Are the Chiefs better than they were last year?

Are the Chiefs better than they were last year?

The Kansas City Chiefs are currently tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers with an 11-1 record, only being the two seed in the AFC due to their one divisional loss versus the Las Vegas Raiders. To get to this point, the Chiefs have gone through some tough weeks, having to beat the Baltimore Ravens in week three, the Buffalo Bills in week six, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 12. This brings the question: are the Chiefs better this year than their super bowl winning selves just a year ago?

The answer is yes, the Chiefs are better than last year, and it shows with the stats the team has put up so far.

Let’s start with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is currently the odds on favorite to win league Most Valuable Player. Mahomes has 3,815 passing yards through the 12 games he’s played (roughly 318 yards per game) with a 68.3 completion percentage, and is on pace to hit over 4,500 at the end of the regular season. Along with his yards, Mahomes has 31 touchdowns (already more than his previous season) with only two interceptions.

Mahomes’ performance has also benefited his teammates. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill has 1,079 scrimmage yards through 74 repceptions and already has a career high 13 receiving touchdowns and counting. Tight end Tavis Kelce has 1,114 scrimmage yards with 82 receptions and eight touchdown receptions, and is on pace to break his career highs in those categories by the end of the season.

This increase hasn’t just gone to Hill and Kelce, as many players, both offense and defense, have seen an increase in their production as well. All of these stats are reminiscent of the 2018 Chiefs, when Mahomes won his first MVP. These increases beg the question: How has the team gone back to their old, dominating selves? The answer is the development of their run game.

In his first game with the Chiefs, rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire blew up the Houston Texans defense, running for 138 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in the debut. And while he hasn’t had a standout performance since his October 19 against the Bills, his offensive threat still looms over all defenses he plays against.

Plus, in addition to drafting the young Edwards-Helaire in the 2020 draft, in October, the Chiefs’ front office went ahead and picked up running back Le’veon Bell after he was released by the Jets two weeks before. Despite the fact that he hasn’t produced a 50+ yard game since he was released by his former team, the threat of one of the most dominant running backs of the 2010s with arguably the most efficient young quarterback in recent history is truly a scary thought.

Thanks to the development of their run game, the Chiefs were able to return to their old 2018 ways, which has proven to be beneficial to the athletes on the team. With this revival and the current momentum that the team has, the Chiefs are primed to be the first repeat champions of the NFL since the 2003-04 Patriots.