2015 NFL Preview: Kansas City Chiefs

2015 NFL Preview: Kansas City Chiefs

In two years, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has done what he does best: win. A 20-12 record during that span and one playoff appearance has stabilized a franchise that had finished with four or fewer wins in four of the previous six seasons prior to Reid’s arrival. However, mere victories simply aren’t enough in today’s NFL. Every team wants to seize the elusive Lombardi Trophy, and the structure of the league’s salary cap has made it feasible for the majority of the Field of 32 to at the very least take a realistic stab at reaching the Super Bowl. The Chiefs are one of several teams attempting to kick down the same doors that the NFL’s elite blast through on a regular basis. KC isn’t sexy or flashy or particularly interesting, but they still have enough talented pieces to make some noise in the AFC. Here’s a preview of the 2015 Kansas City Chiefs.

Outlook: Alex Smith is still under center, so don’t expect a high-flying downfield attack anytime soon. The receiving corps added a big piece, but Jamaal Charles remains the catalyst for offensive coordinator Doug Pederson’s conservative system. This means a defense that ranked second in scoring in 2014 will have to do most of the heavy lifting. One of those heavy lifters is OLB Justin Houston, who led the league in sacks a year ago with 22. At the time of this writing, Houston and the front office are trying to hammer out a deadline deal that will keep him in Kansas City for years to come. If he doesn’t get the long-term deal he desires, there’s a possibility he could holdout once training camp opens. Needless to say, a happy Houston will go a long way to ensure the defense doesn’t slip a notch.

Later, dude: Dwayne Bowe caught 15 touchdowns in 2010. Since then he has caught 13 total, including zero in 2014. For some odd reason, the Browns were so impressed by those numbers that they inked Bowe to a 2-year, $13 million contract. One man’s trash is another something, something. Center/guard Rodney Hudson started 31 of the previous 32 regular season games; he is now a Raider. Tight end Anthony Fasano snagged seven touchdowns in the last two years, but the emergence of Travis Kelce made the veteran expendable; he is now a Titan. Reserve defensive linemen Kevin Vickerson and Vance Walker provided the front seven with excellent depth; both jumped ship, leaving the defense very green up front.

Welcome aboard: The KC receivers caught exactly zero touchdowns in 2014. To remedy this moribund situation, the front office lured Jeremy Maclin into the fold with a 5-year, $55 million deal. Maclin is a huge upgrade who was sensational in Chip Kelly’s scheme, but he isn’t worth the money they are paying. Guard Ben Grubbs has two Pro Bowls and a wealth of big game experience on his resume, which explains why he was acquired via trade with the Saints for a 2015 5th-round draft pick. Grubbs should bring savvy to a line that was an absolute tire fire in 2014. Rookies Marcus Peters and Mitch Morse will both push for playing time as the season progresses.

Over/Under wins – 8.5: On the road in Houston, Green Bay, Cincinnati, and home with Denver is how the first four games stack up. Not easy. Tripping up at home to Minnesota, Detroit, or Buffalo will have them staring at .500.

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