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2013 Chiefs DVOA Analysis: Wild Card Edition

AA - Double TakeThe Chiefs 2013 Regular Season is in the books and we are headed for the playoffs. After the debacle that was 2012, I believe any sane Chiefs fan would concede that this season’s turnaround far exceeded everyone’s reasonable expectations. Are we done for this year? Most of the world seems to believe the answer to that question is yes.

Popular opinion and expert analysis notswithstanding, I am less quick to dismiss the Chiefs and I am not just saying that because I’m a homer. More on this topic later.

The week’s Double Take takes its usual stock of the Chiefs, courtesy Football Outsiders DVOA Analysis but instead of comparing Week 17 to Week 16, we’ll instead compare 2013 to 2012 which I feel is the better gauge of 2013 progess.

DVOA WCW - 2013 Table A

DVOA WCW - 2013 Table BThe preceding charts confirm that the 2013 Chiefs are, without question, a vastly improved team, in nearly every respect, over their 2012 counterparts.  One can nitpick things like Tony Moeaki playing better than Sean McGrath or Dwayne Bowe playing worse this year than last but one also has to consider that there was only 1 ranked TE and 2 ranked WRs in 2012 while there are 2 ranked TEs and 3 ranked WRs in 2013.  In other words, while perhaps not fielding a great collection of pass receiving weapons in 2013, there are at least now more viable receivers than were available in 2012.

Again, in comparison to 2012, 2013 represents a dramatic and encouraging turnaround for the Chiefs, especially considering this Andy Reid’s first year as head coach. With the exception of a change at QB, the core of the 2012 Chiefs is essentially the same as the core of the 2013 Chiefs.  Not to knock Alex Smith, but it sure seems to me the biggest difference maker in the whole equation is Andy Reid.

So, going back to my earlier question, are we done? Has this season played itself out or is it reasonable to expect still more from the 2013 Chiefs? Well, if history is any guide, there’s plenty of reason to hope. In the two charts that follow, I’ve compiled the past 20 years worth of regular season DVOA rankings of Super Bowl teams, starting with the winners first.

Super Bowl Winners DVOAIf you’re looking for some optimism that the Chiefs are good enough to win a championship right now, than look no further than last year’s winners, the Baltimore Ravens. In terms of past Super Bowl winner DVOA rankings, the Chiefs are also comparable to, or better than, the 2007 and 2011 Giants, the 2006 Colts, and the 2001 Patriots.

All that said, one should also bear in mind that almost 3/4ths of the past 20 Super Bowl winners ranked among the top 5 in Total Efficiency during their respective championship seasons. Not a guarantee for success, but a strong indicator nonetheless.

Now for the Super Bowl also rans:

Super Bowl Losers DVOAWhat this history of Super Bowl “losers” merely suggests is that we can add another 8 or 9 teams to the list of the last 40 Big Show participants that were comparable, or worse than the 2013 Chiefs. While Super Bowl history tends to favor teams that score highly (particularly among the top 5) in Total Efficiency, about a third of the teams that have made it to the Super Bowl of the past 20 years have resembled, in one sense or another, a team like the 2013 Chiefs. See there, we have a pretty good shot!

The big knock on the Chiefs is that they can’t beat good teams. No time like the present to prove that theory wrong.

First up, the same team that handed the Chiefs their most embarrassing loss of the season just two Sundays ago. The way I see things shaping up, Wild Card Weekend could signal the beginning a nice little payback run for the Chiefs.

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


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Tags: DVOA Analysis Kansas City Chiefs NFL Wild Card Playoffs

  • Trent Taylor

    One step at a time. Break the streak! GO CHIEFS!

    • DoubleD

      Yeah, I can think of one team in particular that has blocked the playoff gate for the Chiefs more than any other in recent memory. It’s nigh time to break down and smash through that gate. Saturday it ends and a new era begins.

      • Jason Seibel

        Man I hope so.

      • sidibeke

        We got the Buffalo monkey off of our backs. Let’s rid ourselves of the Colts curse, too.

  • Travis Forsyth

    assuming SD beats cincinnatti and then denver, our postseason schedule would be at colts, at patriots and vs chargers so it isn’t impossible to at least make the super bowl….but I agree with trent, let’s keep our focus on the colts and winning our first playoff game in twenty years before we start thinking super bowl.

    • DoubleD

      I doubt anybody on the Chiefs is looking past the Colts.

      • berttheclock

        Correct, but, a little different from ’95, when, many thought the “Real” game was going to be against Pittsburgh.

        • DoubleD

          This season’s Chiefs are not the type to look past anybody. Nobody believes in them, embarrassed by the Colts in the regular season, infuriating playoff history . . . I can’t imagine a game where the Chiefs would have more to play for.

          • berttheclock


  • 44WinMag

    Meh, How about they just be good enough to win the 1st playoff game in 2 decades before we start talking SB.

    • DoubleD

      One play at a time for sure but history is no reason to set the bar low. The goal should always be to win it all.

  • Davé

    Feeling a pretty dominant win at Colts then who knows. Everyone with a pick on TV and on the Internet seems to think we are going to lose Indy. I just do not agree. I think Houston being back is going to be such an emotional lift that every player on that line is going to play their best all season. I fully expect to see Luck getting sacked four times and I see him getting panicky because of the terror that Hali, Houston and Poe are going to bring. That of course will open up the secondary to make some crucial interceptions. On offense I think we truly did downplay what we are capable of against the Colts earlier and this time we will put up 28 or more rather easily. Colts simply do not have as much talent as we do in any facet of the game when we are playing healthy and it will show up here. We have more fire power on offense than the Colts and we have a better Defense if they play up to their talent level. I do not really even expect a close game.

    • DoubleD

      Wouldn’t be surprised to see Chiefs Special Teams play a key role in this game too.

  • Jordan

    Man I’m so excited for these playoffs! It just feels right this year something in the air just tells me this year is special. I think they stun the world

  • ladner morse

    Double D.. you’re breakdowns are the best. Thanks. Loved it. Great Read!

    • berttheclock

      BTW, Laddie, have you seen the great article on Andy Reid by Vahe Gregorian over at the Star? Concerns the years of Andy Reid growing up in Los Angeles. Someone should reprint it at AA.

      I didn’t want to take anything away from the fine work of Double D in breaking down the Chiefs, but, I thought you might really enjoy the other article, especially, the mention of Jim Murray and Andy Reid wanted to be a writer after following Murray’s work.

      • ladner morse

        Yes… and oddly enough, I attended Northern Arizona University too. I grew up about 25 minutes from where Reid grew up but had no idea. I’d love to read some of his pieces that he wrote for his school newspaper. Also would have loved to to see him in a Rams uni. The pictures that accompany the article are a slice right out of my own So. Cal. childhood and the clothes his parents were wearing could have come out of my parents closet. Bizarre. Pretty cool dude. Would love to sit and have lunch with him someday.

      • Bosco Cletus

        Were they joking when they said he refused to give John Wayne more than three meatballs? I assume they weren’t, man that takes balls. lol

  • Chris Tarrants

    I’ve got my homer rose colored glasses on and I’m hoping like heck that we run the gauntlet and Alex Smith leads the Kansas City Chiefs to a Superbowl victory over the team that drafted him number one and then gave up on him! Nothing like a slap in the face of Kaperdinkle and the whiny Harbaugh

  • freshmeat62

    The Chiefs can win it all, but they will have to play almost perfect games, and have no more injuries.

    The defense dominated the 1st half of the season while the offense was feeling it’s way. The 2nd half was a complete reversal, as Reid and the offense opened up, and Sutton went into a hole. Sutton doesn’t seem to have the ability to make corrections at half time, or for that matter, from one game to the next. The pick plays opponents are running to great success, are a perfect example.

    If WR’s catch the ball, and defensive players make tackles, the Chiefs will advance.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    If this team plays its best football in all three phases, there’s no team we can’t beat. Thing is, we’ve probably only played three or four games all year where each unit had their best. We’re in the dance though and anything is possible now.

  • tomflex

    Love the stats DD…I’m a big believer in data and trends,,,,big advantage in work and fun. It seems that the teams that go far this time of year are the teams with the hot QB. These are QB’s that step up and make up for his team’s weakness by making great plays. I’ve seen our QB do these things in the past and that gives me a good feeling going into the playoffs.

    • DoubleD

      I spell success g-e-l. All three phases. Smith hitting multiple receivers in stride. Charles and Davis toting the rock at will. Houston, Hali, & Poe terrorizing Luck. Chiefs secondary picking up on and picking off pick routes. Dexter & Demps running wild on returns. Colquitt nailing the coffin corner. A total dismantling.

      I see this little dance with the Colts as Earps vs Clantons. Somebody go tell Jim Irsay that Andy Reid is a comin’ and that HELL is a comin’ with him!! Yee haw! GO CHIEFS!!

      • Danny W

        Awesome read and comment.