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Alex Smith is outplaying the rest of the AFC West

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Through three weeks, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is the best quarterback in the AFC West, and if it wasn’t for Tom Brady’s five-touchdown performance last Sunday against Houston, he could be making a case for the best quarterback in the AFC.

Yeah, you read that right.

It appears that Smith has found the right formula so far in 2017. Not only has he excelled in passing statistics, but he’s led the Chiefs to a 3-0 start and a first place lead in the AFC West.

The season’s still young, but Smith has excelled and reinvented himself in some ways. He hasn’t displayed the stereotypical “check-down Alex” that fans and the league has grown so accustomed to. Smith ranks first (statistics taken from profootballreference.com) in passer rating—his posting of 132.7 is 11.2 points better than the second-best—over Brady.

Smith also ranks at the top of the league in pass completion percentage (77.4 percent), passing touchdown percentage (8.3 percent) and game-winning drives (two).

Through his first three games of 2016 against the Chargers, Texans and Jets, Smith had a completion percentage of 66.95 percent, three touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 90.6.

In addition to his league-best completion percentage this season, Smith has thrown for seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. Those statistics alone indicate that Smith appears to have taken a turn for the better this season.

Granted two of those touchdowns came on shovel passes to Travis Kelce and Albert Wilson, but anyone who has watched each game of 2017 for the Chiefs would say that this isn’t the same Smith we’ve seen in years past. And he’s outplaying Philip Rivers, Trevor Siemian and Derek Carr.

While Rivers has the longest career in the division and has been relatively successful, the two quarterbacks that show the most promise for 2017 are Smith and Carr.

Here’s a breakdown of how the quarterbacks in the AFC West have fared so far:

AFC West QB Statistics through Week 3

Quarterback Completions Attemps Completion Percentage Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rating Yards per Attempt
Quarterback Completions Attemps Completion Percentage Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rating Yards per Attempt
Derek Carr 64 91 70.33 610 6 2 101.4 6.7
Philip Rivers 73 112 65.18 760 4 4 81.7 6.79
Trevor Siemian 63 100 63 709 6 4 87.5 7.09
Alex Smith 65 84 77.38 774 7 0 132.7 9.21
Statistics via Pro Football Reference

It’s noteworthy that Smith has the most passing yards among the quarterbacks but has the least amount of pass attempts.

The #NewAlex is throwing---and, more importantly, completing— the ball down field, which is great to see for Chiefs fans. Smith ranks fourth in the league in yards behind Jared Goff, Brady and Matt Ryan.

Can Smith keep this up as the season continues? Sure, he can. Will he? I honestly don’t know. It appears that Andy Reid has this offense structured to Smith’s skill set, which is something that is so beneficial and not every coach can pull it off.

We’re only three weeks in, so Smith’s performance against Washington on Monday night could show the rest of the country that Smith’s for real this year and wants to prove analysts and fans wrong in the wake of the team drafting Patrick Mahomes this offseason.