I'm a stats guy -- I love interesting numbers. Statistics are more important and lasting in baseball than any other sport. We all know how many games Joe DiMaggio hit in a row or how many home runs Babe Ruth had or the last .400 hitter. Football just isn't like that. Tell me right now what the record for rushing yards in a season is? Or pass receptions.
Why do I bring this up? Because probably my favorite statistic in the NFL last season belonged to the Kansas City Chiefs. No wide receiver on the team caught a touchdown pass in 2014. How is that possible? Dwayne Bowe nearly did in Week 17 against the Chargers but fumbled at the goal line. On the bright side, it was recovered by tight end Travis Kelce for a touchdown in the 19-7 win. In fact, you have to go back to Week 14 of the 2013 season for the last time a Chiefs receiver found the end zone. Alex Smith hit Bowe for a 22-yard touchdown in the first quarter of a 45-10 win over the Redskins on Dec. 8, 2013. I'm praying some book does a prop on this for 2015. The team did upgrade at the position in dumping Bowe and adding former Eagle Jeremy Maclin this offseason. By the way, the last team to go a full season without a receiver scoring was the Giants in 1964.
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Kansas City was 3-5 on the road last season, 4-4 against the spread and 2-6 "over/under." The Chiefs' 2015 road schedule ranks as the fourth-hardest in the NFL with an opponents' combined 2014 winning percentage of .566. It's the toughest in the AFC West fairly sizably.
Here's the schedule with very early (opponent) odds.
Sept. 13 -- at Texans (-1.5): If I'm Houston, I'm not revealing my starting quarterback until the morning of the game. Alas, it doesn't work that way in the NFL. Arguably the two biggest difference-makers on defense from 2014 in this one in reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt of Houston and reigning NFL sack king Justin Houston of Kansas City. Chiefs better win this or they might be staring at 0-4 with Denver next, then Green Bay and Cincinnati. Kansas City beat Houston in last meeting, 17-16 in 2013 in K.C. Chiefs lose this. Key trend: Chiefs 6-4 ATS in past 10 at AFC South teams.
Sept. 28 -- at Packers (-5.5): Monday night game. On bright side, Chiefs have a few extra days to prepare off a Thursday night Week 2 game vs. the Broncos. Green Bay is off a big Sunday night home game vs. Seattle. Packers were dominant in running the table at home last season. First meeting since 2011. Chiefs lose this. Key trend: Chiefs have lost eight of past 10 as a road dog of at least 5 points (but have covered past three).
Oct. 4 -- at Bengals (-3): Cincinnati is off a Week 3 trip to Baltimore. Seriously, if you are Chiefs backer, would you trade Smith for Cincy's Andy Dalton straight up? Would a Bengals fan? I consider them nearly the same player. Chiefs have lost three straight in series, last in 2012. They lose here, too. Key trend: Chiefs 5-5 ATS in past 10 October road games as at least a 3-point dog.
Oct. 18 -- at Vikings (-1): Kansas City off a Week 5 home game vs. Chicago, while Minnesota is off its bye week. Advantage Vikings. Jamaal Charles vs. Adrian Peterson? Yes please. First Kansas City trip to Minnesota since 2003. Chiefs win this because I think they will be desperate with a 0-3 road start. Key trend: Chiefs 6-4 ATS in past 10 at NFC teams.
Nov. 15 -- at Broncos (-5): Kansas City comes off its bye week. Denver is off a trip to Indianapolis in Week 9. The Broncos beat the visiting Chiefs 24-17 in Week 2 last season and have yet to lose to K.C. since Peyton Manning joined the team. Chiefs had a good chance in that Week 2 game, but Smith's fourth-and-2 pass from the Denver 2 to Bowe was deflected with 15 seconds left. Charles missed much of the game. Knile Davis ran 22 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Chiefs lose this even though Coach Andy Reid is 14-2 after a bye in his career. Key trend: Chiefs 6-4 ATS in past 10 in series as a road dog of at least 4 points.
Nov. 22 -- at Chargers (-2.5): Sunday nighter and perhaps K.C.'s final visit to San Diego. Bolts are off their bye week. Kansas City won at Qualcomm Stadium 23-20 off its bye in Week 7 last year. Smith starred in high school in San Diego. He led the game-winning drive that culminated in Cairo Santos' 48-yard field goal with 21 seconds left. Charles rushed for 95 yards to become the all-time franchise leader and added a TD. Chiefs lose this. Key trend: Chiefs 5-5 ATS in past 10 as road dog in series (2-8 SU).
Dec. 6 -- at Raiders (+3.5): Kansas City off a home game vs. Buffalo, while Oakland is at Tennessee in Week 12. I do think this will be the Chiefs' final game in Oakland as the Raiders are going to be in L.A. in 2016. Kansas City lost in Oakland 24-20 on a Thursday night in Week 12 last season to end a season-high five-game winning streak and end the Raiders' 16-game winless streak. That was such a trap game with the Chiefs off a home win over Seattle. The Chiefs allowed two rushing touchdowns in this game. They entered it having allowed none all season. Smith threw for 234 yards and two scores. Chiefs win this. Key trend: Chiefs have covered five of their past six as a road favorite of at least 3 points vs. all opponents.
Dec. 20 -- at Ravens (-3.5): Kansas City off a Week 14 home game vs. San Diego, while Baltimore is home to Seattle the previous Sunday night. If the Chiefs are in playoff contention by this point, an upset here could be huge because they close with two should-be wins vs. Cleveland and Oakland. However, Kansas City has lost four straight in series, last in 2012. Make it five. Key trend: Chiefs 4-6 ATS (2-8 SU) in past 10 at AFC North teams.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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