Kansas City Chiefs
2014 Record: 9-7, missed playoffs, 2-3 in last five
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1st: 12th in DVOA* overall offense (14th pass, 5th rush) | 19th in DVOA* overall defense (13th pass, 26th run)
2nd: Middle of the road against all receiver types according to DVOA. But only three teams allowed more receiving yards per game to WR2s than the Chiefs (8.7 pass attempts per game, 66.9 yards per game), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.
3rd: Key loss: WR Dwayne Bowe | Key addition: WR Jeremy Maclin
4th: Considered making Tyvon Branch the top addition for a defense that ranked 19th overall last season and 26th against the run — Branch has four 94-tackle-or-better seasons in his career. But Maclin is an interesting addition. Everyone sort of feels like Dwayne Bowe was long in the tooth. Now he’s in Cleveland and Maclin takes over as the top target for an excited Alex Smith. The Chiefs have been in the bottom eight in passing attempts every season since 2008, but DVOA suggests they’re offense could be better than advertised. Travis Kelce is the No. 2 option and Jamaal Charles is third. Unless the Chiefs really open things up, there really isn’t much opportunity for other receivers in this offense. Defensively, I love the Branch addition and the decision to pay Justin Houston. It’ll help if Dee Ford can become more than just a pass rusher and improve that 26th-ranked run defense.
*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.