The Kansas City Chiefs are headed to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in the last five years. Even though the MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson was starting for the Baltimore Ravens, who were the conference's top seed and hosted the AFC Championship on Sunday, Patrick Mahomes and company triumphed once more, winning 17-10 to advance to Super Bowl LVIII.

Travis Kelce #87 of the <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/16/1168860-buffalo-bills-31-17-pittsburgh-steelers-bills-brave-the-weather-to-win.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/16/1168860-buffalo-bills-31-17-pittsburgh-steelers-bills-brave-the-weather-to-win.html'><strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/12/11/1165747-nfl-bills-20-17-chiefs-brilliant-bills-as-mahomes-sees-red-mist-with-kc-losing-by-three.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/12/11/1165747-nfl-bills-20-17-chiefs-brilliant-bills-as-mahomes-sees-red-mist-with-kc-losing-by-three.html'>Kansas City</a></strong> Chiefs</a></strong> celebrates with the Lamar Hunt Trophy after the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kara Durrette/Getty Images)
Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with the Lamar Hunt Trophy after the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kara Durrette/Getty Images)

This is the same Chiefs squad that saw Mahomes post the least effective passing statistics of his storied career during a 3-5 run that began in late October. So how precisely did they rally to win the Super Bowl again? 

Head coach <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/09/24/1157130-nfl-kansas-city-chiefs-continue-to-shake-it-off-with-win-over-the-chicago-bears.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/09/24/1157130-nfl-kansas-city-chiefs-continue-to-shake-it-off-with-win-over-the-chicago-bears.html'>Andy Reid</a></strong> of the <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/12/25/1166919-radiers-defensive-brilliance-sees-chiefs-crumble-on-christmas-day.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/12/25/1166919-radiers-defensive-brilliance-sees-chiefs-crumble-on-christmas-day.html'>Kansas City</a></strong> Chiefs celebrates after the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kara Durrette/Getty Images)
Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kara Durrette/Getty Images)

Here are some reasons why:

In the postseason, Patrick Mahomes is unquestionable.

This is not mere speculation. The numbers support this. Mahomes is the leader of Kansas City's offence, which is notably more effective in the postseason than it was during the regular season. With 39 touchdown passes to just seven picks, the future Hall of Fame quarterback is currently 14-3 as a starting quarterback in the playoffs.

 <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/14/1168659-kansas-city-chiefs-26-7-miami-dolphins-ice-cold-chiefs-pick-up-the-win.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/14/1168659-kansas-city-chiefs-26-7-miami-dolphins-ice-cold-chiefs-pick-up-the-win.html'>Patrick Mahomes</a></strong> #15 of the <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/12/11/1165747-nfl-bills-20-17-chiefs-brilliant-bills-as-mahomes-sees-red-mist-with-kc-losing-by-three.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/12/11/1165747-nfl-bills-20-17-chiefs-brilliant-bills-as-mahomes-sees-red-mist-with-kc-losing-by-three.html'>Kansas City</a></strong> Chiefs looks to throw the football during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to throw the football during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Mr Reliable is none other than Travis Kelce.

The Chiefs' top tight end, like his quarterback, saves some of his best plays for the biggest crowds. Even though he had a "quiet" 980-yard receiving season, at the age of 34, he found new life in the postseason, recording at least seven catches for 70 yards in each of K.C.'s triumphs. He is still essentially undiscovered.

Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after a first down during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after a first down during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

There is power on the defensive front.

The Chiefs have two of the NFL's top pocket wreckers in Chris Jones and George Karlaftis. It always boils down to who is in the trenches. Despite having a modest stat line against Baltimore, the former has been felt all year long, totalling 24 sacks in the regular season and postseason.

 <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/28/1170321-baltimoreravens-vs-kansas-city-chiefs-can-the-ravens-end-the-years-of-chiefs-dominance.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/28/1170321-baltimoreravens-vs-kansas-city-chiefs-can-the-ravens-end-the-years-of-chiefs-dominance.html'>Lamar Jackson</a></strong> #8 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/09/17/1156346-nfl-chiefs-back-on-track-with-win-over-jaguars.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2023/09/17/1156346-nfl-chiefs-back-on-track-with-win-over-jaguars.html'>Chris Jones</a></strong> #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of the AFC Championship game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half of the AFC Championship game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Andy Reid has not given up on the run.

Mahomes and Kelce are the focal points of the Chiefs' offence, but Isiah Pacheco, a fierce ball carrier, has kept them more balanced than usual. Even though he had trouble making significant progress versus Baltimore, his distinct physicality wears out opponents with his hard exertion.

Andy Reid, head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field following the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Andy Reid, head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field following the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

The secondary is at its best right now.

Chris Jones may be the star of the Chiefs defence, but the core of the squad is cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, a physical yet disciplined perimeter player who leads the charge. Security Trent McDuffie, a cornerback, and Justin Reid have also performed admirably under pressure.

Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field following the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Chris Jones #95 of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field following the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Steve Spagnuolo is at his best.

The defensive coordinator is not only getting great play from his players, but he is also making all the right calls, particularly to apply pressure. Although the seasoned coach has long been respected, he is currently enjoying his most fruitful defensive finish run in his career.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on the sideline during a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on January 7, 2024 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on the sideline during a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on January 7, 2024 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images)

The basics have been cleaned up.

Earlier in the season, starters for Kansas City consistently made mistakes like drops and misalignments, making their incapacity to field a trustworthy receiving corps a laughingstock throughout the league. The Chiefs have performed well in the second half of the season, particularly during the playoffs, managing the ball and the clock.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs makes a catch against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs makes a catch against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

No. 1 wide receiver for Mahomes once more.

Although rookie Rashee Rice was marginally overshadowed by Kelce in the Ravens game, the first-year pass catcher was nevertheless one of Mahomes' top targets, hauling in eight receptions to cement his position as the team's best downfield option. Since Thanksgiving Weekend, he has already hauled in eight passes on four different occasions.

Rashee Rice #4 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball against Brandon Stephens #21 of the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter in the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Rashee Rice #4 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball against Brandon Stephens #21 of the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter in the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Two of their three opponents in the playoffs failed.

Not that it matters because the Chiefs' defence was exposed in the postseason by the Dolphins and Ravens, two of the league's most potent offences in 2023. Lamar Jackson and Tua Tagovailoa combined for just 17 points in their losses to the Chiefs.

 Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Oddly enough, they perform best when counted out.

Though going into the game as the underdog picked by the oddsmakers, Mahomes is now 10-1-1 against the spread, proving that nobody was seriously betting against the Chiefs. He and Reid are the Patriots of this generation's Tom Brady and Bill Belichick—never, ever to be written out.

Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs goes to spike the football after scoring a touchdown during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs goes to spike the football after scoring a touchdown during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
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About the author
Johnathan Stack
32, from London. Editor of VAVEL USA - NBA, UEFA, FA, WSL, World Snooker Tour & 2022 Commonwealth Games accredited Sports Journalist.