2013 Record: 11-5
Around this time last year, the KC Chiefs were a real trendy pick to take a Wild Card spot thanks a strong defense and explosive running game. Instead, they went 2-14, costing GM Scott Piolo and Coach Romeo Crennel their jobs. But still some analysts are picking the Chiefs to make a run for it this year! The reason for it has a lot to do with their rapid rebuild. They hired former Eagles coach Andy Reid, traded for 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and drafted tackle Eric Fisher with the first overall pick of the Draft. And if there were a single reason for the Chiefs’ 2012 disaster it would definitely have to be the quarterbacking situation. Matt Cassel looked nothing like the QB he was in 2008 or even 2010 and backup Brady Quinn was even worse. In their last seven games, including six losses, they scored more than nine points just twice. Jamaal Charles (1,509 yards, 5.3 yards per carry) still powered through for a great season, though. And in a huge offseason resign, the Chiefs retained wideout Dwayne Bowe. After Bowe and Donnie Avery there’s very little depth at wide receiver, but big Tony Moeaki is joined at tight end by Anthony Fasano. Smith is no Hall of Famer, as San Francisco fans can confirm, but he is a great game manager under a system that works with him. Reid is supposedly great at developing quarterbacks and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made him a system that worked, so Smith can work here.
The Chiefs actually had a strong passing defense in 2012. That’s highly rare for a team with such a bad record. But it definitely wore on the defenders’ morale knowing that little to no points would come from the offense to give them a cushion. The offense couldn’t stay on the field to put together complete drives. But behind Smith, Charles, Bowe, and Avery, that should be less of a problem. The secondary is absolutely stacked at Arrowhead. Cornerback Brandon Flowers is joined by former Dolphin Sean Smith, and backed up by former Falcon Dunta Robinson. Eric Berry is perhaps the best strong safety in the league despite a down 2012 season. Berry and linebackers TambaHali and Derrick Johnson all went to the Pro Bowl. Hali and fellow linebacker Justin Houston combined for 19 sacks. And up front at nose tackle, 2012 first-round draft pick Dontari Poe has a bright future ahead despite a rookie season with no sacks. The offense should be exponentially better than 2012 and the defense will feed off of that, using Pro Bowl talent and new additions to keep this team in contention all year long.