Will the Kansas City Chiefs Pay the Price for Resting Their Big Guns before the Playoffs?

Published 01/05/2021, 5:28 AM EST
Jan 3, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (left) and quarterback Matt Moore (middle) and quarterback Chad Henne (4) look on from the Chiefs bench during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports


The battle for the AFC top seed ended when Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo missed a game-tying field goal against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16. The 17-14 win was enough for the Chiefs to book the conference’s top seed with a game in hand.

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In the ensuing week, the Chiefs decided to rest a number of their regular starters. Including the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire to name a few.

Why shouldn’t they, right? The all-important top seed is confirmed, thus making the Week 17 tie against the LA Chargers a dead rubber tie.

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But many feel the implications of benching their key starters could have wide-reaching effects. More importantly so, it could potentially wreck their playoff dreams.

Heading into Playoffs with no game time in nearly 3 weeks

The decision to bench the starters means that when the players take to the Arrowhead Stadium next for the Divisional Round, they will have been without any game time for nearly 3 weeks.

A long break without any competitive football; of course, the players will continue to train with the squad, but match sharpness is key heading into the Playoffs. A lot of the Chiefs might be devoid of it when a solid contender comes knocking at their door.

Nov 29, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) and tight end Travis Kelce (87) his touchdown scored against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Another key aspect to note here is that the Chiefs may lose out on some much-needed momentum. The Chiefs with Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce in full flow have been a force to reckon with; however, not playing competitive football for more than half a month, can take out some sting from the otherwise dominant side.

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Could the Kansas City Chiefs be victims of history repeating itself?

The Kansas Chiefs are in a spot that very few teams have been in before. Sealing the top seed is no small task, let alone with a game in hand.

But the Baltimore Ravens were in the same spot back in 2019-20. Lamar Jackson’s side managed to clinch the AFC’s top seed with a game in hand.

Oct 18, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) rolls out of the pocket against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

They took the same route that the Chiefs opted for. They rested Lamar and several key players for their Week 17 tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even with Lamar and several others on the bench, the Ravens managed to register a 28-10 win heading into the Playoffs.

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But things soon took a turn for the worse. In their first game of the postseason, following a first-round bye, the side succumbed to 6th seed Tennessee Titans. Therefore, sitting out their MVP-winning QB and a number of other starters was their undoing.

So with the past bearing witness to this folly, will the decision to bench several starters come back to haunt the Kansas City Chiefs?

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Shivayan Roy

720 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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