Chiefs DVOA Analysis: Week 8

Another Sunday afternoon’s come and went, this time with the Chiefs narrowly dodging a Buffalo Bill bullet fired squarely our way down at the ol’ Arrowhead Corral. Some say a win is a win is a win while others are not feeling so winningly considering the drama of OT, the final score, the apparent quality of the opponent, the play selection, certain coaching decisions, pick your peeve.

So how do you feel about it? Was it a good win or a bad win? Did Matt Cassell progress or regress on Sunday? What about our offensive line without Lilja? How much did we miss DMC? We’ll find out if the cold, hard numbers can shed some light on any of these burning questions, right after the jump.

For those of you new to this column, or unfamiliar with the DVOA methodology, go to Football Outsiders for the nutshell. Without further ado, hot off the press, here’s this week’s rankings:

Yep, we are now ranked #1 in Total DVOA. Statistically speaking, we are currently the most efficient team in the NFL. Shocked? Well, the first thing I have to say about it is that our guys played pretty damn well against a team that showed up strong, winless record notwithstanding. The verdict? Good win!!

Additional stats of interest:

Matt Cassel is holding his own but of course still has room for improvement. Jamaal Charles, #1 in DVOA at 33.6%, #2 in DYAR, is off the charts nailing it and more than makes up for whatever Thomas Jones is not able to accomplish in the running game. Still, as solid of a one-two punch as you’ll find in NFL. Our offensive line, even without Lilja, continues to play at a very high level which indicates to me we have some reliable depth on the OL – it’s a good thing to have.

Our defense, as a whole, continues to show dramatic improvement; our front seven, the improvement also continued, albiet marginal.

Tony Moeaki is developing into an exceptional TE – to put that in some perspective, he currently ranks 4 slots ahead of that other Tony in DYAR, and a whopping 9 slots ahead of him in DVOA! Yeah, we’re talking that good.

On the negative side, Special Teams continues its downward trend moving from 9th to 12th this week. Our special teams play needs to get back on track if we’re to be a contender this season. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, bad special teams = bad losses. Aside from Moeaki, our passing game is almost non-existent – Dwayne Bowe even dropped down a bit further this week – but nevertheless, when we do pass, we are very efficient at it. I do believe the absence of McCluster is felt but it did not hurt us significantly Sunday. The main concern continues to be lack of available targets, or, if they are available, then they are not being used effectively. I am inclined to believe it’s the former and not the latter though.

I’ll begin my wrap on all this by quoting Football Outsider’s teaser to this weeks’ edition of their DVOA ratings -

They may be the most balanced team in the NFL. Their passing game is shockingly effective. The defense is much improved. The schedule hasn’t been as easy as you think. Yes, the Kansas City Chiefs really are Super Bowl contenders.

In fact, I encourage everyone to click on this link to read all that Aaron Schatz over at Football Outsiders has to say about the Chiefs this week. Pretty compelling stuff.

So, looking forward, the Chiefs are currently on track to own the 2nd best record in the AFC (behind the Patriots) and, get this, the team most likely to win the conference. Finally, according to DVOA, the Chiefs are headed for the Super Bowl, where, alas, we are projected to lose to the NY Giants. Unacceptable outcome. We must continue to focus on improvement. Oh and win some games along the way too. Like against the ascending Raiders next week even.

That’s my Double Take. What’s your take?

Topics: Chiefs, DVOA, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel, Thomas Jones, Tony Moeaki

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