Now they only need two wins to reach the Super Bowl. With that it's time every player and every coach look inside for the answers to get this team back on track.
Kansas City now has a chance to regroup and rededicate themselves to improving their attitudes since they've been given a huge reprieve. After the Broncos loss, the Chiefs lost any chance of securing the #1 seed in the playoffs. The Patriots had a soft schedule down the stretch and the chances they will lose at home to Buffalo are slim to none on Satruday. But if the Patriots lose on Saturday against Buffalo and the Chiefs win, Kansas City would then get home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Regardless of their seed, Kansa City will have three weeks before their first playoff game which will either be against, Tennessee, Baltimore, Indianapolis or Cincinnati. They can't play the Broncos until the AFC Championship game that is if they make it that far.
So the Chiefs upcoming game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday could mean absolutely nothing unless the Patriots lose on Saturday at home to the hapless Buffalo Bills. In the event that unlikely scenario happens, then the Chiefs can still claim the #1 seed in the playoffs and the Bears game has true meaning. If the Patriots win, then the Chiefs need to treat Sundays game as an exhibition contest and they should not play anyone who is the least bit banged up or injured. Let the reserves and back-ups play to gain some experience and save the starters.
Players like Shawn Barber, Mike Maslowski, Monty Beisel and Marc Boerigter to name a few need the rest. The Chiefs have nothing left to accomplish. They'll gain very little from a good showing on offense or defense against the Bears on Sunday. If the Chiefs are going to improve it won't be on the field. First they need to improve inside. They need to show some heart, use the three weeks to work hard and come out in the playoffs with an attitude of a champion.
After all, they are AFC West Champions. They had one of the top two records in the AFC and they were one of the best teams in the NFL in 2003. What they do with those accolades is up to them.
It's been well documented that defensive line mates Ryan Sims and Eric Hicks spent a considerable amount of time in the Chiefs post game locker room yelling at each other. That showed that the team is divided and not unified. That's correctable. Maybe they wanted to make a strong point to the coaching staff.
Obviously the Chiefs have some talented defensive players. But the coaches are not using them or putting them into positions to take advantage of their strengths. A point of contention for Hicks is the fact that too many times in obvious passing situations defensive lineman are asked to drop back in pass coverage instead of going after the quarterback. That's a mistake.
The Cornerbacks are asked to play ten or twenty yards off receivers on those same passing downs. The linebackers are asked to do too much. They are told by the coaches to read and react instead of using their speed and talent to go after the running back or quarterback. If you play on your heels, you can't be aggressive and this team has to be aggressive on defense to make plays.
But still each defensive player has to ask themselves if they're giving 110% on every play. That didn't happen on Saturday as some of the players simply quit. The defense was not the only culprit. The offense and special teams had little success. Those players need to question their heart as well.
On offense, the Chiefs need to ride the legs of Priest Holmes. They need to establish themselves as a running team. Once they do that, then Trent Green can use the other weapons. But Holmes is a scoring machine and they need to use him more often. There is no sense saving him now. The Chiefs need to play the same game as the New England Patriots. Pound the ball, dink and dunk and use some deception to gain bigger yards.
Special teams need to play better. Dante Hall is a victim of his own success. But he's also a victim of not doing the things that led him to four consecutive touchdowns in four games. He's simply not running behind his blockers nor is he separating himself from the pursuit. Teams are no longer afraid of punting or kicking to Hall and that's a huge disadvantage to the Chiefs.
But the biggest adjustment has to be within the coaching staff. It's painfully obvious that Dick Vermeil has a problem with his players and some of his coaches. This is nothing unusual but the verbal outburst in the locker room says a lot about the teams total frustration and it also confirms some of the rumors about discontent with the defensive coaching staff.
Vermeil has to take this seriously and he needs to regain control of the team. He's allowed the dissention and his loyalty to his coaching staff might be something so fractured that his players can't overcome their frustrations. But Vermeil is the head coach and he has to stop the madness and if necessary reassign some of the coaching duties and be more active on the sidelines calling plays.
It's really that simple. He has to stop the madness on the field and in the locker room and insist his best players are in a position to make plays on defense, offense and special teams. He has little choice and if he steps on any of his coaches or players than that's too bad.
Look at what Bill Parcells did in Dallas two weeks ago. He called his players dumb, stupid and even referred to some of them as babies. He challenged them and they've responded by winning their last two games to make the playoffs.
The Chiefs simply need to win just two games to get to the Super Bowl. They still control the ‘Main Thing.' That's winning the Super Bowl. Getting to the big game on February 1st is much easier when you have to play two games instead of three.
But if the Chiefs are going to get to Houston, then Vermeil has to lead them. The players need to do their part and that's to play football and start making plays on the field.
There is too much talent on this team to be underachieving this time of year. There is not a team in the AFC post season that is not flawed in some way. Each of the six teams that will qualify has a weakness. The Chiefs have the talent to exploit each of their opponents' weakness.
But the question they face is if they have the desire to do it. Vermeil hopes they do and with his leadership an AFC Championship and/or a Super Bowl game could still involve the Kansas City Chiefs.