The Kansas City Chiefs Are Actually Thinking Playoffs in 2013
The Chiefs making the NFL playoffs next season?
It's not a joke. The same team that finished 2-14 last season -- the laughingstock of the NFL -- and that has had only one winning season since 2007, will make the playoffs. It's possible. Doable, even.
With Kansas City bringing in Andy Reid, it's clear the team's focus is in re-tooling the offense. Good idea. It's an offense that has been dreadful overall. The only glimmer of competency has been their running game, which averaged 149.7 yard per game (which ranked fifth in the league last season). With stats like 13.2 points per game (32nd), 319.2 yards per game (24th), and 169.6 passing yards per game (32nd), its obvious why they didn't win.
Other signs that point in that direction are the re-upping of WR Dwayne Bowe and trading for QB Alex Smith. Over the last two seasons, Smith has shown he's grown into a quality quarterback, posting a 90.7 rating in 2011 and a 104.1 rating in 2012. The question he has to answer now is whether this improvement is a result of his NFL maturity as opposed to his being a cog in Jim Harbaugh's smashmouth system.
Smith may not be a gunslinger like Peyton Manning, but he's smart and athletic. He's now got his chance to confirm it in a new environment.
If the Chiefs can get protection for Smith and beef up an offensive line that allowed 40 sacks last season, we can see Smith being just as efficient as he was in San Francisco and winning games. An improvement in performance at the quarterbacking position will also take a huge load off Jamaal Charles, their Pro Bowl-caliber RB who had 285 carries in 2012. Better pass protection will also allow Kansas City's receiving corps to run its routes more cleanly and provide the downfield threat the team sorely lacks.
Additionally, with the NFL draft coming up, NFL free agency, and an average defense that could upgrade with only minor adjustments -- such as being able to stay off the field for longer stretches -- Andy Reid and Company have a decent shot at returning the Chiefs back to their glory days.