Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles is on pace for Week 1 but he’ll have company in the backfield this season
The Kansas City Chiefs started off poorly in 2015, allowing 30-plus points in losses to the Broncos, Packers and Bengals. It went from bad to worse when Jamaal Charles (knee) was lost for the season in Week 5 and by this point, people were calling for Andy Reid’s head.
The tune changed when KC won its next 11-straight games, including a 30-0 playoff blowout in Houston. It was the club’s first postseason win since 1993, and given the current landscape of the AFC West, expectations for a home playoff game this season are high.
LAST YEAR’S RECORD & 2016 NFL FUTURES
Win-Loss: 11-5 SU and 8-8 ATS
Over/Under: 8-7-1 O/U
Noteworthy: The Chiefs have played “Over” their posted SWT three-straight times since falling short in 2012 (2-14 SU record). In his 17 NFL seasons as head coach, Reid has averaged 9.48 regular season wins per year.
Alex Smith set a personal best for passing yards in 2015, and kept his interceptions to single-digits for a fifth-straight season. Smith hooked up with WR Jeremy Maclin eight times and has a nice compliment of tight ends that are becoming a bigger part of the team’s offense.
Kansas City’s rushing attack is potent, with Charles backed by Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware. Smith also rushed for 35-plus yards five times during the regular season and KC won all-five games. O-Co Doug Pederson has moved onto Philly but Reid calls the plays and new co-coordinators Brad Childress and Matt Nagy know how big an asset Smith’s mobility is to the team.
The Chiefs made trade deals to secure nine draft picks this year; none in the first round but five in the top 126 slots overall. Three of those five were on the defensive side and DT Chris Jones (top pick) adds even more depth to a front seven ranked as the sixth best overall last season.
LB Justin Houston (43 sacks from 2012-14), is coming back from an ACL and could miss the opener (Check status). Even without Houston, the Chiefs were fifth in sack percentage (7.2) and second in third down efficiency (67-percent).
CHIEFS BOTTOM LINE: BACK ON TRACK
The Chiefs are the first NFL team in more than 25 years to lose five-straight times during a season and still reach double-digit wins. Only 13 slumpers in that span have even managed a .500 record and during the next season, those 13 went 9-4 ATS in Week 1. Favorites of -3 or more went 5-0 ATS and the early line for KC vs. San Diego is Chiefs -7.