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The Chiefs Need to Play a Disciplined Brand of Football vs. Washington

Chiefs football has been hard to watch this season, and that needs to change starting on Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

The Kansas City Chiefs have a losing record this season, and it says a lot more about them than the opponents they've faced. Teams like the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore Ravens were supposed to be tough battles within the AFC. What wasn't supposed to happen, though, was the Chiefs effectively beating themselves for long stretches within games this year. 

Through five games, the Chiefs have the second-worst turnover differential in the NFL at minus-seven. That trails only the winless Jacksonville Jaguars (-10). On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs have generated just four turnovers. That's uncharacteristic for a unit that, despite its struggles over the years, has always been able to come up with some splash plays. On the other end, the Chiefs are tied with the Jaguars for the league's most giveaways with 11. No matter how talented a team is, it's unbelievably hard to win games that way.

It's not just the amount of turnovers, either: it's how they've happened. Deflected passes and drops have turned into interceptions. A costly fumble occurred at the end of the Ravens game. In that same contest, half of the Chiefs' season takeaways came in the first 15 minutes via a pair of Tyrann Mathieu interceptions. Whether it's on the surface or beneath it, it's easy to tell how a lack of focus and execution have led to the Chiefs struggling. Sam Hays of Arrowhead Report joined me on today's Roughing the Kicker podcast to discuss what needs to improve ahead of Sunday's matchup with the Washington Football Team.

Putting turnovers aside for a second, the Chiefs simply need to be sharp on both ends this Sunday. Offensively, quarterback Patrick Mahomes has to be better. His accuracy in the team's last game was poor, his mechanics have been sloppy and his pocket presence remains an issue. In addition to Mahomes, more should be asked of his receivers. Tyreek Hill can't have concentration drops anymore and a reliable non-Hill or Travis Kelce threat should emerge. Outside of that, Andy Reid's (or Eric Bieniemy's) play-calling has grown stale at times. That was evident against the Bills, and that can't happen if the Chiefs want to dominate and make up for an all-time struggling defense.

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Speaking of that defense, getting back to the basics will help tremendously. Missed tackles, improper angles in coverage and a lack of communication have held Steve Spagnuolo's unit back quite a bit. Can a personnel change such as swapping safeties Juan Thornhill and Daniel Sorensen assist in that improvement? Perhaps. Regardless of how Spagnuolo schemes in the week leading up to games, the onus eventually falls on the players to execute properly and play smart football. That hasn't happened in 2021.

With all due respect to the Football Team, they aren't the Chiefs. Kansas City should win relatively convincingly in a road matchup Sunday, and disciplined football is the key to making that happen. The Chiefs have tried to get by on heaping amounts of talent and smoke and mirrors for too long this season. Now, it's time to get back on track. That starts and ends with making smart decisions, everyone being on the same page and the game plan being executed to near-perfection on both sides of the ball. If most of those things happen this weekend, that'll be a step in the right direction. 

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Read More: Three Moves the Chiefs Can Make To Improve on Defense