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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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?