The Kansas City Chiefs may be headed toward the playoffs in the AFC, but they are coming off a surprising loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday, with ESPN analyst Shannon Sharpe now thinking the Chiefs could go “one and done” once they get to the postseason.
Following a 20-14 loss to their AFC West rivals on Christmas Day that dropped their record to 9-6, the Chiefs still have not yet clinched their division or wrapped up a playoff berth heading into Week 17 of the NFL season. This far into the campaign, they continue to struggle to look anything like the team that won the Super Bowl last season.
“Bro, we in Week 16, and you still talkin’ about consistency,” Sharpe said. “… Maybe I give you that in Week 4, Week 5, Week 8. Brah, we two weeks from the end of the season, and we’re talkin’ about consistency.”
Nowhere are the woes more noticeable than in the play of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who hasn’t been able to succeed as much with his current collection of wide receivers and playing behind an offensive line that is well below the standards he is used to.
The two-time NFL MVP has 3,938 passing yards with 26 touchdown passes but a career-high 14 interceptions this season. His touchdown percentage and passing success rate are both considerably low for his standards.
“He hasn’t played well by his standards,” Sharpe said of Mahomes. “And he’s starting to take unnecessary risks with the football, which farther puts them in harm’s way. … Sometimes, the Chiefs get too cute for themselves. You already look good. Why do you need to add all this makeup? Because you’re tryin’ to hide flaws that you know you have that you don’t think other people can see. They can see your offensive line isn’t very good. They can see your receiving core isn’t very good.”
With the production of star tight end Travis Kelce also down a tick, the Chiefs offense is much lower in the NFL rankings than it has been in recent seasons. Kansas City is ninth in total yards per game and tied for 11th in points scored per game after leading the league in both categories last season.
“The offensive line play has been porous all year,” Sharpe said. “The receiver play has been porous all year. And then it’s compounded by Patrick Mahomes not bein’ the Patrick Mahomes that we’re used to seeing. You get a recipe for one and done.”
The Chiefs currently lead the AFC West and hold the No. 3 seed in the conference’s playoff race. However, they are eliminated from possibly being the No. 1 seed.
That means Mahomes may have to eventually play a road playoff game for the first time in his NFL career after the Chiefs were the hosts for the past five AFC title games. They won three of those and two Super Bowls at neutral sites in that time.
The Chiefs do have two weeks to turn things around and head into the playoffs with some momentum. But Sharpe is likely not the only NFL observer who has serious doubts that they will do so and get back to the Super Bowl again.