The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t been the best at creating turnovers on the defensive side of the ball this season. They had a few flashy plays early on, like Jaylen Watson’s 99-yard return against the Chargers in Week 2, but they mostly struggled early in the year. In the first 12 games of the season, the team had just 12 takeaways and constantly found themselves among the worst in the league at creating turnovers.
In the latter half of the season, the team has done a much better job with defensive turnovers. 40% of the Chiefs’ 20 defensive turnovers have come in the final five games of the 2022 NFL regular season. It suggests that their turnover luck may be turning a corner ahead of the postseason. For Chiefs S Justin Reid it’s not about luck, though. He says it’s all about preparation and a growing sense of confidence in the defensive secondary.
“Throughout this league, it’s a funny scenario, man,” Reid said. “When (turnovers) come, they tend to come in bunches. So, if I had to choose any time of the year for them to start getting hot, of course, we want to choose right now for the turnover machine to start kicking into action.
“We’ve really been ball-savvy. Coach (Steve) Spagnuolo has really focused and harped on getting the ball out all year, but as the level of the defense and confidence of the defense has risen, we’ve been able to make a couple more of those plays and have the ball swing our way.”
Now, there is something to be said about the level of competition the team faced in the final five games of the regular season. The only playoff quarterback they faced was Seahawks’ Geno Smith, who threw just one interception.
Still, there’s plenty to suggest that defensive confidence is also on the rise and that it’s impacting several aspects of the game, from turnovers to the run game to a thriving pass rush. That rising level of confidence should only help this team against Jacksonville Jaguars — who had no turnovers against the Chiefs back in Week 10 — when they have their rematch in the divisional round.