Red Zone

Chiefs Blitz: Q&A about Sunday's 29-13 win over the Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs free safety Eric Berry (left), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (middle) and strong safety Ron Parker tackled Denver Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer in the first quarter of Sunday’s game.
Kansas City Chiefs free safety Eric Berry (left), outside linebacker Tamba Hali (middle) and strong safety Ron Parker tackled Denver Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer in the first quarter of Sunday’s game. deulitt@kcstar.com

In this week’s Blitz, The Star’s Terez Paylor answers five postgame Twitter questions from Chiefs fans.

1. Where does this team go OL wise? Is this the five they wanna stick with? -@H2Poe

The offensive line was the same for the second straight week, with left tackle Eric Fisher, left guard Jeff Allen, center Mitch Morse, right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right tackle Jah Reid. This is a group that has played with some much-needed attitude the last few weeks, so I suspect Andy Reid will keep this group together as long as they’re winning. He is not afraid to switch things up, but he’s shown a predilection toward riding the hot hand.

2. What does the offense need to do to score in the red zone? We can’t keep settling for field goals. -@RCJHawkaholic

That’s a big question, one that’s tough to answer in this space. But when the field shrinks, it takes a combination of smart playcalling and good quarterback play to get the ball in the end zone. Teams are hip to Reid’s tendency to throw horizontal, but there are also times where Alex Smith misses throws. One other way to combat this is by having a dominating running game, but the Chiefs aren’t there yet.

3. Glad to get a win, but the Broncos also stunk. Does this win tell us anything about the Chiefs? -@CaveatActor

Absolutely. This tells me this is a team that’s mentally tough. Do you how easy it is for an NFL team to go into the tank at 1-5? Give credit the staff and players; they never did that. Now they’re 4-5 and right back in the wild-card mix. This win, specifically, tells us that that week-two loss against Denver probably wouldn’t have happened if the Chiefs didn’t turn the ball over five times. In short, the Chiefs are probably better than their record.

4. Long shot for the Chiefs to make the playoffs this year, but what is the future of this division with Manning gone? -@tommyhilboldt

The playoffs are still a possibility. Since 1990, 16 teams have gone on to reach the playoffs after a 4-5 start. But when Manning is out of the fold, the Chiefs should battle with the Raiders for AFC West supremacy. Oakland has been a laughingstock for a long time, but general manager Reggie McKenzie and his staff have done an excellent job acquiring some young talent. The Raiders are already a problem, and they will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

5. With a somewhat easier schedule for the last seven games, how many more wins do you see the Chiefs getting? -@PeterNicklin

The Chiefs’ next five opponents have a combined record of 15-31. That’s pretty darned promising. Both games against Oakland will be tough, though, and the home game against Buffalo is no gimme. However, the Chargers, Browns and Ravens are a combined 6-22. Assuming the Chiefs split with the Raiders, defend their home field against Buffalo and go 3-1 against the three sad-sacks on their schedule, that puts them in position to go 9-7. But at worst, you’re still looking probably at 7-9 or 8-8, which is a heck of a lot better than a lot of people thought the Chiefs would be after their 1-5 start.

The number

88 — This is Andy Reid’s winning percentage after the bye week during his 17 years as a head coach. He’s now 15-2.

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