After an uninspiring, if not downright worrisome, 1st quarter in last Sunday’s game against the Rams, the Kansas City Chiefs hunkered down and put together what looked like a pretty solid performance on both sides of the ball. Matt Cassel treated us to a “gutsy” performace just 11 days after losing his appendix. He showed sound footwork, worked the pocket near perfectly, and put great touch on several of his passes.
The real question is, did the Chiefs show significant improvement as a team or were they more the beneficiaries of getting to beat up on another soft NFC West team? We’ll find out whether the latest DVOA stats shed any light on that question just beyond the jump.
To find out more about what DVOA is and how it all works, just trek on over to Football Outsiders for the low down. Without further ado, here are this week’s stats –
After studying these results, I find myself left with the impression that what we witnessed last Sunday as being more along the lines of our Chiefs having the good fortune of getting to roll over another bad NFC West team. Take away our run blocking and with that, Jamaal Charles, and we end up looking like a team that falls somewhere between average and bad. Dwayne Bowe, for instance, shows occasional flashes of brilliance but in the end remains an inconsistent, unreliable receiver.
What do I think this all means? I think it means that the rest of the offense, the defense, and the special teams do not add up to being playoff legit. As much as it pains me to say or even think it, this season’s Chiefs have all the appearances of being a team that collapses at the end. I hope and pray that I am wrong about that. Perhaps this Sunday, against one the league’s better defenses and a potentially exposive offense, the Chiefs will, at long last, get this thing turned around? I sure as hell hope so.
The Titans, despite their record, are without doubt one of the better teams we have faced this season. Their offense is not lights out fantastic but they do have some pretty potent weapons in their arsenal. When they are on track, they can put you on your heels quickly and keep you there with their stout defense. Their special teams are also way better than what we have in that department.
The Chiefs do have a few important advantages. Inter alia (that’s for you Jeremy), home field advantage certainly helps, takeaway/giveaway potential favors the Chiefs, we have everbody healthy, and the game is hugely important. No matter what, I believe this will be a very tough game to win if for no other reason than the fact we so far have had little success against teams as good as the Titans.
I think it will be a very, very bad idea if we choose to come out with Thomas Jones trying to run between the tackles. The Titans defensive front are top tier at stuffing the interior lanes. The Chiefs best chance for success will be to take their run game to the outside via reverses, misdirections, blocking shifts, screens, pitch outs, and so on. If we can force their line to spread out and respect the outside run, then we might see some success inside – but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Our defense will also need to step up their game in a major way if they don’t want to be victimized the way they were in the Oakland and San Diego games. All considered, I think points will be hard to come by for both teams in this game and the deciding factor will probably come down to something like turnovers, special teams plays, penalties, and/or stupid mistakes.
Lastly, Happy Holidays everyone and GO CHIEFS!!!
That’s this week’s Double Take. What are your takes Addicts?