With a victory over Miami, the Chiefs secured the division in back-to-back years. That means reserve QB Mahomes could start in next week’s game.
The Kansas City Chiefs quietly made history on Sunday with a victory over the Miami Dolphins. Andy Reid – who attended the post game news conference in full Santa attire – won back-to-back division titles for the first time in Chiefs’ franchise history. A feat that is somewhat surprising considering the Chiefs’ success over the years. With a 9-6 record after the 29-13 victory on Sunday, the Chiefs as of now would play the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs at Arrowhead.
Kareem Hunt contributed 91 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown. Alex Smith threw for 25 of 39 pass attempts and 304 yards and a touchdown pass. Marcus Peters continued his previous games’ success by forcing and recovering a fumble in Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. In the last two games Peters has contributed to five turnovers for Bob Sutton’s defense, who has seemingly got things under together after a rough mid season slump.
They can also afford to sit key players in next week’s game against the woeful Denver Broncos. Expect Alex Smith, Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt, Justin Houston, and Tyreek Hill to sit out at the very least. Fans will be eager to see rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes in his first NFL game. A brief glimpse of the future could be in store for Kansas City fans, but do not expect Mahomes to be at peak performance after sitting on the sideline for 95 percent of the season.
Even still, a rusty Mahomes still offers fans everything that Alex Smith does not – despite this year being one of Smith’s best seasons. The shorter, younger quarterback is much more elusive than Smith and his throw on the run ability can turn broken plays into big gain ones. And while Smith has pigeon holed into an average quarterback for his entire career, Mahomes status is more uncertain.
Chiefs’ owner Clark Hunt and recently hired general manager Brett Veach certainly hope that Mahomes will be the Chiefs’ version of Tom Brady: a consistent winner and leader that can lead Kansas City for the next decade or more. This fact transforms an otherwise unimportant week 16 game for the Chiefs. Sure, Andy Reid likely will bow out of the playoffs, if not in the first (at least the second) round like he has every other time in his career.
But let us not count Alex Smith out in next week’s game just yet. Andy Reid could very likely opt to maintain the rhythm and momentum of certain starters. The quarterback of any positions benefits greatly from getting live reps week in and week out, so sitting out a game could very well affect Smith’s playoff performance in regard to execution or preparation.
Mahomes or not, the Chiefs vs. Broncos game should an interesting division matchup despite the lack of playoff implications. Will Broncos executive vice president and GM John Elway elect to start his quarterback of the future, only to see another dismal game like most of the season? Perhaps the most important question for KC is if any of the Chiefs’ starters will get injured before the playoffs start.