Why The Kansas City Chiefs Will Win the AFC West In 2013
When teams are granted the first overall pick in a draft, it's safe to assume said team is going into a rebuilding phase. After seeing that same team with a 2-14 record, rebuilding is a definite. Yet, in Kansas City, there seems to be an 'outlier' situation.
After being forced out of Philly, KC hired Andy Reid as their new head coach. There are no secrets with Reid; his offense is the west-coast and it relies on the little things like screens, stretches and play-action. In his tenure with Philly, Reid turned three running backs into household names and a quarterback into the face of Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup. Not to mention, he made the likes of James Thrash and Freddie Mitchell LOTS of money. (Somewhere, Dan Snyder is nodding.)
Most people forget how good Andy is. After the death of defensive coordinating legend Jim Johnson, Reid struggled to find a replacement: crumbling a talented franchise. Putting Juan Castillo is charge of the D was a bonehead move. Swapping pics with Dallas to get a huge bust in Kevin Kolb wasn't any better.
The negatives were just a few bumps in the road. Reid coached the Eagles for 13 years and made the playoffs nine of those years including a Super Bowl appearance: The man knows what he's doing.
Now let's shift to the team itself. Offensively, with the addition of Alex Smith, the Chiefs will be dangerous. Coming off a 1,500 yard season, Jamaal Charles helped make KC's rushing attack fifth-best in the league. Dwayne Bowe is a big, play-making WR in his prime. TE Tony Moeaki regressed last year, but he's young with much upside. Other pass-catcher include every style from possession (Jon Baldwin) to quick, slot receivers (Dexter McCluster). Drafting a stud tackle in this year's Draft could sure up a line that looks average on paper (because Cassell and Quinn hold onto the ball for WAY too long).
Alex Smith knows Andy's west coast system. With a running back like Charles to take pressure off him on the ground, things will open up in the passing game. Smith is literally walking into a situation just like his old one in 'Frisco (the Harbaugh version, not the Singletary one).
Defensively, this unit is talented and full of youth. Kansas City runs a 3-4 set, with their only real weakness being the d-line. Dontari Poe is young and needs to excel in his sophomore season while the rest needs to avoid the injury bug. KC linebackers are quite the opposite; three of the four were Pro Bowl selections (Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston, and Tamba Hali).
Other than young, Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry, the Chiefs' secondary is a cast of average d-backs. As a unit they rank 12th best in the NFL; however that could be due to teams going for 135 rushing yards per outing.
In terms of free agency, KC added depth were it was due. DE Mike DeVito is likely to start, adding bulk to the d-line. QB Chase Daniel and veteran TE Anthony Fasano add experience, also. (Reports have them talking to Donnie Avery for added WR depth, too.)
If Kansas City could add another d-back to its defensive repertoire, a playoff spot isn't far from reach. Oakland sucks. San Diego sucks. Denver is a neck injury away from sucking, also. Don't be surprised if KC wins the AFC West.
(I predicted them winning the AFC West last year. Take my words lightly. And no, I'm actually not a Chiefs fan.)