Chiefs can earn their due

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs are 9-0, but they’ve been put on the defensive after they’ve struggled to finish off a sub.-500 opponent for three consecutive weeks. The latest episode came Sunday in Buffalo, where Chiefs were outgained by more than two to one in total yards and needed two defensive touchdowns to beat the 3-6 Bills.

They've been bombarded with claims they're more lucky than good and the record is a product of a weak schedule that so far has featured one team that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.

It’s touching a nerve in some corners of their locker room, including the one inhabited by quarterback Alex Smith.

“Are you going to win a ton of games kicking three field goals offensively? No,’’ Smith said. “At the same time we’re not going to apologize for any wins. It was a big win on the road. It’s tough sometimes, tough conditions, the week before a bye, a lot of things there that could be distracting and this team found a way to get a win.

“I feel like, what are we even talking about? There’s a system in place in the NFL to find out who’s the best. There’s a 16-game season and there’s the playoffs. To be speculating right now, nine games in, of who’s the best and who’s not, it’s just talk. They don’t give any trophies out after nine weeks. We understand that.

“Everybody understands that you’re trying to win games to position yourself to be in a good situation late in the year. The goal is as well to continue to improve each week so when that time comes, you’re playing your best football.’’

Smith is right. The Chiefs have done what’s been asked of them. They haven’t been perfect but they’ve done enough to keep their record clean more than halfway into the season.

He’s also right in that the Chiefs will need to make some dramatic improvement, particularly on offense, because their schedule becomes more difficult for the season’s final seven games.

Something will give over those seven games, beginning with the Nov. 17 meeting with the Broncos in Denver. Either the Chiefs will play well and their detractors will be forced to give them their due or the Chiefs will collapse and those who are claiming the Chiefs are lucky and their record is the product of a weak schedule will be proved correct.