Entering the 2017 NFL season, the teams seen as the favorites were the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Seahawks. While all those teams are clearly in the mix and can make noise late in the season and postseason, the Kansas City Chiefs have become the front-runners.
The Chiefs have been solid under head coach Andy Reid, going 42-21 over the four seasons, but just 1-3 in the postseason. This year, the Chiefs have gone 5-0 with a high powered offense and timely defense.
They opened with a surprising and dominating win in New England, 42-27. After narrowly escaping the Eagles in week two, 27-20, the Chiefs comfortably handled the Chargers in Los Angeles. A nine-point win over the Redskins and this week’s 42-34 win over the Texans complete the five-game streak.
Veteran quarterback Alex Smith has been nearly flawless, completing an astonishing 76.6 percent of his passes for 1391, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. Tight end Travis Kelce has been his favorite target, connecting 37 times for 353 yards and two touchdowns. Speedster Tyreek Hill has hauled in 34 for 356 and two touchdowns. Running back Kareem Hunt is shredding defenses with a 6.3 average per attempt, rushing for 609 yards and four touchdowns.
The defense has been average at best against the run, allowing 4.6 yards per attempt, but the pass defense has been stellar. Opponents have completed just 51.4 percent of their passes, in large part to a strong pass rush led by Justin Houston (5.5 sacks) and Chris Jones (3.5 sacks)
The special teams have been strong as well with Dustin Colquitt averaging 44.2 yards per punt. Harrison Butker has connected on eight-of-nine field goals and the return and cover units have been solid.
The Chiefs enter their toughest stretch of the season playing Pittsburgh, Denver, Oakland and Dallas the next four weeks. Even if they get through that only 2-2, the Chiefs are in excellent position to maintain control of the AFC and get home field advantage in the playoffs.