Last week, the Chiefs erased our concerns about a post-Patriots let down by putting together the most complete game of the season in an entertaining win against the Broncos in the snow. We talked about peaking at the right time, and continuing the bull market...and they did just that. We hoped the Chiefs would be peaking at the right time... and they are.
So, what’s left to prove? Are we setting ourselves up for a letdown? What’s the catalyst for further growth? It could be the return of several contributors who have been injured. It could be the continued quest for a running game. It could be a late season veteran brought in to provide some sizzle.
A look at this week’s market movers:
This week’s Bulls
- Terrell Suggs: This isn’t the type of move we are used to in Kansas City. It’s the type of move that championship teams make. They had a need, and saw an opportunity to add an all-time great player, who still has just enough left in the tank to help this team in the playoffs. Suggs might just be the catalyst for growth, and another enforcer that can continue this defense’s ascension into bully status. He debuts at 22 on our list, which is crazy for this time of year.
- Spencer Ware: If Suggs is the additional enforcer the defense needed, Spencer Ware is proving to be that guy for the offense. Last week, Ware had a couple of devastating blocks in pass protection, and helped close out the game with some hard running. Contributions are coming from unlikely places, but the characteristics are there for us to remain bullish, with Ware protecting and finishing.
- The entire secondary: Led by a Honey Badger and a rookie, the pass defense is miles ahead of where we thought it would be at this point. They are communicating and making plays on the ball. Their depth is about to return, with Fenton and Claiborne getting healthier. Things are looking up for the back end of Spagnuolo’s crew, and again, they are peaking when it matters most.
This week’s Bears
- LeSean McCoy: The veteran’s role continues to be puzzling. Last week, he was out-carried by Ware and Thompson, and had the lowest average per carry of the three. We still think he’s a useful player, but with Damien Williams nearing a return, it’s not clear at all how the Chiefs feel about him. Or perhaps it’s clear, but it’s not good.
- Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson: These guys each have a small role on the team, and some things that they do well. But, neither is an impact player at this point, at all. And, with Mecole Hardman generally trending upward, it’s hard to see many targets for these guys down the stretch.
- The interior offensive line: In early draft talk, we’re already looking at ways for the Chiefs to upgrade upfront. Wylie isn’t practicing this week, and LDT has been struggling. Reiter isn’t playing like a long-term starter at center. The Chiefs have options here, but as long as they stick with this lineup, we’re bearish.
Observations and predictions
- Rise of the role players: Darwin Thompson (led the team in attempts and YPC), Spencer Ware (pass pro and closing drives), Blake Bell (2 catches for 41yds) and Demone Harris (2TFL) all rose this week, in a sign that the bull market for the Chiefs has some depth and breadth. All three will be players to watch this week.
- Championship mentality: To paraphrase Yogi Berra: Football is 90 percent mental, the other half physical. The Chiefs are showing some extremely positive signs from a mental and emotional standpoint. They are simultaneously playing loose and having fun, while exhibiting a confidence and swagger that we haven’t seen in recent years. Watch how these guys go about their business this week, it feels like something special is brewing and it starts with the mentality.
- Mecole is a Hardman to bet against: He didn’t make a splash play last week, but he did help move the chains. The rookie Pro Bowl receiver should only see his role grow as the Chiefs march into the playoffs. Given his productivity, as his role grows, so will his impact. Look for Hardman to find the endzone again this week.
- Mahomes vs a good defense: When healthy, the MVP rises to the occasion, time and again. Watch for him to have a big game this week against the Bears. Showtime in primetime could mean 400-plus yards and 3-plus touchdowns this week.
If you want a complete look behind the curtain, here’s a link to the full Market Movers database.