FanPost

What if the ‘Experts’ are wrong; What if the Chiefs just FINISHED the toughest part of their schedule?

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Ok, I know that sounds crazy and if my wife is reading this ‘it’s ok honey, put down the phone; I’m still lucid and I’m not a danger to anyone but myself.’ Everybody knows that the second half of our schedule (actually the back 7/16th) is played against teams with better win/loss records, and therefore they should be better teams, and therefore they should be harder games… but what if, in this crazy unconventional Chiefs season, this simply isn't true?

Now, so that you’ll know I’m not totally delusional, I’m not saying that the Broncos, the Chargers, the Colts, the Raiders, and the Redskins aren't any good, I’m simply saying that from an Xs and Os standpoint the Chiefs match up much better against them. So much so in fact, that I’m predicting an offensive explosion and that the defense will more than double its own stats to date in the areas of Sacks, Turnover Margin, and Defensive Points Scored (and do it in just seven games).

There are two reasons I believe this to be true and I will offer suggestions as to why:

1) Our Offensive Line will Suddenly Look Better in Pass Protection and Run Blocking

Let’s face it, we've all watched Eric Fisher struggle as a rookie adjusting to both the NFL and a new position (right tackle), but more concerning to me has been the play of our interior O Line. I am stunned that Asamoah in a contract year is not dominating. He’s doing ok, but these last few games he’s not looking as good as I would expect. Hudson however, and to a slightly lesser extent Allen, have looked over-matched.

Personally I believe this is because they were drafted to fit a Zone Blocking Scheme whereas this year we have switched to a Power Blocking Scheme – they both have a lot of heart but are a little bit ‘light in the pants’ to do what they’re being asked to do (Jeff Allen, 307 lbs – Rodney Hudson, 299 lbs). Regardless of the reason, our O Line has struggled for significant portions of games to give Alex Smith adequate time to scan the field and place a perfect ball. In truth, I marvel at what Smith has done under the circumstances. We can make much the same criticisms about run blocking, and although something can be said for coming through in the 4th quarter, I cannot help but wonder why they can’t seem to get the same results in the first three quarters? All in all, I think most fans would agree that to-date the offense has been the weakest unit on the field and that the O-Line has been the weakest part of the offense. We had hoped that as time went on our O-Line would ‘gel’ – but from all appearances, our offense is not getting any better.

I would suggest that this is an illusion. You see, the last three weeks we have been facing the best three defensive-front-sevens that we will see all season. Houston, Cleveland, and Buffalo all boast top front-sevens and the Bills may be the best in the NFL.

This is a somewhat subjective claim (although I think most would give it a general acceptance), and it’s hard to argue exactly which stats are more important to ‘prove’ the point, but I thought I would offer a couple of simple ones that, I believe, support the premise:

Yards Allowed p/gm

Rank

Total Sacks Made

Rank

Houston

267.7

#1

16

#16

Cleveland

315.7

#5

26

#5

Buffalo

362.1

#21

29

#2

We can see that all three of these teams rank in the Top 5 in ‘yards allowed’ and/or ‘sacks’; which is IMO a decent indicator of front-seven strength.

Now let’s take a look at the teams that make up our next seven games:

Yards Allowed p/gm

Rank

Total Sacks Made

Rank

Denver

380.6

#24

22

#17

San Diego

393.8

#28

20

#21

Washington

398.8

#30

21t

#19

Oakland

357.2

#19

23

#12

Indianapolis

350.7

#18

21t

#19

Does anyone’s front-seven on this list scare you? The top ranking in any category is #12 – and that’s the Raiders whom we've already beaten once.

Conclusion: Allowing that our O-Line has played well enough for us to win our last three games against top defensive front-sevens, and accepting as true that O-Lines tend to get better with experience together, there is every reason to expect that the Chiefs O-Line will perform markedly better in both run blocking and pass protection.

If the O-Line plays better, the whole offense plays better. Add this to the fact that Smith and the receivers are getting more practice with each other every week: we’re going to see a marked improvement in offensive performance.

2) Our Defense will go back to more of a one-on-one, jam-at-the-line type of coverage, and will be dialing up the pass rush another notch from what we’ve seen over the last few games...

Lately, I've been frustrated to watch novice QBs seemingly have all day to survey the field, check with their head coach to get approval, text the receiver to let them know they’re throwing their way, and then complete a pass that very well might be one of only a handful in their entire careers (when they’re 90 years old they’ll be showing tapes of the Chiefs game to their grand-kids saying, "see Johnny, I did play in the NFL once."). Actually, as much as this might be the national perception, the reality is quite different…

I would suggest that Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, Jason Campbell, and even Jeff Tuel were interesting challenges for the Chiefs. Although Campbell and Fitzpatrick were somewhat known, game-planning against all of them was a little bit of a crap shoot – but I suspect there is something more going on here. There are two factors that should be taken into account: we defense differently against mobile QBs, and the emergence of Cooper has allowed Sutton to ‘tinker’ with his secondary.

For the last five games we have faced mobile QBs (or rookies we really didn't know much about). I would expect RG III and Jason Campbell to see a Chiefs defense very similar to what the Raiders saw the first time around – the QB will sometimes be assigned a ‘spy’ and the pass rush will be somewhat slowed by the need to contain the QB in the pocket. Manning, Rivers, and Luck however are not mobile QBs. I would fully expect Sutton to let the dogs loose much like he did earlier in the year. I also suspect however, that QBs like Manning, Rivers, and Luck will expect this, study the tapes of our earlier games, and be as ready as they can. So what can Sutton do? He can do what he does best; he can tinker and innovate – and with the Chiefs talent, he’s got the personnel to do it.

Conclusion: There’s a chess game going on here on the coordinator level and we won’t see it until game-time. I do however, fully expect to see Manning flat on his back for much of the game and I think we’ll see the Chiefs defense once again look like the dominate monster that it is. This defense is built perfectly to match-up against immobile QBs that rely on timing in their routes. Prepare to see Sutton Unleashed.

Summary: Do I think the Chiefs will go undefeated this year? Probably not; but that doesn't mean the next seven games are harder. Our team was made for this.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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