The Kansas City Chiefs finished up to the 2014 regular season a disappointing 9-7 after a promising 7-3 start, which left 1-game back of the Baltimore Ravens for the final Wild Card spot. The claim to fame for the Chiefs last season, is they beat both of the teams who met in the Super Bowl, destroying the New England Patriots 41-14 at home on Monday Night Football and later beating the Seattle Seahawks 24-20 at home in Week 11.

Those two wins are a big reason why the Chiefs go into the 2015 season with the expectation of not only winning the AFC West, but putting together a deep playoff run. They will however, have to avoid losing games against the league’s bottom feeders, as they dropped a home game against the Tennessee Titans and lost a crucial Thursday night game against the hated Oakland Raiders.

Kansas City is now in year 3 under head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey. The two have guided the Chiefs to 20 wins over their first two years, but nothing they do will be considered a success, until they deliver the franchise’s first playoff win since 1993.

Last Season
AFC West
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
2015 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
Marcus Peters (CB), Mitch Morse (OL), Chris Conley (WR), Steven Nelson (CB), Ramik Wilson (ILB), D.J. Alexander (OLB), James O’Shaughnessy (TE), Rakeem Nunez-Roches (DT), Da’Ron Brown (WR),
Jeremy Maclin (WR), Ben Grubbs (OG), Tyvon Branch (SS), Paul Fanaika (OG)
Rodney Hudson (C), Dwayne Bowe (WR), Anthony Fasano (TE), Joe Mays (ILB), Vance Walker (DT), Kurt Coleman (DB), Ryan Harris (OT), Jeffrey Linkenbach (OG), Josh Mauga (ILB), Mike McGlynn (G), Joe McKnight (RB), Kevin Vickerson (DT), Chris Owens (CB), Desman Moses (LB)
2015 Schedule & Odds
Week Opponent Spread Win Chance
1 @ Texans +1 0.49
2 Broncos +1 0.49
3 @ Packers +5.5 0.31
4 @ Bengals +3 0.41
5 Bears -4 0.66
6 @ Vikings +1 0.49
7 Steelers -1 0.51
8 Lions +1 0.49
10 @ Broncos +5 0.32
11 @ Chargers +2.5 0.45
12 Bills -2.5 0.55
13 @ Raiders -3.5 0.64
14 Chargers -2 0.53
15 @ Ravens +3.5 0.36
16 Browns -5.5 0.69
17 Raiders -7.5 0.78
Estimated Wins: 8.17
Roster Breakdown

The first order of business for the Chiefs is to improve offensively. Despite having one of the league’s most dynamic running backs in Jamaal Charles, they managed to rank just 25th in total offense (318.8 ypg) and 16th in scoring (22.1 ppg).

Most of the blame falls on quarterback Alex Smith and a receiving corps that is well known for the fact that they didn’t have a single wide receiver catch a touchdown pass. I however, point the finger at an offensive line that was hands down one of the worst in the NFL. The Chiefs essentially lost 3 starters from the previous year, as left tackle Brandon Albert and guard Jon Asamoah departed in free agency and guard Jeff Allen was lost for the season in Week 1.

It didn’t help matters that former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher continued to disappoint. Fisher struggled mightily in his move from right tackle to left tackle. While most are calling Fisher a bust, I’m still giving him one more shot at proving himself. His 2014 campaign was greatly limited by offseason shoulder and sports hernia procedures that limited his chance to make that big jump from year 1 to year 2.

Whether or not Fisher takes that next step could be the difference maker, as Smith had little to no time to throw the ball last year. Fisher should benefit from the addition of former Pro Bowl left guard Ben Grubbs, who came over in a trade with the New Orleans Saints. They also get back Allen at right guard and Donald Stephenson at right tackle. The only question is how they replace one of the best centers in the game in Rodney Hudson. Unproven 3rd-year pro Eric Kush and 2nd round pick Mitch Morse are the two leading candidates.

As for the receiving corps, the Chiefs parted ways with veteran Dwayne Bowe, while adding in the talented Jeremy Maclin from the Philadelphia Eagles. Maclin caught 85 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns last year with the Eagles. Maclin likely won’t put up those same type of numbers in Kansas City’s run-oriented offense, but I would be willing to bet he breaks the touchdown drought for a wide receiver early in the year.

Smith’s other top target will be tight end Travis Kelce, who may be one of the best kept secrets in the NFL. Kelce led the team with 67 receptions for 862 yards and 5 touchdowns. The key will be getting someone else to step up. The other options are Albert Wilson, Jason Avant, Frankie Hammond Jr. and 3rd round rookie Chris Conley.

Improving the passing game is certainly a priority, but the focus of the offense will remain on Charles, who is a dynamic weapon both out of the backfield and in the passing game. Charles had 1,033 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground and another 291 yards and 5 scores through the air, despite playing a good chunk of the season on one leg.

The strength of the Chiefs in 2014 was their defense, which ranked 7th in total defense (330.5 ypg) and 2nd in scoring defense (17.6 ppg). While Kansas City finished 5th in the league with 46 sacks, they recorded a mere 6 interceptions (T-30th) and were -5 as a team in turnover differential. Both of those things must improve in 2015.

The Chiefs looked to feature one of the top defenses in the league again this season, but that’s not a sure thing anymore. That’s because one of the top 3-4 nose tackles in the NFL in Dontari Poe, had to have surgery in July to repair a herniated disk in his back. It’s unclear when, or if, Poe will be back this season. You could argue that no player meant more to this defense than Poe.

The pressure to replace Poe and play at a high level will be on Jaye Howard, who started and played well at defensive end last year. Also figuring to be in the mix is rookie 6th round pick Rakeem Nunez-Roches. On the bright side the Chiefs do get back defensive end Mike Devito, who missed most of last year with a torn Achillies. Rounding out the starting 3 up front will be defensive end Allen Bailey.

At linebacker the Chiefs have one of the top pass rushing duos in the league in outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Houston came up just 1/2 sack shy of tying Michael Strahan’s all-time single-season record. Hali isn’t the same force he once was, but the Chiefs are well equipped for when he starts to suffer a major decline, as 2014 1st round pick Dee Ford is waiting on his chance to play. Kansas City gets back their veteran Pro Bowl inside linebacker in Derrick Johnson. Who will start next to Johnson is still up in the air. Holdovers Josh Muaga and James Michael-Johnson, will have to hold off rookies Ramik Wilson and D.J. Alexander.

Due in large part to the pass rush of Houston and Hali, the Chiefs were dominant against the pass last year. Kansas City gave up the 2nd fewest yards through the air, allowing just 203.2 ypg. The unit returns intact, but will have a much different look. The Chiefs got surprising news when they learned Eric Berry is cleared to play, as he’s one of the top safeties in the game. Berry will be a part of a deep safety unit, which returns starters Husain Abdullah and Ron Parker, plus they added in Tyvon Branch. Sean Smith emerged as the top corner in 2014, but will be suspended for the first 3 games. Marcus Peters, who the Chiefs selected with their 1st round pick will start right away, while Jamell Fleming, Phillip Gaines and fellow rookie Steven Nelson will be in the mix.

Future Odds
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the AFC
to Win Super Bowl L
17 to 1
44 to 1
Odds Courtesty of 5Dimes

Between his time with the Philadelphia Eagles and now with the Chiefs, Reid has proven he’s a winner. He’s got a career record of 149-105-1 in the regular season, including a 20-12 mark in his first two years in Kansas City. It would be a mistake to discount the Chiefs in the AFC West, even with the Denver Broncos having won the division each of the last 4 years.

As much as I wanted to pick Kansas City ahead of the Broncos in 2015, I couldn’t pull the trigger. I still have some lingering concerns with the offensive line and how the defense is able to cope with the loss of Poe. I also don’t like the fact that Kansas City loses a home game, due to having to play the Detroit Lions in London, as Arrowhead Stadium provides a huge homefield advantage.

I have the Chiefs finishing 1-game back of Denver at 9-7, which should put them right in the thick of things for one of the AFC Wild Card spots. There’s certainly the potential for an even better season, as this team won 9 games a year ago with a sputtering offense. Not a lot of wiggle room, but I think there is some value with the Chiefs to go over their 8.5 win total, as I think 9-7 is on the low end of their potential.

AFC West Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
OVER 8.5
Chiefs 10-Year Recap
Year W L Playoffs Coach Win Total
2014 9 7 Reid 8
2013 11 5 Lost WC Reid 7.5
2012 2 14 Crennel 8
2011 7 9 Haley/Crennel 7.5
2010 10 6 Lost WC Haley 6.5
2009 4 12 Haley 6
2008 2 14 Edwards 5.5
2007 4 12 Edwards 7.5
2006 9 7 Lost WC Edwards 9.5
2005 10 6 Vermeil 9



OVER 8.5 Wins – The Kansas City Chiefs, coming into year three, are returning three of their best run defenders at each level of an already stellar defense (Mike DeVito, Derrick Johnson, and Eric Berry). The offense is also returning two starters along a troubled offensive line from a year ago (Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson). The offense is faster with receivers well-suited to Reid’s west coast offense. With new offensive weapons, returning players, and the maturation of young players like Travis Kelce and De’Anthony Thomas, the Chiefs should win 9+ games and challenge the Denver Broncos for the AFC West.

Tarek Mavani

Tarek Mavani

OVER 8.5 Wins – Here’s a few reasons why I think the Chiefs will hit over 8.5 wins in 2016:

– The o-line was easily the weakest part of the team last season; the acquisition of Grubbs, return of a healthy Jeff Allen, and a full offseason at LT for Eric Fisher are all big positives. Losing Hudson will hurt, so either Kush or Morse will have to step up (reviews have been decent so far in camp).

– Maclin was a big get for the Chiefs this offseason. He’s thrived in an Andy Reid offense before. His excellent route-running, speed, and ability to make plays after the catch is something the Chiefs have lacked at the receiver position for way too long. Albert Wilson showed some promise towards the end of last year as a number two, and D’Anthony Thomas has the ability to make some big plays out of the slot now that he’s a full-time WR.

– The Chiefs run D was pretty awful last season. A big reason why was losing DJ and Devito to achilles injuries in Week 1. Getting Derrick Johnson back is going to be huge, his ability to diagnose plays and put himself in the right position was something sorely missed last season.

Josh Brisco

Joshua Brisco
Roughing the Kicker Chiefs Podcast

OVER 8.5 Wins – I’ll take the Chiefs to come in at over 8.5 wins because I finally believe that both sides of the ball are going to come through for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in my lifetime.

The pass rush led by Justin Houston will wreak havoc on vulnerable offensive lines, the run defense will be much improved from last year, even with the absence of Dontari Poe, and the secondary is packed with an excellent mix of young talent and experienced veterans.

Offensively, Jamaal Charles (who somehow remains underrated) will remain as the core of the offense, but a still-improving Travis Kelce will continue his rise to stardom while Jeremy Maclin gives the Chiefs their best downfield threat in years. With slot receiver talent like Albert Wilson, De’Anthony Thomas and Chris Conley, the offense is built to Alex Smith’s strengths, and Smith will push his weapons to their potential.

The Chiefs have a difficult schedule and a challenging division, but barring a catastrophe, this team is built to surpass the .500 mark for the third consecutive time in the Andy Reid era.

Ben Almquist

Benjamin Almquist

OVER 8.5 Wins – The 8.5 line on the Chiefs is pretty low in my opinion. While they do appear to have a tough schedule this season, they had a tough one last year that included games against both Super Bowl teams (both resulted in a win for Kansas City). The Chiefs don’t get a lot of credit for it, but the last two seasons have shown that they are among the better teams in the NFL.

The Chiefs are returning a top notch defense that ranked 2nd in the NFL in both pass defense and points allowed. The run defense struggled, but will be bolstered by the returns of Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito who both missed most of the 2014 season.

The Chiefs have also made improvements to their outside passing game. Gone is the trio of Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, and AJ Jenkins who were unable to do much of anything. In their place is Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, and Albert Wilson. Maclin is well-known, and Avant is a decent veteran. The unknown for most folks here is Albert Wilson. Wilson came on at the end of 2014 and immediately made an impact for the Chiefs.

A dominant defense and an improved offense should be good for an 11 win season and a playoff birth for the Chiefs. So definitely take the over.

Seth Keysor

Seth Keysor

OVER 8.5 Wins – Skipping straight to the point, the number of wins I’d expect from the Chiefs this season is 9 or 10, both over the 8.5 over/under.

The Chiefs’ offense has become something of a punch line for managing the remarkable feat of not having a single wide receiver score a touchdown last year. This is just a fact, and it’s one major reason people assume the offense is going to prevent the Chiefs from winning games.

However, that stat on its own tends to ignore the fact that the Chiefs, despite some horrific receiver and offensive line play (more on that momentarily), managed to stay in the middle of the pack in scoring at 22.1 points per game. While that’s hardly an overwhelming number, it’s a far cry from pathetic and shows the flaw in calling the Chiefs a bottom-feeding offense based on the lack of WR touchdowns. Andy Reid has almost never had a “bad” offense in his time as an NFL head coach. And considering he put together an “average” offense under horrific circumstances last year, there’s no reason to assume he’ll start fielding a bad offense now.

The Chiefs fielded the absolute worst left guard and #2 and #3 wide receiver play I have ever seen last season. Mike McGlynn (LG) and the underwhelming trio of Junior Hemingway, A.J. Jenkins, and Frankie Hammond have all been upgraded on since the season ended. McGlynn has been replaced by solid veteran Ben Grubbs. The shop of horrors at wide receiver was replaced late last season (too late to make a difference) by Albert Wilson and Jason Avant. While neither Wilson or Avant are world beaters, going from “throat-punchingly bad” to “OK” is a massive upgrade. Additionally, keep an eye on DeAnthony Thomas, who has spent all of training camp playing slot WR as opposed to the non-position of offensive weapon. Word is his route running has gone from “nonexistent” to “existent.”

For all of those reasons, the Chiefs offense SHOULD be a little more competent than it was last season.

The defense, on the other hand, could be absolutely exceptional. While the temporary loss of Dontari Poe is a rough blow, the defense also sees the return of 3 defensive stalwarts in Derrick Johnson, Mike DeVito, and Eric “the miracle” Berry. It is worth noting that the defense, despite losing 3 starters (and 2 of its best players in Berry and Johnson last season), was capable of being 2nd in the league in scoring and did not allow a single 300-yard passer all season. In today’s NFL that’s a remarkable feat.

Now with the return of several stars and the addition of rookie Marcus Peters (who is drawing rave reviews at camp), the Chiefs defense (which is centered around a vicious pass rush) is poised to be even better than it was in 2014.

While anything can happen in a football season (you know, any given Sunday and all that), I would be very surprised if the Chiefs did not manage to hit the “over” on wins and get 9 or 10 in 2015.

Matt Conner

Matt Conner

The conversation around the Chiefs tends to leave out what I believe to be what everyone has been talking about with the 49ers all offseason. There’s something to be said for the coaching continuity across the board at all positions for Kansas City, especially when Andy Reid is the head coach. It’s Alex Smith’s third year in a row with his complete offensive staff. It’s the third year for Justin Houston and Tamba Hali to know Bob Sutton’s blitzing schemes. You get the picture. The Chiefs have also made a litany of moves at positions of need (offensive line, secondary) to shore up weak spots. Remember if Reid somehow doesn’t lay an opening day egg against the Titans (who picked #2 in the draft), KC makes the playoffs during his first two seasons. There are issues, but every team can say the same. Not every team has significant impact players on both sides of the ball with this much developing talent alongside a coaching staff that knows them all very well.

Gary McKenzie

Gary McKenzie

OVER 8.5 Wins – In both of Andy Reid’s seasons with the Chiefs he has gone over Vegas’ projected win total. Considering this a trend, or that the same may continue is somewhat pandering to ‘the gambler’s fallacy’ – which I’m sure the odds makers in Vegas love. However all things considered, KC and Reid going over their win line is a trend that should continue. The Chiefs are entering their third season with entirely the same HC/QB/DC/OC combination. This should spell success barring a serious injury to Alex Smith or another key contributor. They have improved at OL, WR, and at ILB. Anything under 9 wins should be a huge disappointment for this team.

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