Before we can predict if Kareem Hunt and the Chiefs rushing attack will rebound after the bye week, we first need to try to figure out if the drop had more to do with Hunt and the Chiefs or more to do with the defenses they were facing. So I thought I would look at the season averages of the teams that the Chiefs faced both during their five game win streak and during their current 1-3 slump. Here’s what I found:
5-0 start, opposing defenses have allowed: 105.9 rushing yards/game and 4.3 yards/carry
1-3 slump, opposing defenses have allowed: 103.2 rushing yards/game and 4.1 yards/carry
Author’s Note: All the stats in this post were figured BEFORE Sunday’s slate of games.
So technically you could say that the rushing defenses that K.C. faced during their current slump are slightly better overall, but not NEAR enough of a difference to justify Hunt going from 121.4 yards and 6.3 yards per carry to 47.8 yards and 3.3 yards per carry. In fact, I bet if you took out the huge totals Hunt put up against the defenses in their first five games and the measly totals he put up lately you would find that the opposing defenses during their slump weren’t any better at all at stopping the run against the rest of the NFL.
To me that says that the drop off has more to do with Hunt and the execution of K.C.’s running game than it has to do with the opposing defenses. About the only excuses you could make in their defense is that opposing defenses may have began to sell out to stop the run more after Hunt’s ridiculous start to the season. Even then, this clearly has a lot to do with the Chiefs ability to execute in the run game.
The other excuse would be the injuries to Mitch Morse and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif catching up to them. If both Morse and LDT are back to close to 100% healthy after the bye week, that should help the Chiefs out. Plus, if Hunt has been banged up or just worn down the rest should do him some good too. However, if Hunt was that worn down after the first nine games it may not speak well to him rebounding over the final stretch of a 16 game season.
So what about the run defenses that the Chiefs will face after the bye? Will the Chiefs have an easier time? I looked at that as well.