What a difference a few weeks make.
After an 0-3 start, many people believed the Kansas City Chiefs could lose 16 games and would be a serious contender for the first pick in the NFL draft.
But, all of the sudden they have won four straight games, including wins against division opponents the Raiders and Chargers, and are now tied with those two teams atop the AFC West standings.
So, is this team for real or is all of this a fluke?
While this team is playing better, to say that this team can make noise in the postseason is a stretch. They have three conference games left, two of which are against a 2-5 Denver Broncos squad. Because the AFC West is such a mediocre division, the Chiefs not only can, but should, earn themselves a spot in the playoffs.
However, Matt Cassel and co. will have trouble going much farther. Without Jamaal Charles, even a playoff spot would be a monster success. Winning a playoff game would be simply astounding.
Looking ahead at the Chiefs schedule, it is hard to see them finishing much better than 9-7. Look at the Chiefs schedule still to play.
|14||@New York Jets||4-3|
They should beat Miami and Denver twice. They will have a good chance to beat Oakland again. If they can win one other game, they'd finish 9-7 and likely get the fourth playoff spot.
However, the fourth playoff spot would pit them against a strong opponent in the wild card round, currently they would play the New England Patriots, and could lead to an early exit.
In the end, Todd Haley's Chiefs leave mixed feelings. The team is steadily improving but there are so many holes both on the defense and in the backfield leaving it nearly impossible to declare the team serious contenders.
However, earning a playoff spot without their star player in Charles, up-and-coming safety Eric Berry or tight end Tony Moeaki would be a huge success. Their success with three key players out for the season, the emergence of rookie, wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, may not lead to big things this season, but this team is getting ready for one hell of a future.