KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — As much as Alex Smith tries to avoid it, the veteran quarterback can't help but hear what outsiders are saying about his Kansas City Chiefs.
That they're the worst team to ever start 9-0. That their offense is sluggish at best, sloppy at worst. That their defense can't possibly carry them forever. That they make far too many errors to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Here's the problem with that logic: Even if everything had gone perfectly, Smith observed, the Chiefs would have the exact same record as they head into their bye week.
"I feel like, what are we really talking about?" he said. "There's a system in place in the NFL to find out who's the best, and it's a 16-game season and then the playoffs. To speculate right now who's the best and who's not — they don't give any trophies out after nine weeks.
"All the talk of any of that is just talk," Smith added. "It's pointless in my mind. It's set up to find out who's the best, and that's our focus."
Well, their focus right now is on getting some rest on their week off.
The Chiefs met to review video of Sunday's 23-13 win over Buffalo on Monday before scattering for some down time. The coaches plan to begin preparation for a high-profile showdown with AFC West rival Denver the following week.
The Chiefs visit the Broncos (7-1) on Nov. 17, a game that has been moved to prime time.
"I think every guy in this locker room, in the back of their head this who week, will be thinking about Denver," Smith acknowledged. "Big game ahead of us. But a little time, get away a little back, we'll come back fresh and ready to roll."
Ready to prove all the doubters wrong, too.
The Chiefs have played arguably the weakest schedule in the NFL through the first nine weeks of the season, and finish up by playing quite possibly the toughest down the stretch. Along with two games against the Broncos, they have two against the Chargers, a game against the Redskins, another against the Colts and their return game to Oakland.
"No matter who it is or what anybody is doing, there's always going to be people who doubt you. It lets you know you're doing something good," defensive tackle Dontari Poe said. "Whoever doubts you, whoever thinks you can't do it, you work that much harder to prove them wrong."
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