Welcome to the first week of the regular season, as well as the first issue of “chiefStats.“ Each week we will weed out five topics and discuss the statistics surrounding them leading up to the game.
I am hoping to offer unique content through the season that will only be discussed here. I am also excited to announce this article will be complemented with a video discussing one of the topics. I am excited for this new setup, and at the same time, any feedback is more than welcome.
Now let’s get down to the five topics:
1. Who is Philip Rivers’ Father?
Fortunately for me, I made a video with images. So I can plop them in the article and discuss.
So you’re telling me that Bob Sutton has basically turned Philip Rivers into Kansas City’s average year from Matt Cassel? For all the crap Chiefs fans have given Bob Sutton (some of it deserved), the Chiefs defense has done great against Rivers.
So perhaps Bob Sutton is Rivers’ father...
No. 2 Is Keenan Allen’s Presence Relevant?
So we all know Keenan Allen has a checkered injury history. He has missed 27 games over the course of his career - that’s roughly one-third of his potential starts. The question is, does Allen’s presence on the field swing things in the Chargers’ favor?
The Chargers have played terribly on offense without Allen against the Chiefs. 10 points per game is an embarrassment.
If you look more closely at the numbers you’ll see that Keenan Allen boosts the number of wins for the Chargers, he boosts Rivers’ stats, and he boosts his team’s overall offense.
So to answer the question, yes Keenan Allen is relevant in this game and I hope the Chiefs are prepared to stop him.
No. 3 No Marcus Peters (Oh noooooeeesss)
I get it, hot topic, but it’s in the past. I don’t like talking about the past, but I saw a number of Chiefs fans say the following on Twitter this week:
The reason the Chiefs defense has done well against the Chargers is only due to Marcus Peters, nothing else.
So I felt it was a valid question — Was Peters mostly to credit for the Chiefs defensive success against Rivers?
For starters, Peters’ replacement — Kendall Fuller — actually graded out higher on Pro Football Focus than Peters in 2017. This means the individuals who watch countless hours of tape believe Fuller to be better than Peters.
Because of Fuller’s presence, I believe not having Peters in this game is a wash. Let’s look at the numbers though...
The difference between having Peters and not having Peters is night and day.
With Peters on the field Rivers averages an astounding 1.7 interceptions per game. If you stretch that number for an entire season, that’s 27 interceptions a year!
Also to note is the Chargers’ offense scores 10 less points per game with Peters on the field when compared to the Chiefs not having Peters on the field.
So while I believe adding Fuller neutralizes the loss of Peters, looking at these numbers does have me slightly concerned.
We all love the interceptions Peters was able to generate while in Kansas City, and I believe Peters is a better ball hawk than Fuller. However, I also believe Fuller is a better cover corner than Peters.
I hate to say it, but at this point in time, I have no idea if Peters’ absence will mean anything for the Chiefs. We’re going to have to wait and see how this plays out, but I do believe the move from Peters to Fuller is a wash... so if that’s true shouldn’t the Chiefs defense play well?
4. What’s up, Gus?
Which Gus are we talking about? Well, that would be Gus Bradley, the Chargers’ defensive coordinator.
In 2009 Bradley took over the defensive coordinator position for the Seattle Seahawks. While working as the Seahawks DC, Bradley gradually turned their defense into one of the best units in the entire NFL. Bradley was largely responsible for the construction of the Legion of Boom which won a Super Bowl in 2013.
Before Bradley could be part of that Super Bowl team, he chose to take a head coaching position at Jacksonville. While at Jacksonville the team struggled to win games, but if you look at the improvement to the Jaguars secondary under Bradley, it’s hard not to see why he is considered one of the best defensive coaches in the NFL.
Bradley converted a terrible Seahawks defense, and a bad Jaguars defense, into absolutely dominant defensive units. If you look at the Chargers’ progress with Bradley, you can see he’s doing the same again — assembling a very stout defense.
The Chargers had great passing and overall defense in 2017. Needless to say, things won’t be easy for Patrick Mahomes on Sunday.
However, even with the Chargers’ great success on defense, they were dead last in the NFL in yards per rushing attempt allowed. It could be the Chiefs decide to run the ball more often than usual on Sunday, and they have the personnel to do it.
It could be Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware saying, “Whats up, Gus?” all game long Sunday.
5. Preseason Mahomes
Mahomes had a great preseason, and the numbers agree with me.
Mahomes’ completion percentage and yards per attempt in the preseason would have finished at first overall in 2017. Very impressive.
Mahomes' passer rating in the preseason was 103.5.— Gary McKenzie (@Super_G_Chiefs) September 5, 2018
In 2017 QBs who threw for a 103 rating or greater went 130-25. (min 14 attempts)
I don't care how bad the defense may or may not be, if Mahomes is able to play like he did in the preseason the Chiefs will win a lot of games.
Needless to say, if Mahomes can continue his preseason play into the Chargers game the Chiefs should win. It won’t be easy though, since he’s facing a tough Gus Bradley defense.
I also think it’s unfair to expect Mahomes to average a quarterback rating at or above 103, but if he can have several games where he eclipses that mark the Chiefs will win most of them.
I’m very interested to see how and if Mahomes carries his preseason success into the regular season.