Sacks: 16 (2.6 per game)
Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
On its face, 16 sacks in divisional games seems like a pretty solid number. The issue doesn’t become apparent until you look closer. Nearly half of those sacks came in the season finale with the San Diego Chargers (7). In fact, the defense posted 11 sacks in the final two AFC West contests. In the other four games, they could only manage a total of five sacks. That inconsistent pressure has been a thorn in the side of the Chiefs since the new regime took office. Kansas City could stand a few more sacks this season, but more importantly, they need to spread them more evenly over the six-game AFC-W stretch.
The Denver Peak: 13 (2.2 per game)
The Chiefs actually bested the Broncos in this category. My prior suspicions prove accurate here. Kansas City generated enough pressure overall, they just need to bring it more consistently from game to game.
Turnovers: 7 (1.16 per game)
Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The turnover category trekked a similar path of inconsistency in 2014. The Chiefs only forced seven turnovers during the divisional portion of their schedule. Three of those came from the Week 17 game with the Chargers. Denver’s offense was particularly stingy with the Chiefs, surrendering just one turnover in the series. Half of the 2014 games were decided by a single possession. Turnovers are crucial in close games. Kansas City had just two in the first three divisional games and posted a 1-2 record in those matchups. The team will need to set a premium on taking the ball away in 2015.
The Denver Peak: 12 (2 per game) — Median: 9.5 (1.6 per game)
The difference here is a mere .5 turnovers per game. An average of two turnovers per contest gives the Chiefs two more offensive drives each game. Obviously, more opportunities to score potentially helps them raise their point-per-game average (which we’ll discuss in a moment). Kansas City averaged 10.8 drives per game in 2014. Two additional possessions puts them at 12.8 per contest — good for the upper third of the NFL on the season.
Next: The final ingredient...