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Welcome to the NFL. Everything changes very quickly and on a week-to-week basis in this league. Less than a month ago, the Kansas City Chiefs were in the bottom of the AFC West and many speculated that they wouldn't make the playoffs in the ultra-competitive AFC. Now, Kansas City has won three straight games and sits atop its division.
Entering the season, the Kansas City Chiefs were co-favorites to win the Super Bowl. At time of writing, the Chiefs have the seventh-best odds to win the Super Bowl. Have the Chiefs done enough for us to buy back in at their current number?
Week 10 Chiefs looked back to normal
Entering their Week 10 showdown in Las Vegas, the Kansas City Chiefs were 2.5-point road favorites. For comparison's sake, the Chiefs were 8-point favorites on the road against the Raiders when the two teams met last season.
There's no denying the Chiefs have been downgraded significantly by the market over the past year, and especially the past two months. Fading the Chiefs against the spread has been absolute money for over a calendar year now.
Kansas City went into Vegas and dominated the Raiders, winning the game by a score of 41-14. The Chiefs offense looked like the Chiefs offense we're used to. Patrick Mahomes threw for over 400 yards and five touchdowns. Darrel Williams, filling in at running back, had over 140 yards from scrimmage. Travis Kelce posted eight receptions for 119 yards and Tyreek Hill added two touchdowns.
After winning the game, the Chiefs moved into first place in the AFC West. Kansas City is currently a -110 favorite to win the division.
We all knew what the Chiefs offense was capable of, but they had stagnated over the past few weeks. Kansas City had scored just 36 points over their past three games and it led many to question what was wrong with Patrick Mahomes.
Some might need to see more from the Chiefs offense before they believe again, but I never had serious worries about a Chiefs' offense with Mahomes and Andy Reid. It was a mini-funk highlighted by the fact they played some seriously good defenses. Tennessee just embarrassed MVP contender Matthew Stafford on a national stage. The Packers defense has faced Kyler Murray, Mahomes and Russell Wilson in three straight weeks and Mahomes was the only one to throw a touchdown pass.
Defensive resurgence feels similar to 2019
The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl in 2019. However, if you remember that season, the Chiefs defense struggled to begin the year but the offense helped overcome those deficiencies. Then the offense struggled, causing them to lose a few games. Then Patrick Mahomes missed a few games due to injury. In that time, the defense really stepped up.
I remember snatching an 11-to-1 ticket on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl in 2019. You can get a 10-to-1 ticket right now on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl this season.
In 2019, Patrick Mahomes returned to full health, the offense hit a groove, and the defense improved enough to a point where the Chiefs could go on a run and win the Super Bowl.
Kansas City's defense opened this season historically poorly. The Chiefs allowed 163 points in their first five games. In the five games since then, the Chiefs have allowed 78 points, which is less than half of what they allowed in the first five games.
Sure, you can say the quality of competition has gotten worse. Instead of the Bills, Ravens, Browns and Chargers in the first half, the Chiefs have faced Jordan Love, Daniel Jones, and Taylor Heinicke over the past five games. However, the Chiefs also allowed the Eagles to score 30 points in their meeting earlier in the year.
The offense kept the defense afloat in the first half of the season. Then the defense kept the offense afloat. On Sunday against the Raiders, both sides worked together in harmony for the first time. That was the recipe to win a Super Bowl in 2019.
Sunday will tell us a lot
There's a huge catch-22 in the sports betting industry. We often want to see something with our eyes before we act on it. However, once we see that something happen, the value is often gone.
Kansas City had an impressive performance against the Raiders and there's enough history to show us they can turn this around and be playing football in late January and February. However, was Sunday the real deal? It was just one game, after all.
The Chiefs host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11. The Chiefs are 2-point home favorites over Dallas. If Kansas City can beat a legitimate contender like Dallas, that will legitimatize the idea that Kansas City is a real contender for the Super Bowl.
If Patrick Mahomes can keep up with a Cowboys offense that scored 43 points despite only going full throttle for a half of the game against Atlanta, the concerns about Kansas City's offense will be gone. If the Chiefs defense can keep Dallas under control, their recent defensive performance will also be legitimatized.
However, if this happens, you probably won't be able to bet the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl at 10-to-1 afterwords. If Dallas wins the game and the Chiefs look like the early season Chiefs again, you probably won't feel great about holding a Chiefs Super Bowl ticket.
If you believe in the Chiefs, now is the time to buy low. That buy-low window will likely be over if they can handle the Cowboys next weekend.