Will Chiefs even hold on to win AFC West?

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Kansas City Chiefs believed their recent slump had as much to do with the strength of their schedule as any problems they were having.

They can no longer fool themselves with that logic. On Sunday they showed their problems run much deeper than a powerful slate of opponents by losing 12-9 in overtime to the New York Giants, who previously had just one win themselves.

Things are so bad for the Chiefs that Andy Reid’s seemingly annual post-bye magic was of no help. Reid had been 16-2 after the bye, including 3-1 since joining the Chiefs.

After forcing the Chiefs to punt on the first possession of overtime, the Giants drove to set up Aldrick Rosas‘ 23-yard field goal.

The 6-4 Chiefs have lost four of their past five games. The previous three losses came against one of the NFL’s best teams (Steelers) and two talented-if-underachieving opponents (Raiders and Cowboys).

But a loss to the Giants is the strongest signal yet that the question in Kansas City isn’t whether this team can go deep into the playoffs, but whether it can hold on to its once-commanding lead in the AFC West. The Chiefs are still in first place but play against each of their divisional rivals in December, including a game against the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Most alarming to the Chiefs is that the production from their offense, which early in the season had the team among the league leaders in scoring, has slowed drastically. The Chiefs managed only three field goals against the Giants, and they have just seven offensive touchdowns in their past five games.

The Chiefs also set up both of New York’s scores with turnovers. Using a formation out of which they had thrown the shovel pass earlier in the season, quarterback Alex Smith threw another shovel pass to tight end Travis Kelce late in the first quarter. The Giants appeared to know the play was coming and intercepted it. The Giants took possession at the Kansas City 26. They needed six plays to score the game’s first — and only — touchdown.

Smith threw an interception in the fourth quarter that gave the Giants the ball at the Kansas City 23. That set up New York’s go-ahead score, a 26-yard field goal from Rosas with 1:38 remaining. The Chiefs tied the score at 9-9 in the final seconds on Harrison Butker‘s 23-yard field goal.

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