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Join Date: Apr 2004
A Case Against the Chiefs
Here is a well laid-out article that unveils the "chinks in the armour" of our upcoming 6-0 opponent.
Kansas City Chiefs are 6-0, but their luck is about to run out
KC have surprised the NFL with their strong start, but the statistics say it is about to get much tougher.
.............Led by new head coach Andy Reid, the Arrowhead natives are 6-0 and have only won one game by less than two scores. They are almost certainly heading towards the playoffs on the strength of their defense. Yet, the Chiefs may end up packing their bags earlier than you might think.
1. The Chiefs offense is a big ball of meh
No team is going to be the best in every facet of the game. The Broncos defense leaves much to be desired. Yet, the Chiefs offense is really something else, which could come back to haunt them.
Quarterback Alex Smith ranks 22nd in the league for passer rating. He is averaging 6.16 yards per attempt, which is worst in the league for starting quarterbacks. He's tied for eighth for the most sacks.
Running back Jamaal Charles is averaging only 4.2 yards per rushing attempt–good enough for only 20th in the league. Advanced NFL Stats says that Charles is 60th for all running backs in win probability added for every play he's directly involved in.
The Chiefs simply have no good or great receivers statistically speaking. The top pass catcher for the Chiefs, Donnie Avery, ranks 51st in receiving yards with only 310. No Chiefs receiver has more than two touchdown receptions.
Overall, Advanced NFL Stats rates the Chiefs offense as 30th in offensive efficiency.
2. The Chiefs haven't been playing tough opponents
This is actually true of the Broncos and Seahawks as well, but look at who the Chiefs have played. They beat the Giants and Jaguars, who are terrible. The took down the Cowboys, Eagles, Raiders, and Titans, who are at best .500 teams. The only one of these going down in the record books is the Jaguars – and that is for awfulness.
Taking a more advanced statistical look, we can look at Football Outsiders' Defense-adjusted Over Average (DVOA). This breaks down every NFL play and compares teams against a league baseline average. By this measure, the Chiefs have the 31st hardest schedule to this point.
If they had a more even schedule, they'd probably have at least one loss already.
3. The Chiefs will start playing tough opponents
DVOA suggests that the Chiefs' luck may run out. They are expected to have the seventh most difficult schedule the rest of the season. They have to play the Broncos (more on that below) and a decent Chargers team twice, the Colts, and an underrated Bills team that plays pretty well at home.
The chance that the Chiefs can stay near perfect is pretty slim. Football Outsiders has them going only 6-4 the rest of the season.
4. The Broncos and homefield
There's room for more than one great team in the NFL. The problem is there really isn't room for two great teams in the same division. The Chiefs and Broncos both play in the AFC West. The Broncos, by most measures, including point differential and advanced stat team efficiency ratings from both Football Outsiders and Advanced NFL Stats, look like the better team.
That's an issue for Chiefs, because they have to play the Broncos twice. The Broncos also have the easier remaining schedule. That would suggest that the Broncos are more likely to end up with the better record.
Thus, the Chiefs are probably going to end up with the fifth spot in the AFC's playoff brackets. That means they'll have to win three times on the road to make the Super Bowl. That's not impossible, though the odds are against it.
The home team has won a little more than 60% of its games in the playoffs since 2002. Three teams have won three road games to win the Super Bowl over the past decade and none before that. This suggests that the homefield advantage may be waning, but it still exists.
You can add 2-3 points to the home team's margin than what would you expect on a neutral field. In a league where games are often won by a few points, this can make all the difference in the world.
The Chiefs are a good football team. I'm not sure, however, they are good as their 6-0 record indicates. Their offense and strength of opponent has been weak. A tougher upcoming schedule and the looming Broncos in the same division argues for a team that will have a more difficult time moving forward.
The Texans weren't in this article's discussion, but there is now also the unknown Case against the Chiefs................