Dec 6, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Tyvon Branch (27) runs for a touchdown after an interception against the Oakland Raiders as cornerback Marcus Peters (22) and free safety Eric Berry (29) celebrate during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Some people may still be sleeping on Kansas City, but it’s time for those people to wake up. The Chiefs have won six straight games, including matchups with the Steelers, Broncos, Bills and Raiders.
And while the Bengals may have beaten the Chiefs earlier in the season, things are different.
Cincinnati held Kansas City to seven field goals in the Week 4 contest–which, at the time, was incredibly impressive. But in retrospect, the Chiefs scored on seven of their nine drives against the Bengals. While Cincinnati’s red zone defense held up in Week 4, it’s hard to envision the Bengals repeating the impressive feat of not giving up a touchdown in seven scoring drives.
It’s also hard to imagine the Bengals dropping 36 points on a defense that has vastly improved since the two teams met in Week 4. Since shutting out Justin Houston earlier this year, Bengals right tackle Andre Smith has suffered a concussion and struggled since returning. The reigning NFL sack champion could have a field day if Cincinnati’s right tackle is not on his ‘A’ game.
And despite losing Jamaal Charles, Kansas City’s offense has somehow improved. Jeremy Maclin has caught fire, Alex Smith hasn’t thrown an interception in over 300 passes and the duo of Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware has impressed in Charles’ absence.
The Bengals are still a better team than the Kansas City Chiefs, and playing in Paul Brown Stadium would give Cincinnati a nice advantage. That being said, Kansas City shouldn’t be overlooked, as it is peaking at the right time.
Next: 2. Houston Texans