If you’re trying to find a team in the AFC that can beat the Patriots (14-2) in Foxboro, odds are you’re going to pick the Steelers (11-5) – and for good reason. After all, the Steelers have won seven straight games, and Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell might be the best Big Three in football.
But don’t sleep on the Kansas City Chiefs (12-4).
“There’s no doubt Pittsburgh would be first in terms of a team that could go in there and potentially steal a win – even though I think their secondary is vulnerable,” CBS NFL analyst Solomon Wilcots said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I think Tom Brady can find weak spots in any secondary and he’s going to make you pay. The other team – don’t sleep on them – is the Kansas City Chiefs. I know people don’t get excited about the Chiefs because there’s nothing sexy about them when Alex Smith is dinking and dunking his way down the field. They don’t really have that great 1,000-yard back with Jamaal Charles out. People kind of sleep on this team, but go look over the last two seasons: No one has won more than the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Indeed, since Week 7 of the 2015 season, the Chiefs are 22-4 in the regular season. The Patriots, who beat the Chiefs 27-20 in the divisional playoffs last year, are 21-6.
“Andy Reid does a good job of coaching, does a good job of keeping his team in games, and if you look across the board, they rank very high in the critical areas that matter,” Wilcots said. “They don’t turn it over, yet they get a lot of takeaways. They keep the score down, yet they don’t have a lot of penalties. They’re one of the least-penalized teams in the NFL. They just seem to have a knack. They have a cornerback in Marcus Peters that can match up with your best guy. They have pass rush ability now that (Justin) Houston is back. They can make a lot of plays in so many critical areas.”
That includes the passing game. Rookie Tyreke Hill is one of the most explosive players in the league. The fifth-rounder out of West Alabama has 593 receiving yards (9.7 yards per catch), 267 rushing yards (11.1 yards per rush) and nine touchdowns (six receiving, three rushing). Travis Kelce, meanwhile, finished first and second, respectively, among tight ends in yards (1,128) and catches (85).
“I love Tyreke Hill and the spare part that he gives them,” Wilcots said, “and is there any better tight end better right now than Travis Kelce in the National Football League? I call him the second coming of Gronk. He’s a little more athletic. Not as physical as Gronk, but I don’t know that there’s a tight end right now who’s playing better than Travis Kelce.”
Kansas City, which won the AFC West, has a bye this week. The Chiefs are 10-2 over their last 12 games with both losses coming at home to Tampa Bay and Tennessee by a score of 19-17.