By the time championship weekend comes around in the NFL playoffs, there's usually a theme that develops with the remaining teams. This year's there's no doubt what that theme is -- defense.
The AFC Championship game will have the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers while the NFC Championship game will feature the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
All four teams remaining have a top six defense: Jets (sixth), Bears (fourth), Packers (second) and Steelers (first). With the exception of the Packers, each team is best known for their defense.
I like looking at these teams and seeing how the Chiefs stack up. Is there anything to take away from the Chiefs and the four remaining NFL playoff teams?
The Chiefs defense still has a ways to go, especially the pass rush, compared to these teams. These teams know how to get after the quarterback but, outside of Tamba Hali, the Chiefs don't have the same type of attack.
If the Chiefs are going to use these four teams as a model, they would take a look at the pass rushers in the offseason. The Chiefs defense has a bend but don't break philosophy and I like that but they're not on the same level as these teams. The Jets and Steelers both attack the quarterback -- so do the Ravens, who lost in the divisional round of the playoffs. I think the Chiefs are a step behind those teams at this point.
The good news is that the Chiefs are probably already aware of some of the league's trends and what's working for the good teams. We've seen the Chiefs invest in the defense in the last year in both personnel and the coaching staff.
Of course, as we point out the terrific defenses with these teams, that's not to imply that building a great defense is the only way to build a championship-caliber team. There are two very good teams that aren't in the playoffs anymore -- Patriots and Colts -- who have won some big games in their own right with an offensive emphasis.
The Chiefs have become known as a great rushing team but you don't look at them and say, 'We have to stop their offense or defense.' The teams that are in these championship games year in and year out are an elite group on one side of the ball.