chiefs have a combined 175 sacks, QB hits, QB pressures, and batted passes. The vaunted Seahawks defense that everyone fears? They have 129. We're that much better than the next best defense in the league when it comes to affecting the quarterback. It's not even close.People keep talking about the 2011 49ers when discussing the Chiefs, but with the way our defense is playing I'm not sure if we're aiming high enough. Time to look back a little further, to 2000 (Ravens) and 2003 (Buccaneers). Those are the defenses we need to look to. Those defenses carried mediocre offenses to a Super Bowl. As things stand right now, our defense might need to do the same.Is our defense good enough? If you would've asked me that a few weeks ago I would've said no. Now? I'm starting to believe it.Seth Keysor is NFL Website Coordinator for PFS as well as a Chiefs Team Journalist. He also writes for Arrowhead Pride under the guise of MNchiefsfan. Follow him @RealMNchiefsfan
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