The two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs find themselves at an unbelievable 3-4 on the season following an ugly loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Kansas City’s most-recent defeat might have been the ugliest of the Patrick Mahomes era. They fell down 27-0 at halftime. That span saw the Chiefs out-gained by Tennessee to the tune of 277-68 before the Chiefs ultimately fell by the score of 27-3 with Mahomes himself going down to injury in the fourth quarter.
To say that the Kansas City Chiefs are hot mess heading into Week 8 would be an understatement. There’s a lot of issues on both sides of the ball. Below, we look at three ways Andy Reid and Co. can fix their current mess and salvage the remainder of the 2021 NFL season.
Kansas City Chiefs trade for Marlon Mack
Even when Clyde Edwards-Helaire was healthy, Kansas City lacked the necessary balance on offense to help a struggling Patrick Mahomes. That came out in droves during the Chiefs’ 27-3 loss to Tennessee. Darrel Williams saw the bulk of the backfield action for a Kansas City team that racked up all of 77 yards with quarterbacks tallying 39 of those yards.
The good news here is that general manager Brett Veach has been among the most active on the trade block. While we’re not expecting a blockbuster ahead of the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline, Mack would make sense for Kansas City. He could likely be had for a late-round pick and is slated to count $1 million against the cap for an acquiring team. Prior to suffering a torn Achilles last season, the 25-year-old Mack had recorded a combined 2,184 yards and 18 touchdowns from 2018-19. He’d fit right in, providing Mahomes with the balance it’s obvious he needs right now.
Kansas City Chiefs fire Steve Spagnuolo
Since taking over as the Chiefs’ interim defensive coordinator during the 2019 season, there’s been major regression in Kansas City under this longtime assistant. The Chiefs finished seventh in points allowed with Spags leading the charge en route to winning the Super Bowl that initial season. Last season saw the Chiefs fall to 10th in points allowed and 16th in total defense.
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However, Kansas City’s defense has been historically bad thus far this season. Even prior to getting blown out by the Titans in Week 7, this unit had allowed the fifth-most yards and fifth-most points. Opposing quarterbacks were averaging nearly 290 passing yards with 11 touchdowns against four interceptions. It might now be time for a change. Perhaps, linebackers coach Matt House or defensive backs coach Sam Madison might be able to light a fire under this unit in an interim basis.
Kansas City Chiefs trade for Xavien Howard
After giving up a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft for Orlando Brown Jr., it’s not yet known whether Kansas City is willing to give up another early-round selection. There’s also this little thing called the NFL salary cap, which the Chiefs have navigated through perfectly. These are two issues preventing Veach and Co. from pulling off a blockbuster trade.
But if Kansas City is serious about salvaging this season and earning a third consecutive conference title, it needs to upgrade at cornerback. The likes of Charvarius Ward, Mike Hughes, L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton just aren’t cutting it. Adding a true play-maker in Howard (19 interceptions past 38 games) would be a boon. Imagine him teaming up with Tyrann Mathieu in the defensive secondary. That could change things for the Kansas City Chiefs in a big way.