Another day, and another team previewed for the 2012 season. We wrap up our preview of the Seahawk’s old rivals from the AFC west with the Kansas City Chiefs. It wasn’t too long ago that Aarowhead had the reputation that that CenturyLink has now: The loudest stadium in the NFL. Clearly there are passionate fans in Kansas City.
Biggest Team Need Heading Into Offseason: RT, DT, WR, S, TE, RBKey Free Agents Retained: Dwayne Bowe (franchise tag), Brandon Flowers (In season extension)Key Player Additions:RT Eric Winston, RB Peyton Hillis, TE Kevin Boss, Cb Stanford Routt, NT Dontari Poe, S Abram Elam
Key Players Leaving: CB Brandon Carr, (Bad) RT Barry Richardson (Welcomed departure), S Sabby Piscitelli (Would have paid him to leave)
Quick Thoughts on Draft: The Chiefs were finally in a place where they could draft for depth as most of their starting positions were pretty well set. After Dontari Poe in the first round, Scott Pioli went to work building his offensive line. He also added younger depth and talent at the WR position.Quick Thoughts on 2012 schedule: It is a pretty fair schedule a touch on the tough side. If the Chiefs have any hope of actually winning a playoff game, this schedule will be a nice test for them. They’ll likely start off around .500 and could make a run late in the season when the schedule eases up a bit.Most Interesting Roster Battle: Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi. The battle for the backup QB position in KC is very important because of the lingering concerns over Matt Cassel’s ability. Should Cassel struggle or get injured, the next man up will be inheriting a young and talented offense with plenty of weapons. He’d better be ready. For Stanzi, it would be a chance to nab a starting job in the NFL. For Quinn, it could be his last chance.Biggest Strength Heading Into 2012: The defense. Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers and Derrick Johnson are all Pro Bowl-caliber players. If Dontari Poe works out, KC should be tough to score on.Biggest Weakness Heading Into 2012: QB. This isn’t necessarily a knock on Cassel so much as it is a compliment to the rest of the team. KC is pretty strong everywhere but Cassel is the biggest question-mark on the team. The tackle situation is also one injury away from being a potential problem.Biggest Question Still To Be Answered: How will KC’s big three, Charles, Moeaki and Berry rebound from the ACL injuries that ended their seasons.2012 Prediction: I have a good feeling about this season like I did about the 2010 team. With Rivers and Manning in the division there is no telling what will happen. I anticipate a tight three-way race between the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos. If they avoid injury, I think the Chiefs will come out on top with an 11-5 record.
The Chiefs are a better team than their 7-9 record from last season would indicate. The played the entire season without their best offensive player, Jamaal Charles, and their best defensive player, Eric Berry. They also lost QB Matt Cassell for an extended time, forcing them to go with an awful Tyler Palko, and then to pick up Kyle Orton off the street and get him on the field. Just by getting those players back, and all are healthy now, this team will be much improved.
The Chiefs wont be the sexy pick to win the division like the Broncos, but when healthy, the Chiefs might be the best team of the group. They might not win the division, but they should at least be in the running for a wild card spot.