5 takeaways from Chiefs’ Week 15 win vs. Saints

Mitch Carney
·5 min read

The Kansas City Chiefs won another close game on Sunday, beating the New Orleans Saints 32-29 in a possible Super Bowl preview match. The win also made the Chiefs undefeated on the road, which is a first in franchise history. Overall, Kansas City played a solid game against New Orleans and the win puts them in an excellent position to win the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Here are five takeaways from the Chiefs’ victory over the Saints:

Chiefs ‘offensive line needs to get healthy

AP Photo/Ed Zurga

The Chiefs’ offensive line had one of their worst performances of the year against the Saints. The team was without Mike Remmers and Eric Fisher was seemingly playing through an injury, so struggles were to be expected, especially coming against one of the best defensive lines in football. The problem is that Patrick Mahomes was under far too much pressure in the pocket, getting sacked three times and hit 11 times on the day. They will need to improve before the playoffs begin in order to keep Mahomes upright for a Super Bowl push. What they really need most is to get healthy at the tackle position. They are still without Mitchell Schwartz with both Fisher and Remmers are battling injuries. If all three are able to get healthy it would be a big boost to the offense. It'd give more consistency to the offensive line instead of the constantly rotating lineup they've dealt with most of the season.

Le’Veon Bell becomes more important to Chiefs offense

AP Photo/Brett Duke

The Le’Veon Bell signing was originally thought of as a great veteran addition to help out the rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Now Bell could have a bigger role on the Chiefs’ offense with Edwards-Helaire likely to miss time with an injury. There will be more information soon about the specific nature of his injury and how much time he'll miss, but it’s expected Bell will take the starting reps for the remainder of the season. It was only a few seasons ago when Bell was considered the best running back in the league. He’s had limited in-game reps, but when given the opportunity fans have seen flashes of his former All-Pro self. Even this last game, he had his best performance for the Chiefs with 15 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown. It’ll be interesting to see how he's able to handle the pressure of being the No. 1 guy moving forward.

Red zone offense has improved

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The Chiefs’ red zone offense was much better against the Saints than it was the last couple of weeks. They were able to score touchdowns on four of their five trips. There was great execution, even when the play broke down. They even managed to show some of their signature unique play design. It’s clear that Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy made an effort to improve in this area after saying they had a lack of coaching and execution in the red zone a few weeks ago. New Orleans is near the bottom of the league in opponent red zone scoring percentage ranked No. 27, but it was still a definite improvement from the Chiefs’ offense. It will be interesting to see if they can repeat this performance when they face the Chargers in Week 17 as they have the No. 11 red-zone defense in the NFL.

Chiefs’ defense played well despite giving up 29 points

AP Photo/Brett Duke

Looking at the final score of the game it could appear the Chiefs’ defense played poorly. In reality, Kansas City’s defense shut down Drew Brees and the Saints for the majority of the game. They forced him into one of the worst performances in his career. Brees didn't have more than 10 complete passes until the Saints' final drive of the game. The Chiefs also did not allow a first down in the Saints’ first three drives. The Kansas City defense only allowed seven points in the first half. They did struggle in the second half with some penalties early on and ultimately allowed three touchdowns. One was on a short field due to a turnover by the Chiefs' special teams, though. At the end of the game, the Saints were only able to convert one third down on their 11 attempts. Sure, the defense was not perfect, but they still played winning football against one of the best offenses in the NFC.

L’Jarius Sneed becoming vital part of defense once again

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L’Jarius Sneed was playing at a high level to start the season, but due to a collarbone injury, he ended up missing six games. It looks like Sneed is finally getting more comfortable in his return from injury. He's playing an entirely new role on the defense and is looking like the player he was prior to the injury. He had a dominant game against the Saints recording one interception, one sack and three total pass deflections. It’s not often we see a rookie cornerback make an impact that Sneed has this season. It’s obvious that he’s becoming an important part of the defense and if it weren't for his injury, he possibly could have been in the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Time will tell if he continues to be a shutdown corner, but the sample size he’s given is promising.