We are at the unofficial halfway point of the regular season and the Kansas City Chiefs are 7-2. They're the top seed in the AFC and have all but locked up the AFC West.
Although their record is excellent, the team has left a lot to be desired in most of their games, primarily on offense. They've had issues in shortage yardage and their points per game are down significantly. They're currently scoring an average of 23.1 points per game, by far their lowest in the Patrick Mahomes, where the next lowest is 28.2.
Despite the middling offensive performance through nine games, the Kansas City defense has been excellent. The unit is considered Top 3 to 5 among most NFL analysts, and a serious argument can be made that it's the best in football. The defense is 4th in yards allowed per game and 2nd in points allowed per game, with the Baltimore Ravens being the only team ahead of them in both areas.
Even though it may not always feel like it, the Chiefs are a bona fide Super Bowl contender and they'll be as dangerous as anyone come January.
Since the team is in the midst of their bye week and has now completed just over 50% of the regular season, now feels like a good time to hand out their midseason awards for the 2023 campaign.
Mack Lee Hill Award (Rookie of the Year)
Winner: Rashee Rice, Wide Receiver
This was the first of three awards where the was no doubt who the winner would be. Not only is Rashee Rice the only KC rookie to log at least 130 snaps, he's also clearly been the best.
Coming out of SMU, he was praised for his ability after the catch and dominating zone coverage but needed to work on beating man coverage and decreasing the drops. So far, all of those have been true in his rookie season. He's been one of the best receivers in the NFL against zone coverage while struggling against man. Although drops have been an issue at times, he leads all NFL wide receivers (with at least 20 targets) in yards after catch per reception.]
This was a no-brainer. Rashee Rice has been the only 2023 rookie to receive consistent playing time and has also proven to be the Chiefs' best wide receiver. His role should continue to increase as the season goes along, but he should be the unanimous pick for Kansas City's rookie of the year.