The formula for success for last year's edition of the Kansas City Chiefs was pretty simple. Outscore their opponent.
And it worked, as the Chiefs seemingly could put up enough points against anyone to get the win. Actually, it worked right up until it didn't in overtime of the AFC Championship game against the Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Patriots got the ball first in the extra period and drove the field to score on their way to another Super Bowl win.
It was painfully, painfully obvious the Chiefs needed to get better on the defensive side of the ball to take that next step in the postseason.
So defensive coordinator Bob Sutton was fired and Steve Spagnuolo was quickly hired as his replacement. The 3-4 front was out, the 4-3 was in.
But things didn't look better at the start. The Chiefs were 5-3 at midseason and had allowed 26 or more points five times.
Same old Chiefs. Except
In the last five games, Kansas City's defense is allowing less than 10 points per game to its opponents. That includes 16 in what was a seven-point road win against the Patriots.
I know, toss out the Patriots and who have the Chiefs played in the stretch? It's not exactly a list of the NFL's elite — the Chargers, the Raiders, the Broncos and the Bears. But those guys get paid to play, too.
The same old Chiefs now look like a brand new edition.
And Chiefs fans being Chiefs fans, they've noticed while the defense has done a better job of slowing opponents, the offense hasn't exactly lit it up in the five-game streak. Patrick Mahomes & Co. are "only" averaging 27 points per game in the stretch.
The answer is nothing. Kansas City has had no reason to run it up on anyone in the past five weeks. The Chiefs are scoring enough to win, which last time I checked, is why you play the game.
I'm sure when the postseason begins, Chiefs coach Andy Reid will dig deep into his bag of tricks and dial up some plays that will bring back memories of that high-powered attack of a year ago. There's no reason to show anything right now, the Chiefs know they're in the playoffs and will wrap up the No. 3 seed with a win this afternoon at home against the Chargers.
If you want to fret about something, ponder the state of the run game. One reason the scores have been down is the Chiefs have tried to develop a ground game in recent weeks. And the results have been a little mixed. When you get a lead in the postseason, a good run game can eat up a lot of clock. So hopefully veteran running back LeSean McCoy has learned how to hold onto the football in his time on the bench.
I don't think the Chiefs are a team anyone will want to see this postseason. The potentially fun ride starts next weekend.