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Today: The Kansas City Chiefs
Last Year: 11-5 (2nd place in AFC West, lost in Wild Card Round)
That image is truly remarkable. From the wins and losses, to the point differential, to the offensive and defensive rankings, the chart above is spectacular. This is, of course, mainly due to the change listed in the “Coaches” section. Andy Reid, after a pretty stellar coaching career in Philadelphia, further justified just how good of a head coach he is. Not only did the Chiefs improve by nine wins, their point differential improved by 339 points.
Andy Reid, everybody.
Of course, the playoffs quickly turned into a nightmare for Kansas City. Forced to play in the Wild Card Round — because of the absurd Denver Broncos — the Chiefs held a 31-10 halftime lead. They lost 45-44, on this play…
If you would have told Andy Reid prior to the game that Alex Smith was going to throw for 378 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions, I think he would’ve guaranteed a win. Unfortunately, his defense chose the worst time to collapse.
Last Year’s Stud: Jamaal Charles
Just an unreal season for Charles, as he averaged five yards per carry, ran for nearly 1,300 yards, had 70 receptions for nearly 700 yards, and combined for 19 touchdowns. Whew.
Runner-up: Justin Houston
Last Year’s Surprise: Defense
The defense, despite ranking 24th in yards per game, only gave up 19 points per game last season.
Runner-up: Andy Reid (didn’t think he’d have that big of an impact)
Last Year’s Disappointment: Dwayne Bowe
57 receptions, 673 yards, and five touchdowns isn’t necessarily a bad season. But Bowe seemingly is capable of so much more. Maybe it’s time to come to terms with the fact that this is what Bowe is.
Runner-up: Brandon Flowers
I love the De’Anthony Thomas pick. Is he going to be an every down contributor? Probably not. But the dude is explosive. There’s no denying that. I will be shocked if he doesn’t find a way to make an impact, whether that’s on special teams or on offense.
Other notable pick: Dee Ford
This Year’s Stud: Jamaal Charles
Again, just unreal.
Runner-up: De’Anthony Thomas
If you have’t heard of Dave Toub, that’s because he’s a special teams coach in the NFL. For most of Devin Hester’s NFL career, Toub was coaching him. Toub is in KC now. He gets to coach this guy:
This Year’s Surprise: De’Anthony Thomas
(Hope you’re not sick of Thomas GIFs by now)
Runner-up: Eric Fisher
This Year’s Disappointment: Alex Smith
Expect much of the same for the Chiefs’ offense and Smith: a dink and dump approach that is centered around not turning the ball over and getting the ball into the hands of Charles. I’m not so certain it’s going to work as well as it did last season.
Runner-up: Dwayne Bowe (already suspended for the first game)
Draft early: Jamaal Charles
Good value in the middle rounds: Dwayne Bowe
Don’t draft: Alex Smith
What Vegas Is Saying (LVH Sports Book): 8 wins
What We’re Saying: 8-8 (3rd place in AFC West)
While the defense only allowed 19 points per game last season, it ranked in the bottom half of the league in yards per game. I’m not so sure the defense will be able to hold teams to that low of a point total in 2014. Furthermore, I’m not sure the offense can replicate the kind of success it had a year ago. I get that Jamaal Charles is out of this world, but running an offense that has one playmaker and is simply designed to protect the ball isn’t going to be able to keep pace with the likes of Denver and even San Diego.
It’s not that this is a bad football team. I just don’t see 11 wins on the schedule. I think Vegas has this one right.
[genericon icon=twitter] Follow Sean Wagner-McGough on Twitter @seanjwagner