Oct 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) celebrate after Smith

2013 Chiefs DVOA Analysis: Week 8


AA - Double Take

In spite of their perfect record, the Chiefs are not the best team in the NFL. They have done what they’ve needed to do to get to 8-0 but there remains a ton of work to be done, especially on offense, if the Chiefs are to have any hope of making a run at a championship. The schedule gets tougher from here on out and if the Chiefs are to survive the upcoming gauntlet, they’ll have to play a lot tougher themselves.

The latest statistical rankings and scores published by Football Outsiders provide a useful way to see just where the focus needs to be:

DVOA 8 - 2013 Table A

The first thing that should jump out at readers is the fact the Chiefs fell from 6th to 10th place in Total Efficiency. The concern here is that the Chiefs need to be getting better as the season progresses, not the other way around. This trend needs to be reversed and soon.

Aside from Jamaal Charles perhaps, the play makers on offense need to improve drastically. Alex Smith, Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster, Anthony Fasano, and Sean McGrath all need to step up their game as all are playing well below their average peers in the league.

While the Defense and Special Teams are playing well, their DVOA scores are showing signs of slippage. Again, the object is to improve every week.

DVOA 8 - 2013 Table B

The above chart suggests more of the same. The Chiefs Future Schedule ranks 4th toughest and that ain’t no joke. They’ve been blessed with the easiest schedule and no doubt have made the most of it but they can’t expect to sustain such good fortune by continuing to play at the level they’ve been playing.

I don’t want to come off as all negative here but  the fact is that every win is important and that doesn’t change just because you’re 8-0. And, there are some encouraging signs worth noting. For instance, the defensive line has been making solid progress against the run (incorrectly put their ranking this week in red; it’s green).

On the other side of the trenches, the Chiefs Offensive Line has been pathetic against the pass rush. In a word, they play “soft.”

I could say more.

Let’s switch it up here and focus on the upcoming road trip:

Head to Head - KC @ BUF

Let’s not kid ourselves here. The Bills are all about the run and they are best defense the Chiefs have faced so far. That’s worrisome considering how poor the Chiefs are at defending against the run. The Bills pass defense is nothing to sneeze at either (not that the Chiefs Offense are any kind of threat in that department). In my mind, considering how the Chiefs are trending, considering the Chiefs are heading into a bye, this game is quite scary.

More about the match up – pass defense comparisons:

Comparative Receiver Defense KC @ Buf

The Bills have struggled to cover #1 WRs. Though past performance is no guarantee of future results, this nevertheless suggests an opportunity for Dwayne Bowe. Is he up to the challenge? What about Dexter McCluster? Can he exploit the Bills apparent weakness against Other WRs? It looks like Jamaal Charles might have another opportunity to make some noise in the passing game but do we really want to continue making him our entire offense? The wear factor wears on my mind.

Looking to the trenches:

Comparative Line Rankings By Run Gap - Wk 8

 

The Bills love to run the ball the more than any other team in the league. The Bills love to run the ball between the guards (74% of the time in fact). The have two backs who each have more than 300 yards rushing on the season. Expect Dontari Poe, Derrick Johnson, and company to be tested come Sunday. On Offense, the Chiefs would do well to avoid runs to the right side.

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

 

 

 

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  • Danny W

    Great read.
    The Chiefs have a huge test in Buffalo this weekend. I could see them dropping this game in a heart beat. Interesting note that most of our key contributors on offense are playing below average. I think it stems from O line and bad quarterbacking because Bowe Avery and McCluster can’t throw to themselves and theres only so many five yard routes you can run on a route tree. I could say more. Either way here come the kool aid men to tell me they just win so close my yammer and enjoy because obviously when you win your team has no weakness. Especially at the quarterback position.

    • Jim Harper

      Before you start blaming AS11 stop and think about where this team would be without him. I promise you the answer would not be 8-0.

      • Danny W

        I respectfully disagree sir. I think there are several above average quarterback in the statistical rankings that could have made this team 8-0. Matt Cassel? No. but there are plenty of others.

        • berttheclock

          Many of those statistical “wonders” would have caved after being forced to scramble, try to avoid the many hurries and being dumped on their respective rear ends by the one weakness on this excellent team, that being, the “offensive at times” offensive line. Alex Smith has a ton of heart which never shows up on any statistical chart. Also, as in basketball, even in the over hyped NBA, their are plenty of Statistical “Wonders” who want nothing to do with the ball in crunch time. They are far too busy checking with their agents about how a missed throw or shot might affect their perp bonus pay. When, the game is on the line, I want the guys who really want the ball in their own hands.

          • DieHard_ChiefsFan

            I agree 100% Bert. The O-Line is a little loose right now and this is a new Offensive scheme for all players. I think as we go along AS will get more comfortable with Bowe and Avery on a little longer routes and they will connect (Providing our O-Line Holds off the Pass Rush). But I want the ball in his hands if the game is on the line. We are 8-0 guys, enjoy the ride !! Go CHIEFS !!!

          • Danny W

            Neat. With out specifics on you statistical “wonders” though bert, I don’t know who your talking about to compare with Alex Smith. It’s essentially a blank response. I won’t fill in your blank so if you’d like I’ll let you. There are plenty,,and I do mean a bunch of quarterbacks that are better than Alex Smith by a mile though. If you disagree with that then we should just stop this discussion now.

        • Jim Harper

          Yes there are Danny, but not that were available, and not that were a perfect fit for Andy’s west coast offense. At least that is what both Andy and Dorsey have said. He was the best free agent available and definitely better than anyone coming out in the draft.

          • Danny W

            He was better than many other options out there. That said Nick Foles looks awful good in his fill in time with Philly. EJ Manuel has looked awful good too. Manuel looks much like Mike Vick or Alex Smith to me. Reid drafted Foles so there is no saying he wouldn’t fit into something Reid would like to have done. I don’t hate Alex Smith but I hope he’s replaced with someone better. As I hope for everyone on our team who could use upgraded.

    • Chief Hokie

      I would say the biggest weakness on this team is the OL.

      • Danny W

        We have essentially three lineman with bad grades as of last week. Hudson, worst, Fishers second, and Allen third worst. These guys graded out negatively on PFF. There all high picks. Much like the quarterback position I think you continue to draft lineman highly until you have a great offensive line. Quarterback round one, lineman round two or vise versa. But I should mention before we played the Browns, we were rated out as tenth best in the league in pass protection. All I know is what I see. I see Alex Smith miss check downs and dump off passes that kill drives. He takes care of the ball and that’s literally just enough. I mean just.

  • vbchief

    Off topic,and I apologize for not commenting about this post, but what ever happened to Arrowhead Adventurer ? he has not posted in quite some time

    • berttheclock

      He has just placed a new thread up where he informs fans of the Chiefs how to party hardy at Arrowhead Stadium.

  • Steve Trombly

    where are the “will to fight” and “find ways to win” rankings? because of right now, The Chiefs are on top :)

  • Mark Bustamante

    Excellent insight DD. Our offense needs to step it up and soon. If we can get through this Sunday the Bye week might help us prove

    • berttheclock

      Even after we do win, some “pundits” will still say Bye is favored for the following week.

      • Stykman81

        Prisco perhaps? LOL

  • Austin Bradley

    Wow again with the stats. 8-0 all the stats I need.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Best way to neutralize that ground game is to get out to an early lead. This will be a dogfight, but I think the boys will be up for it.

    • DoubleD

      I agree Stacy. The Bills, just like every team facing an undefeated team will looking to make a statement. This makes it tougher going but I believe the Chiefs can do it. One game at a time.

  • Jim Harper

    Nearly every time I read DD I feel like finding a rusty razor blade and start cutting my wrists. The one thing that does not show up in any statistical analysis is heart, and this team has a boatload of that. These guys find ways to win!

    • DoubleD

      Jim, I’m as happy as anybody about the 8-0 start. Hell I’m a season ticket for God’s sake.

      Let me put it this way. 8-0 means we’ve already met nearly everyone’s pre-season expectations for this team. Now it’s time to raise the bar and overachieve. I believe the best way to accomplish that is by becoming an even better team.

      I believe.

      • Jim Harper

        I hope you know my rusty razor blade comment was tongue in cheek. Like you, I also believe.

  • Calchiefsfan

    This game does worry me for the fact that the Chiefs always struggle against big, tough defensive lines and this week they are facing the biggest and toughest to date. But the Chiefs have met the challenge every week. The Chiefs D should hold Buffalo under 17 points, just like every week, and keep us in the game. Alex’s athleticism might just save the day this Sunday.

    I still think that Reid is only doing what he has to do until Denver. He’s bringing this offense along slowly, putting in new plays every week. He knows the real season starts in November.