Has Andy Reid Purposely Been Holding Back the Chiefs Offense?

Entering Week 11 of the 2019 NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs sat at 6-4. Bad luck and injuries brought losses against the Titans, Texans, Packers, and Colts. While they still seemed playoff-bound, Patrick Mahomes and his cast didn’t deliver. Fortunately, Andy Reid’s Chiefs turned on the jets and outscored their final six opponents 167-69.

With a win in Week 17 and a little luck, the Chiefs secured a first-round bye. If both Kansas City and the Baltimore Ravens win their divisional playoff games, a tough matchup will loom. In the meantime, the Chiefs are enjoying their time off before they face the Texans.

The Chiefs’ playoff preparation

Reid’s ability to win after bye weeks is legendary. Ensuring that the Chiefs mastermind gets an extra week before the playoffs may go a long way toward getting his first Super Bowl ring as a head coach. It’s clear the Chiefs found another gear over the final six games of the season to secure their bye week.

Some eagle-eyed fans point out that the playbook appears different than previous years. With last year’s MVP under center and a talented receiving squad, Reid has held back on calling tricky plays. Fans have noticed that Kansas City’s pass plays have significantly less motion this year.

Could the Chiefs simply be a better team, beating defenses with plays as they are drawn up? Yes. But Reid has a reputation as a football genius for a reason.

The 2018 MVP seems destined to clash with the (likely) 2019 MVP as Kansas City travels to Baltimore. The Chiefs are doing their best not to look past the upcoming game against Houston. But they are favored by between 9 and 10 points.

Short of another Deshaun Watson miracle, the Chiefs will likely practice for the Ravens next week. In Reid’s 21st season as a head coach, the 2019 season is his best chance to win a ring yet. If there truly is anything left in this coach’s bag of tricks, expect to see it against Baltimore.

Potential NFC opponents

If the Chiefs defeat the Texans and (probably) the Ravens, they’ll face the NFC’s top team in the Super Bowl. What’s interesting is that Reid has experience with the Eagles and Packers, two of the potential opponents.

The Chiefs coach worked in Green Bay from 1992-98 and Philadelphia from 1999–2012. While it’s unlikely that any insider information from years or decades ago will be useful in the Super Bowl, Reid can’t be counted out. Even if the Chiefs end up facing the No. 1-seed 49ers, the Wizard of Kansas City will have something up his sleeve.

What Andy Reid may be hiding

Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs leaves the field following a victory
Coach Andy Reid of the Chiefs leaves the field after a victory | Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Since NFL teams only play 16 games during the regular season and each is crucial to earning top seeding and byes, NFL coaches don’t historically hold their offenses back. But the Chiefs demonstrated they could win without exhausting their playbook.

When the big games come, Reid and the Chiefs will likely pick up the pre-snap motion. With the best tight end in the NFL (and possibly in history) as well as talented WRs and RBs, it makes sense for Mahomes to use the full playbook and get potential receivers to spots where they can shine before the snap.

Kansas City fell to the Patriots last year in the AFC Championship game. With Brady and Belichick out of the picture, they just need to prepare for three more games: the Texans, Ravens (probably), and NFC champions. Reid built his career on planning for specific opponents. If all goes well, he’ll get to demonstrate what he’s been cooking up — on the biggest stage in football.

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