Few teams in the NFL have more uncertainty coming into the 2013 season than the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite finishing 2-14 in 2012, some expect pretty big things from the team this year. The Chiefs have a very talented roster, but failed last season due to ineptitude where you absolutely can’t have it — at quarterback and with the coaching staff.
The Chiefs were aggressive in addressing all of their major issues this offseason, and did very well, considering the options. With decent quarterback play from Alex Smith, Andy Reid and company, the Chiefs could make a swing similar to the Indianapolis Colts, who went from 2-14 in 2011, to 11-5 in 2012.
Best Case Scenario: The Chiefs’ schedule starts soft, with only one 2012 playoff team in their first nine games heading into their bye in week 10. The Chiefs could take advantage of this and start the season 7-2 , while they’re building chemistry and finding their identity.
Their final seven games feature four playoff teams from last season, two at home and two on the road. The Chiefs could split those and sweep the rest, to finish the season 12-4. A 10 game improvement from last season seems far fetched, but it is very possible.
The defense and special teams for the Chiefs are looking great and could both be among the league’s best. On offense, the line will definitely need to step up from their showings in the preseason. If they give Smith some time, he could make big things happen with all of the Chiefs’ weapons. If they can protect the ball and get quality quarterback play out of Smith, this team could win their first playoff game in almost 20 years.
Worst Case Scenario: The Chiefs just about reached their worst-case scenarios these past couple of seasons. In 2011, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry and Tony Moeaki all had season-ending injuries before week three. In 2012, they couldn’t get in the end zone, led the league in turnovers, had to deal with the Eric Winston rant, and endured the tragic Jovan Belcher murder-suicide.
Whatever happens next, it couldn’t be as bad as last season. With Smith under center, the offense will not lead the league in giveaways again. On top of that, the team is much more equipped to deal with key injuries this year, but if Charles does go down again, it will be a major hurt. He is the most irreplaceable player on the team; backup running back Knile Davis has big potential, but major issues with ball security.
Again, this is a very talented team that no longer has incompetent leadership or the worst quarterback situation in the league. Even if the injury bug hits them hard, I expect the Chiefs to finish the season with at least six wins.