Some people just blow my minds with their ignorance, stupidity, or laziness. Trent Dilfer, you’ve managed to once again personify what makes the “Worldwide leader” a joke so often.
Seriously, you’re doubting the Falcons because you compare them to the 2003 Kansas City Chiefs? If you want to doubt them, fine. But at least try to find something factual, relevant, and accurate to base your belief on.
Sure, the Chiefs had a great regular season and got beat in the first round. But you know what? A lot of teams have done that in NFL history. So let’s compare the Falcons to all of them. Or, better yet, let’s compare the Falcons to all the teams who had good regular season and who went on to have deep January playoff runs. The Falcons could compare to all such teams, as your criteria for comparison is pretty much that they were football teams who won a lot of regular season games.
The Chiefs had an abysmal defense that year. And I don’t mean just a merely mediocre defense, but absolutely horrible. They were the 25th best defense of the year, however, they had the next to last ranked run defense in 2003. It was atrocious.
In general, teams that make deep playoff runs play good run defense. You can escape shoddy pass defense, but if you can’t stop the run, you generally don’t stand a chance of playing late into January. If you can, you can mask other defensive deficiencies, especially if you have a good offense that doesn’t turn the ball over.
So heading into the 2003 season playoffs, the Chiefs biggest weakness was a HUGE weakness. Red flags were up everywhere.
Beyond just the huge red flag of an absolutely worthless run defense, Kansas City had not exactly come into the post-season on a high note. They started the year 9-0, but finished it 4-3. The Chiefs spent the 2003 season losing 3 of their last 4 road games, including the last two by 18 points and 25 points.
A sign of a team ready to compete in January is a team that can win on the road. Winning on the road consistently, against anyone, is the sign of a contending team. The Chiefs were not only not winning on the road, in their final two outings they weren’t even competitive.
They allowed 159 or more rushing yards in 5 of their last 7 games, including three games of allowing 200 yards on the ground.
So the thought of the Chiefs losing their first playoff game should not have been unheard of, or thought to be crazy. It especially should have been deemed less insane if this defensively challenged team were to face someone with an offense equally as explosive as theirs, like, say, the Colts.
The result, a game with no punts that the Chiefs lost. If their lousy defense can get one stop somewhere along the way, they win the game. However, when your defense was as lousy as theirs, playing an offense like the Colts, it’s not shocking.
Now compare that team to the Falcons.
That Atlanta defense, overall, has been rather medicore, ranking 16th. However, in terms of points allowed, they’ve allowed the 7th fewest. But more importantly, their run defense has been a top ten unit. Atlanta can, and often does, stop the run. The Chiefs couldn’t have contained this year’s Packers running game.
Atlanta has also closed out the year winning 8 straight games, and it would take a collapse of epic proportions to not wind up winning 9 of their last 10.
They’ve also gone 6-2 on the road this year, losing in overtime to a pretty dadgum good Steelers team, and a loss in Philadelphia. They’ve endured a stretch of four road games in five weeks, and simply won all five games, by an average of 12 points.
So yeah, these two teams are just mirror images of each other. Nice call Trent. Just laziness from an “analyst” who wanted to find something controversial to say, and find some way to back it up. Perhaps he and Skip Bayless should do lunch.