Kansas City Chiefs 2017 NFL Team Preview
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2017 Kansas City Chiefs Preview
Key Additions: TE Gavin Escobar, NT Bennie Logan RB C.J. Spiller
Key Subtractions: QB Nick Foles, RB Jamaal Charles, RB Knile Davis, WR Jeremy Maclin, NT Dontari Poe
The lack of playoff success has been a bane to head coach Andy Reid so far in his stint with the Chiefs. One thing you can’t knock his team for is defense. The Chiefs have been a tough unit to crack for opposing teams. Just last season, the Chiefs were sixth in scoring defense with only 19.4 points allowed per game. And they did that despite monster pass rusher Justin Houston limited to only five games due to a knee injury. Assuming he’s going to be healthy next season, opposing quarterbacks are going to fear more losing their heads, as a 100 percent ready Houston means a return to his form in 2014, when he recorded an insane total of 22 sacks.
Houston will be a terrific complement for the Chiefs’ impressive secondary that helped the team rank first in the NFL last season in interceptions with 18. Eric Berry is the leader of that defensive unit downfield and along with the continued development of Marcus Peters, Kansas City should remain a menace for quarterbacks, who should be very hesitant throwing Peters’ way. Peters has 14 interceptions in his first two years in the league. As a team, the Chiefs’ defense has caused their opponents to throw an interception 3.02 percent of the time, fourth highest in the league.
Why has the Chiefs been such an underwhelming team in the postseason is a question that should ideally be answered first by its offense. Kansas City has put up an average of just 18 points in their last two playoff losses and the pressure is mounting for the team to show up on that side of the ball.
With the short-throwing Alex Smith under center, the Chiefs were just 23rd in 2016 in passing yards per game. That’s despite Smith recording a career high in passing yards. The Chiefs selected quarterback Patrick Mahomes, whose arm was behind the Texas Tech Raiders’ soul-crushing offense last year, but he’ll have to wait while the Chiefs squeeze what remains of Smith. Scoring when in the red zone was difficult for the Chiefs last season, as they scored a touchdown in just 47.37 percent of the time they find themselves inside the 20-yard line on offense. The loss of Jeremy Maclin over the offseason could weaken further that area for the Chiefs. Maclin accounted for two of the Chiefs’ 13 red zone touchdowns in 2016.
Key Player – Tyreek Hill
If speed literally kills on the football field, Hill could’ve been spending the offseason behind bars along with a few Dallas Cowboys with the way he punished opposing defenses in his rookie year. In 2016, Hill wreaked havoc on different situations, scoring six receiving touchdowns, three rushing, and another on a return play. He’s a big reason why the Chiefs let Maclin walk away. Maclin’s departure paves the way for a larger role for Hill this coming season, which hopefully would help improve the offense of the Chiefs overall.
Key Game – at New England (September 7)
No better way to see how prepared the Chiefs are for this coming season than a date with the defending Super Bowl champs right out of the gate—in Foxborough nonetheless. A win against the Patriots would be a huge tone-setter and confidence booster for the Chiefs, who’ll get to put their much-ballyhooed defense on an acid test against Tom Brady and company. Kansas City lost to New England on the road last season by just a touchdown, 27-20.
2016 Team Stats
|Points per game||23.8 (#13)
|Passing yards per game||229.8 (#23)
|Rushing yards per game||106.4 (#19)|
|Scoring defense||19.4 (#6)
The Chiefs, who are +190 to win the AFC West, finishes second in the division with an 11-5 record.
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