KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
2014 Record: 9-7-0 (2nd in AFC West)
HEAD COACH: Andy Reid
New Players in 2015 - WR Jeremy Maclin; DB Tyvon Branch; OL Ben Grubbs; OL Paul Fanaika.
OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 25th in NFL (318.8 ypg)
DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 7th in NFL (330.5 ypg)
Offense: Quarterback Alex Smith is back again in 2015 to lead the offense after he passed for 3,265 yards with 18 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Chase Daniel is the backup.
Jamaal Charles is the primary running back coming off another 1,000-yard season (1,033 rushing yards with 5.0 ypc average and nine touchdowns, plus 40 receptions for 291 yards and five TD) and he is the key to the Chiefs offensive attack.
Knile Davis (463 yards, 3.5 ypc and six TD) is a solid backup and DeAnthony Thomas and Cyrus Gray give the Chiefs depth in this area.
The wide receivers have former Eagle Jeremy Maclin (85 receptions, 1,318 yards and ten TD last year) in camp this season and he will no doubt be the main target as the Chiefs had NO WIDE RECEIVERS with a touchdown reception in the 2014 season.
Maclin will team up with another former Philadelphia Eagles player as Jason Avant (13 catches in limited action last season with KC) is looking to bounce back from an injury plagued season. Albert Wilson (16 receptions for 260 yards) is a third option in the passing game as he will take the role vacated by Dwayne Bowe leaving as a free agent. Tight End Travis Kelce emerged as the Chiefs leading receiver last season, making 67 receptions for 862 yards and five touchdowns.
The line, which must improve in pass protection (49 QB sacks allowed in 2014) will have Eric Kush at center. The tackles are Eric Fisher and Donald Stephenson and the guards are free agent signees Ben Grubbs and Paul Fanaika. Rookie draft pick Mitch Morse (Missouri) will get a look in camp to possibly fill one of the guard spots.
Defense: Dontari Poe is the nose tackle in the 3-4 set with Allen Bailey and Mike DeVito at the end positions. Hebron Fangupo, Mike Catapano, Jaye Howard and Nick Williams give the team depth up front.
The linebackers are led by outside backer Justin Houston, who led the NFL with 22 QB sacks a year ago. Tamba Hali (six sacks) is the other outside linebacker. The inside men are Derick Johnson and Josh Mauga.
In the defensive backfield, Sean Smith and top rookie draft pick Marcus Peters (Washington) will be the corners. The safeties are Ron Parker and Husain Abdullah. Veteran safety Eric Berry is looking solid as he attempts to comeback from cancer and free agent signee Tyvon Branch is also ready should he be needed.
OUTLOOK FOR 2015 - Head Coach Andy Reid knows his team just missed the post-season last year after a strong 7-3 start.
The team needs more consistency from the offense, especially the passing game where Smith struggled in the red zone. The Chiefs wide receivers had ZERO touchdown receptions last season and are hopeful that Jeremy Maclin, coming off his best statistical season, can help in that area. Tight End Travis Kelce is an emerging player that Smith looks to quite often and that should improve the passing game this season.
As long as RB Jamaal Charles is healthy, Kansas City should be in business on offense as he is a break away threat at any time.
The defense is solid, evidenced by their top ten ranking overall as well as finishing fifth in the league with 46 QB sacks. In addition, they are stingy, allowing just 17.6 points per game, second only to Seattle last year. The secondary must improve as they only had six interceptions in 2014 despite being ranked second in the NFL against the pass.
This team could contend with Denver for the AFC West title and if they get into the playoffs, their defense will give any team fits for sure. A 10-6 record is not out of the question and with some breaks and improvement on offense, the Chiefs could surprise people with a better record and quite possibly a deep AFC playoff run.
Week 1 - at Houston Texans
Week 2 - vs. Denver Broncos
Week 3 - at Green Bay Packers
Week 4 - at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 5 - vs. Chicago Bears
Week 6 - at Minnesota Vikings
Week 7 - vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 8 - vs. Detroit Lions (London, England)
Week 9 - BYE WEEK
Week 10 - at Denver Broncos
Week 11 - at San Diego Chargers
Week 12 - vs. Buffalo Bills
Week 13 - at Oakland Raiders
Week 14 - vs. San Diego Chargers
Week 15 - at Baltimore Ravens
Week 16 - vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 17 - vs. Oakland Raiders