Profiling Cleveland Browns’ Week 8 Opponent: Kansas City Chiefs
Cleveland Browns Week 8 Opponent: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs made two big pickups in the offseason: Quarterback Alex Smith and head coach Andy Reid.
Smith had success for the San Francisco 49ers, his former team. Despite an impressive 2011, the offseason saw the Niners trying to get Peyton Manning. The team started 2012 6-2 before Smith was removed from a game against the St. Louis Rams because of a concussion. He was replaced by the strong-armed and mobile Colin Kaepernick. Despite Smith’s success, when he was ready to return, head coach Jim Harbaugh kept Kaepernick as the starter. The team went on to play in the Super Bowl. This past offseason, the Chiefs gave up a second-round draft pick for 2013 and a conditional draft pick for 2014 to acquire Smith. He was immediately named the starter by newly-hired Reid.
Reid was released by the Philadelphia Eagles after 14 years. He had been the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL. He had some of the league’s best teams and routinely made the playoffs, including a Super Bowl appearance. After four-straight seasons of declining wins, including a 4-12 record last season, Reid was fired.
Almost immediately after being unemployed, Reid was re-employed by the Chiefs. A couple of seasons ago, the Chiefs had been a team that was on the rise under head coach Todd Haley. But after staggering the last two years, he was removed, as was GM Scott Pioli. All of these were bold moves, but displayed that the Chiefs’ ownership was committed to success.
So far, they’ve found nothing less.
The Chiefs’ offense ranks 26th in the NFL in average yards per game passing (210.7), but 12th in the league in average yards rushing per game (120.0). Their 24.1 PPG is good enough for 13th.
The defense ranks fifth in total yards allowed per game (304.6). Against the pass they are third in yards allowed per game (194.7) and they lead the league in total sacks (35). Against the run, they rank 20th in yards allowed per game (109.9). They lead the league in least points allowed per game (11.6)
Their special teams rank eighth in the NFL in average yards per punt return (11.3) and fifth in kickoff returns (27.5). They rank T-14th in average punt return yards allowed (7.6) and 21st in average kickoff return yards allowed (24.8).
Despite the signing of Smith, the Chiefs' offense is built around one man: Jamaal Charles. The fast back is a threat running and receiving. He statistically leads the team in both categories. He ranks fifth in the NFL in average yards per game rushing (80.1) and leads the Chiefs in receptions (36). He has 898 total yards, 128.3 per game.
They have an excellent wide receiver in Dwayne Bowe, and they have Smith, but Charles is the guy that gives opposing defenses nightmares. If fantasy football is your thing, he ranks first in scoring among all running backs.
The defense is interesting. As mentioned, they lead the league in sacks and are on pace to break the 1984 Chicago Bears season record (72). They give up few points and shut down the run, yet give up a lot of yards passing per game. They have not allowed a team to score more than 17 points per game. A weak schedule so far in 2013 may contribute to that.
The Chiefs are relatively healthy heading into Week 8, though, they could be missing two starters: Bowe (groin) and S Kendrick Lewis (ankle). However, it would not be a shock if both men play. While Lewis did not practice Wednesday and Thursday, the same was true last week, yet he still started.
As mentioned, the Chiefs have played a pretty weak schedule in 2013. Their opponents have a combined record of 15-33. Two of the teams they faced were without their starting quarterbacks. This week they face another sub-.500 team in the Browns (2-3), who are also starting a different quarterback.
The Chiefs are a tough team, though, probably not as good as their 7-0 record suggests. Still, their chances of finishing the first half of their 2013 season undefeated is pretty good and still an impressive feat no matter who they’ve played.