After waking up late and eating cereal out of the box this beautiful Friday afternoon, I've decided to put on my figurative big boy pants and write a piece on our beloved Kansas City Chiefs.
During my thrashing of Cocoa Puffs, I got to wondering where the Chiefs rank among the AFC teams going into the 2013 season. On one hand, Kansas City finished 2-14 last year despite many prognosticators having them winning the AFC West. On the other side, the Chiefs have seemingly reloaded and revamped both the players and coaches.
The conference doesn't appear to be terrific, with the only really solid teams being the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. Heck, even those teams have issues. New England has one superstar tight end rehabbing from a serious back surgery while the other is dealing with shall we say, legal problems.
Looking at the AFC and thinking it over, I came to my decision. All health issues aside for every team, the Chiefs are the fourth best team on paper.
Take a minute to collect yourselves. I'm sorry if you spit coffee all over the office.
Kansas City isn't as good as the Patriots or Broncos because they have Tom Brady and Peyton Manning respectively. Of course, the Chiefs could beat them any given day, but over the course of a 16-game schedule it's tough to see the Alex Smith outshining those teams.
The Houston Texans are the other team I would put ahead of Kansas City in talent. They've been to the Divisional round two years consecutively and have J.J. Watt, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Johnathan Joseph, Brian Cushing and Matt Schaub. It's tough to say the Chiefs are better, although Gary Kubiak is terrible.
In my view, the Baltimore Ravens are still a decent team but a fringe playoff contender. It's tough to regroup from losing so much talent in the form of Matt Birk, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis (old and slow, but a leader), Anquan Boldin, Vonta Leach, Dannell Ellerbe, Bernard Pollard and Paul Kruger.
The same can be said for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Any team with Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger deserves a ton of respect, but who else scares you on that team?
One team I rank neck-and-neck with the Chiefs is the Cincinnati Bengals. I believe Andy Dalton is a similar quarterback to Smith, and A.J. Green is nasty. On top of that, Cincinnati has the most underrated defense in the league with Geno Atkins and co.
Then you have the Indianapolis Colts, who I believe will regress a bit. Coming off one of the easiest schedules in the league, the Colts will have a much tougher docket and still need to upgrade quite a few spots.
Kansas City has dynamic playmakers in Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe along with a very good offensive line. On defense, how many teams have players such as Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Eric Berry?
With a very good coach and an aggressive defensive coordinator, I expect the Chiefs to be one of the better teams in the conference. This whole scenario has been played out before in Kansas City, when Marty Schottenheimer came to town in 1989. The team immediately won eight games before ripping off six straight playoff appearances.
This group that Andy Reid inherits is better than the team Schottenheimer took over.
I've placed the Chiefs as the fourth best team in the AFC heading into training camp. Where do you put them and why?