Revisit bread-and-butter West Coast offense
Consistency’s been an issue for the Chiefs offense over the past month of the regular season. Unsurprisingly, that stretch has also been a rough patch for rookie phenom Kareem Hunt. One might argue that the explosive offense of Kansas City’s first five games was a by-product of Hunt’s early season success. Defenses have sold out to limit Hunt and force Reid’s offense into a one-dimensional shell of itself. With the season Alex Smith is having, the Chiefs could make defenses pay for heavy fronts, but with shaky line protection, they haven’t been able to captialize.
Reid should consider a return to more traditional WCO concepts to counter the seven and eight-man looks he’s been seeing routinely since the Week 6 Chiefs-Steelers contest. The Chiefs might find success in relying less on slow-developing pass plays in favor of passes of the 3 and 5-step variety. Quick outs, screens, misdirection plays take advantage of a defense’s aggression. Getting the ball out in the flats and away from the scrum in the middle of the field will give Kansas City’s play makers space to operate and create chunk plays. With enough success, it’ll force defenses to play honest enough to make Hunt effective again inside.
Play base defense on early downs
The Kansas City Chiefs “boast” the NFL’s 29th-ranked rush defense. In recent weeks, it’s been gashed for 130 or more rushing yards in three of the last four games. That’s partly due to getting away from their base 3-4 on first and second down. Teams have exploited the Chiefs tendency to play with extra defensive backs. The good news is that Sutton’s already made adjustments with respect to this issue. The Chiefs played more of their base against the Dallas Cowboys and while they surrendered 90+ yards to Ezekiel Elliott, they did so at just a 3.5 yards-per-carry clip.
This trend should continue versus a Giants team that’s been decimated by injuries to receivers this year. The Chiefs won’t need to overcompensate to defend the pass as often against the league’s 18th-ranked pass offense. Sterling Shepard is fairly dangerous, but without Odell Beckham, Jr. on the other side, New York doesn’t present the same kind of challenge as Kansas City’s seen in its three losses (versus receiving corps like those possessed by Pittsburgh, Oakland and Dallas).