From the FanPosts -Joel
The Chiefs are getting some love from the football stats gurus at Football Outsiders. From the 2010 edition of the Football Outsiders' Almanac...
There are a lot of numbers in this book that will surprise readers. One of the most surprising, though, is the figure that stands next to the “2010 Mean Projection” line in the box on this page: 8.9. Our projection system suggests that the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs will win those 8.9 games despite winning a total of ten games over the past three seasons. It projects that the Chiefs will shockingly win the AFC West, giving them a home playoff game for the first time since 2003, when Priest Holmes was still in his pomp.
Some key points in the article...
- Schedule strength - The Chiefs have the easiest predicted strength of schedule out of all 32 teams (-9.1% DVOA).
- Elite running game - Jamaal Charles turned out to be an absolute stud (like FO predicted last year), and their running game only got better with the addition of Thomas Jones. Another factor is the improvement of the offensive line with the addition of Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann.
- Healthy team - The Chiefs have been the 4th healthiest team in the NFL over the past three years (according to the FO adjusted games lost metric). Haley's conditioning program (and the influx of young players since 2008) has to have contributed to this.
- Addressed biggest weaknesses in offseason - FO picked safety as the biggest need on the defensive side and center as the biggest need on the offensive side. Both of these positions were improved over the offseason with the additions of Wiegmann and Berry (although Wiegmann is obviously a short-term solution).
- Stud players - FO picks Jamaal Charles and Tamba Hali as the biggest difference-makers for the Chiefs. They are projecting Tamba Hali to have a season similar to Elvis Dumervil's 2009.
- Weak competition in AFC West - San Diego is a one-dimensional team powered by a stellar passing offense which should regress to the mean (especially with the loss of Jackson). Denver went only 8-8 last year and has gutted their offense under Josh McDaniels. Oakland is, as always, Oakland.
I know it's still early, but it's nice to see the Chiefs getting some attention. I agree with pretty much everything they have in their article - it seems like we're on the right track.