If it wasn’t for the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams, the Kansas City Chiefs would have to be considered the bottom-feeders of the NFL the past three seasons, but thanks to those two K.C. simply has the title as worst franchise in the AFC in that stretch (yes, even worse than the Raiders) with a cumulative 10-38 record.
However, the team has generally gotten very good draft grades the past few years, so it should start to show improvement, right? Unfortunately some of those well-regarded picks haven’t panned out. For example, 2008 No. 15 overall pick Branden Albert was solid as a rookie tackle but not very good last year, committing 10 penalties and allowing nine sacks, which was fifth most in the league. And wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, a 2007 first-rounder, seems to have regressed after a good start to his career and had 11 drops last year.
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Perhaps the Chiefs should stop drafting former LSU defensive linemen. Tyson Jackson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft, has been nothing short of terrible, while Glenn Dorsey, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2008 draft, has been average at best. Reportedly 2008 undrafted free agent Wallace Bilberry is looking better than both and could push one to the bench (probably Jackson). Kansas City hopes it finally it a home run with former Tennessee star safety Eric Berry, who was taken No. 5 overall this year and should start right away. The Chiefs need something to change on defense as they were second-to-last in rush defense and just 22nd against the pass in 2009. Maybe new coordinator Romeo Crennel will fix that.
One big bright spot last year was running back Jamaal Charles, who took off once he was given the featured back role midway through last season. In the final eight games, he rushed for 968 yards and seven scores, including four of at least 44 yards. He rushed for a team-record 259 yards in the season’s final game at Denver. Yet Charles is currently No. 2 on the depth chart behind free agent signee Thomas Jones, the former Jet. At worst the Chiefs should have an excellent 1-2 punch there. And that can only help Matt Cassel, who last season hit 55 percent of his passes for 2,924 yards and 16 touchdowns. But he also had 16 interceptions. Was he just a product of the Patriots system? Maybe new coordinator Charlie Weis will fix him. Chiefs pass-catchers did lead the NFL last year with 48 drops.
There appears to be a lot of talent on this team and, thus, some consider the Chiefs a big sleeper this year if all those former first-rounders can play up to where they were drafted and Cassel can get more accurate. BetUS lists the Chiefs’ ‘over/under’ for NFL season win totals at 6.5. Let’s break down the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs schedule (all times Eastern):
Week 1: Monday, Sep. 13, San Diego, 10:15 PM
Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 19, at Cleveland, 1:00 PM
Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 26, San Francisco, 1:00 PM
Week 4: BYE
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10, at Indianapolis, 1:00 PM
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 17, at Houston, 1:00 PM
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 24, Jacksonville, 1:00 PM
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 31, Buffalo, 1:00 PM
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 7, at Oakland, 4:15 PM
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14, at Denver, 4:05 PM
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21, Arizona, 1:00 PM
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 28, at Seattle, 4:05 PM
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 5, Denver, 1:00 PM
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12, at San Diego, 4:15 PM
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 19, at St. Louis, 1:00 PM
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 26, Tennessee, 1:00 PM
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2, Oakland, 1:00 PM
This is ranked as the 22nd-overall toughest schedule in the NFL with an opponents’ 2009 winning percentage of .488 (125-131). There are only four games against playoff teams.
The Chiefs unveil a remodeled Arrowhead Stadium this season and get to do it on the “Monday Night Football” nightcap against the Chargers. It’s the first time that Kansas City has ever opened the regular season on MNF. Things don’t look promising there considering the Chargers beat Kansas City 37-7 and 43-14 last season. Chargers QB Philip Rivers threw for 600 yards and five TDs total in the two games and was never sacked. Last year the Chargers won their final 11 regular-season contests.
K.C. won only one of its first eight games last year and one of its first 11 in 2008. That Browns game is a rematch of Week 15 last year when Cleveland, which finished last in total offense in 2009, put up 41 points in winning by a touchdown (thanks in large part to two Josh Cribbs TD returns). Crennel gets to face off against the team he coached from 2005-08.
The Niners could be caught in a trap after facing the Saints the week prior to K.C., then comes a too-early bye for the Chiefs. Losses at Indy and Houston seem like locks before the Chiefs get a stretch of seven games where it wouldn’t be a shock if they happened to win any of them. The Jaguars will be on a short week of a MNF game and the Bills are just plain lousy. In a total oddity, the Chiefs have won in Oakland the past three years but have lost at home to the Raiders each of those years. And, of course, the Chiefs won at Invesco Field last year for the first time behind Charles’ big game. Neither the Cardinals nor Seahawks are expected to sniff .500 this year. That does have back-to-back USC ties for Cassel, as he sat his entire career behind Arizona’s Matt Leinart and of course the Trojans were coached by Pete Carroll.
K.C. opens December with its third set of back-to-back road games before finishing with two in a row at home. I think the oddsmakers at BetUS were slightly too optimistic at this looks like a 6-10 schedule to me, so take the ‘under’.
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