No team’s 2013 season is more up in the air than the Kansas City Chiefs. With so many new pieces in key roles, the question marks are endless for Kansas City. The good news is, it can’t get any worse than their horrific 2012 season when they made the news for pretty much everything but playing good football.
Incompetent leadership and quarterback play were the major factors plaguing last year’s team, and the Chiefs repaired these areas with some of the best available options. Andy Reid leads an entirely new coaching staff that has Kansas City moving in the right direction, but that’s not saying much considering there is nowhere to go but up.
On defense, the Chiefs added CB Sean Smith, LB Akeem Jordan and DE Mike Devito to a starting lineup that returns four Pro Bowlers from last season. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has brought an aggressive style which seems to be working as his talented crew has looked very solid in the preseason.
On special teams, Reid made a great move in the offseason snatching coordinator Dave Toub from the Chicago Bears. Toub is one of the best at what he does and has already made a big impact in KC. The Chiefs managed five kick and punt returns of over 50 yards with two touchdowns in the preseason. With one of the best punters in the game in Dustin Colquitt, I expect Kansas City to win the field position battle almost every time out.
The offense is where the Chiefs have their biggest question marks, and it starts with the offensive line. Alex Smith is going to need much better pass-protection than what they provided in the preseason. Granted, their only real tests were against the tough defenses of the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers, but they need to step up regardless of the competition.
On the plus side, Smith handled the pressure very well, buying time with his feet and not making any dumb mistakes, whereas last year’s team would have just handed their opponent the ball. In the running game, as long as Jamaal Charles stays healthy, they should repeat as one of the league’s best rushing offenses.
With so many new faces there may be an issue of chemistry early on, but luckily the front side of the Chiefs’ schedule is soft. They will have a good opportunity to win games as they find their identity. This is a very talented team that made great moves to repair last season’s failures. With a favorable schedule in mind, I predict KC will finish the season 10-6 and sneak into the playoffs with a Wild Card spot.