A lot of people have questioned Scott Pioli's lack of attention to our run defence this offseason. A closer look at this season's schedule suggests our run defence will be pushed hard. You will find that the majority of teams we face this year are better running the ball as opposed to passing it. Let's go through each weekly opponent and see how we'd fare, keeping in mind the addition of Shaun Smith at NT, Romeo Crennel as a great defensive coordinator our run defence will improve somewhat.
Week 1: San Diego
2009 Pass yards per game: (5th)
2009 Rush yards per game: (31st)
Now granted, the chargers have drafted a great running back. However, unless he pushes their rush offence up 27 places so that it is their dominant force on offence, this team is primarily a pass offence. Our bolstered secondary should be able to contain Phillip Rivers somewhat considering he doesn't have his go-to-guy, Vincent Jackson. This game could be easier for the Chiefs than expected. I say we split the series with San Diego.
Week 2: @ Cleveland
2009 Pass yards per game: 129.8 (32nd)
2009 Rush yards per game: 130.4 (8th)
This game isn't such a shoe-in as some would expect. Jerome Harrison embarrassed the Chiefs defence last year, rushing for 286 yards for 3 TDs. That's dreadful and if it happens again the chiefs might be hard pressed for a win.
Week 3: San Francisco
2009 Pass yards per game: 190.8 (22nd)
2009 Rush yards per game: 100.0 (25th)
The 49ers are interesting. Frank Gore is a good RB. Other than that there are no other studs at the RB position for the 49ers. They have a good pass offence with Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and a protected Alex Smith. This one could be tough.
Week 4: Bye (boy do we need it too)
Week 5: @ Indianapolis
2009 Pass yards per game: 282.2 (2nd)
2009 Rush yards per game: 80.9 (32nd)
Who needs a running game when you have Peyton Manning at QB? Joseph Addai isn't great. His best game last season was against the Titans where he got a whopping 79 yards and 2 TDs at an average of 3.8 YPC. Now all we need to do is stop Manning, which we probably won't be able to do.
Week 6: @ Houston
2009 Pass yards per game: 290.9 (1st)
2009 Rush yards per game: 92.2 (30th)
This game will be similar to the Indy game. We shouldn't have a problem against the run, but the passing game will be hard to stop.
Week 7: Jacksonville
2009 Pass yards per game: 209.8 (19th)
2009 Rush yards per game: 126.8 (10th)
Maurice Jones-Drew is a great RB and we did well against him last season, limiting him to 97 yards and just the one TD at 3.3 YPC. Our improved secondary should contain there aerial attack who lost Tory Holt.
Week 8: Buffalo
2009 Pass yards per game: 157.2 (30th)
2009 Rush yards per game: 116.7 (16th)
This game could be interesting. Not only for the fact that Chan Gailey will be back in Kansas City, but also in that the Bills have some interesting players at the RB position. Fred Jackson was great for them last year but Marshawn Lynch regressed from his Pro Bowl form. Now they have CJ Spiller. This running game could be deadly. However, there lack of a QB and a WR for that matter, leaves their passing game in complete shambles. We should have the upper hand in Gailey's return to Kansas City.
Week 9: @ Oakland
2009 Pass yards per game: 159.8 (29th)
2009 Rush yards per game: 106.3 (21st)
Shock horror; the Raiders are actually making smart moves this offseason. One move that wasn't smart was getting rid of Justin Fargas, one of the few players Tom Cable could get production from on offence last year. This will help the Chiefs run defence, leaving Michael Bush as the only RB capable of doing damage. This could be a tight game for RB on both teams. Oakland have improved their front seven quite a bit. I say we sweep Oakland
Week 10: @ Denver
2009 Pass yards per game: 226.7 (13th)
2009 Rush yards per game: 114.8 (18th)
Denver have an exciting young RB in Knowshon Moreno. He had a great rookie season last season. We did a pretty good at keeping him in check in terms of yards; 86 in the first game and 50 in the second. 2 TDs in both games is worrying though. If we can limit Moreno we should be able to shut out their passing game, which lacks Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler. I say we split our series with Denver.
Week 11: Arizona
2009 Pass yards per game: 251.0 (12th)
2009 Rush yards per game: 93.4 (28th)
The Pass offence stat will be a lot different this year with no Kurt Warner or Anquan Boldin. Matt Lienhart will probably struggle. Their running game have an ok back in Beanie Wells. Overall though, their running game is their weakness. We shouldn't give up too many rushing yards. Plus Haley will know a lot of inside information on the Cardinals team.
Week 12: @ Seattle
2009 Pass yards per game: 218.9 (15th)
2009 Rush yards per game: 97.9 (26th)
The Seattle running game is pretty average. While now they have some protection on the OL and a number 2 WR, They still don't have anything overly exciting on offence. Our front seven should be able to contain their running game.
Week 15: @ St Louis
2009 Pass yards per game: 167.9 (28th)
2009 Rush yards per game: 111.5 (20th)
The Rams have one lone bright spot on offence, Steven Jackson. He worked hard for 1416 yards. He only got 4 TD's all year long, though. Containing him could be hard, but the same can't be said for their passing game; a rookie QB with no real targets to throw to. We should win this one
Week 16: Tennessee
2009 Pass yards per game: 189.4 (23rd)
2009 Rush yards per game: 162.0 (2nd)
Yes it's true, Tennessee didn't have the most yards per game last season. What they did have was the record holder for most yards from scrimmage and the leading rusher. Our secondary should do a good job of containing their relatively weak WR corps. Chris Johnson is the real problem. If we can restrict him to around 100 yards that would be impressive and should get us an easy win.
Well there it is. Overall, we face 9 teams whose strength is their running game. I hate to break the optimism here on AP, but to me this schedule is harder than once thought. While it is still relatively weak schedule our run defence will still be pushed hard. If the 2003 Chiefs vs Colts playoff game showed Chiefs fans anything, it's that great offence is pointless without a good defence. Defence wins championships. Here's to hoping the chiefs front seven get the job done this year