The 2-3 Kansas City Chiefs at the bye

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It’s coachspeak after a narrow loss to talk about how close a team is to becoming a good one. Andy Reid talked in the moments after last Sunday’s 22-17 loss in San Francisco about how the Kansas City Chiefs are right on the verge.

Coaches will say that whether they truly believe it or not. So it wasn’t just what Reid said following the loss to the 49ers but how he said it, with grit and determination, that led me to believe Reid does, in fact, think the Chiefs are right there, despite a 2-3 record.

I’m inclined to agree. The Chiefs have their flaws, but so does every opponent they will face over the final 11 games.

But the Chiefs will have to be very good indeed to climb from the hole they’ve made for themselves. In losing to the Tennessee Titans, who have been a wretched mess in all but one of their games this season, the Chiefs lost their margin of error. They have to be on point every week from here on out, beginning with their next game Oct. 19 against the Chargers in San Diego.

The Chiefs still have four games remaining against three of the best teams in the NFL: the Chargers, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. Three of those games will be played at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs will need to find a way to split those four contests if they want to make the playoffs for the second straight season.

The Chiefs will also need to sweep their season series against the Oakland Raiders and beat a couple other bottom feeders, the St. Louis Rams and New York Jets, at Arrowhead. Then the Chiefs will probably need to win two from the remaining road games, against the Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers.

That’s an ambitious undertaking but one that’s not out of the Chiefs’ reach. They took both the Broncos and 49ers to the wire on the road and were clearly the better team in victories against the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.

The Chiefs are capable of beating some of the league’s better teams, so seven or eight wins among the final 11 games isn’t out of the question. But since the Chiefs also lost at home to the Titans, they certainly can’t take any of those victories for granted no matter the quality of the opponent or where the game is played.