From the FanPosts -Joel
Tried to insert this as a FanShot because I don't have much to say about it, but apparently you can't do paragraphs and I wasn't about to gloss your eyes over with wall-text. So then I figured I would just add more random bits of information to make it worth a FanPost. :)
The Vegas lines are about what you would expect and won't make any of us happy. The expectation, after a surprise surge to 11 wins last year, is a regression of 3 games. Surrounding that is the possibility of 6 - 10 or 11 - 6 and another road playoff bout.
This link takes you to Football Perspective, where Chase Stuart (and others) do superb stat work on all sorts of things. His post uses early Vegas game odds to give us a rating for each team, which he then runs through thousands of iterations using excel to arrive at an SRS, or Simple Rating System.
If you already know or simply don't care (you're breaking my heart...), you can skip this.
SRS is what Pro-Football-Reference uses on it's main page to rank teams. The Chiefs were the 2nd best SRS team in the AFC last year -- and because this already takes into account strength of schedule, it means a lot that the Chiefs are still ranked high.
A full explanation is here; but essentially SRS is determined by margin of victory + strength of schedule, which gives you a rating for each game that helps determine your overall rating. You beat a team ranked +0.3 by 3 points? That gives you a game score of +3.3. Only problem is, once you account for that game, and say you beat the other team, their rating changes because you beat them, and your rating does too. So you have to re-do the math. Again. And again. And again. You do it thousands of times until the numbers stabilize and you arrive at a very "simple" rating system that takes into account margin of victory and strength of schedule.
Pretty nifty. And the Chiefs were 7th in the whole NFL last year.
Back to Business
If you check out the Football Perspective link, you can search "Chiefs" in the box to get only the Chiefs games. Sort it by the Vegas Line or the Projected SRS Line and you do get some...
Vegas has the Chiefs slightly above .500, really, at 8 - 7 - 1. The "1" comes from a Miami game where Vegas says "push," and in case you were wondering where the 8th win comes from, it's just a safe assumption based on the line for the @SD game. Since Vegas does not release odds for Week 17 games this early (I guess because they're the hardest to predict given injuries, sitting your starters, worthless games, etc.), I went ahead and assumed the Chiefs would be favored at home verse Philip Rivers since they are barely dogs on the road.
Other good news? The Chiefs are only expected to lose two games by at least a touchdown (@San Francisco and @Denver), and every other loss is within a field goal -- i.e., it will be close. This means Vegas believes the Chiefs will be competitive in every game.
I went ahead and tallied every game for the best teams in the league where the "Proj. SRS Line" (which is a function of the Vegas line and almost identical to it) thought a team would lose by more than a field goal -- i.e., at least 3.1 points.
As you can imagine, a team like Jacksonville is expected to lose a lot of games. They have, in-fact, a league-high 13 games where Vegas thinks they aren't even within 3 points.
Just to put a smile on your face, the Oakland Raiders are projected at 11 losses by at least 3 points.
Here, however, are the top 10 teams:
2 - Eagles
2 - Panthers
2 - 49ers
2 - Chiefs
1 - Packers
1 - Colts
1 - Broncos
1 - Patriots
0 - Saints
0 - Seahawks
For units like New Orleans, this is a function of an easy schedule. They don't play any NFC or AFC West squads, except San Francisco, and that's at home.
For Kansas City, with its ridiculous schedule this year (they play 5 games against the above teams), consider their ranking a point of optimism.
This follows well with how the Chiefs played last year. They may have "shocked" everyone with their start to the season, and with their overall record, but, more importantly perhaps, they never looked like they didn't belong in any of their losses (save the first Colts game, and we know not to put too much stock in that). They also blew a couple teams out. Big wins and a lack of big losses means you have a team that can compete week-in, week-out.
The Chiefs are lined up to win at least 5 games by more than a field goal, but 4 of those are at home. Seattle and Denver are expected to win 11 such games; San Francisco 8; Indianapolis, 7; New England and New Orleans, "only" 6.
The Arrowhead Advantage is important, but if Andy Reid and Co. want to ensure back-to-back playoff births, they will have to be road warriors.
Kansas City plays the Dolphins, Bills, Chargers, Cardinals, and Steelers in road games that Vegas sees as near "toss-ups", and assuming things go well at home (think: 6 - 2 as a nice median), it is these 5 toss up road games that will "make-or-break" the Chiefs post-season aspirations.
Assume a win @OAK and the Chiefs are 7 - 2. Assume two losses @SF and @DEN (not necessarily good assumptions ... !!) and the Chiefs are 7 - 4. That's why I say these 5 road games are "crucial" in that overly-dramatic way in which one game can be more crucial than another in late May.
Anyways, it is in-fact almost June, so here's your fix of pointless-but-totally-necessary, "What's going to happen 3 months from now!?", speculation, AP. Enjoy!