Following a humiliating road defeat at the hands of Denver, the Chiefs have responded by stringing together convincing wins against a couple of marginal NFC West teams. Our offense, with good blocking, sound quarterbacking, a killer running game and threadbare cupboard of receivers, is beginning to compile some pretty impressive numbers. We can speculate all we want about how we match up against San Diego as we enter the final stretch but the only question that really matters to me right now is, have the Chiefs made the right adjustments since Denver to avoid a similar debacle this coming Sunday? We’ll see if DVOA analysis can shed any light on that question just beyond the jump.
If you’re new to DVOA analysis, you can read up on it at Football Outsiders.
Additional stats of interest:
The first thing that sticks out to me is just how much of a positive impact Dwayne Bowe is starting to have upon our offense. Cassel’s numbers continue to edge pleasingly upward, Jamaal Charles is still who he is, but Bowe’s performance last Sunday shot his DVOA ranking all the way from 27th to 13th and his DYAR ranking from 15th to 4th. While Charles, Cassel, and the OL’s performance all contributed in varying degrees to the Chiefs moving from 13th to 7th in Team Offense DVOA, it was most likely Bowe who had the greatest impact on that happening. Also, when you take into consideration that DVOA statistics are cumulative over the season, you tend to get a little better sense of the quality of performance Bowe put up against the Seahawks.
The next thing that should catch your attention is our defensive stats. DVOA analysis suggests we may have at least stopped the hemorrhaging for the time being. The patient is still in ICU though – the front 7 in particular continues to show negligible impact in the passing game. Considering we are facing one of the league’s best passing attacks this Sunday, I have to believe that ratcheting up our ability to pressure the opposing QB is ranking pretty high on Todd Haley’s / Romeo Crennel’s priority list this week. Perhaps going with a 43 defense, if only for one week, might be a little more effective in slowing down Orton and company?
Special Teams – what more can I say? Seriously! We’ve gone from being among the best in the league to among the worst. That is not healthy, that is not progress, and unless that gets turned around, that is bound to cost us a game or two. I mean is it really okay to allow Kyle Orton, or Phillip Rivers, to start any possession around midfield or better? Seems to me that doesn’t provide a whole lot of bend for any bend-but-don’t-break strategy.
Lastly, let’s close with how we match up against our next opponent, the Dirty Donkeys.
While the Chiefs possess most of the statistical advantages, the things that really thumped us 2+ weeks ago at Mile High have not really changed all that significantly. Kyle Orton is playing very well and he still has beaucoup legit receiving targets. It should go without saying that we should not be concerned so much about our offense as we should be with our defense. In fact, I’m not even really concerned about our run defense for this game. On paper and in reality I suppose, we still do not seem to have any kind of an answer for Denver’s passing game. The outcome of this game will rest primarily on the shoulders of our defense, and cliche or not, it really does all start up front. If we are unable get to Orton, I see little reason to believe he will not again light us up as before.
That wraps up my Double Take for this week. What’s your take Addicts?