NFL Picks: Is 2015 a Bet-or-Fade Year for Kansas City Chiefs?

Doug Upstone

Monday, August 3, 2015 12:27 PM GMT

Monday, Aug. 3, 2015 12:27 PM GMT

The actual answer to this question is 'probably not', but in the NFL nothing is for sure. This much we do know, those making NFL picks or football handicappers are not high on the Chiefs.

Let's continue to follow our answer by looking at Kansas City this season and how we came to this conclusion.

 

Starting With the Sportsbooks Take
Went to 5Dimes and looked up to see the latest they had for NFL odds about Kansas City. They have the Chiefs as the second choice behind Denver to win the AFC West at +380 to the Broncos -180.

Kansas City's predicted win total is only Ov8, which is lower than head coach Andy Reid has put up in his first two seasons in the red and yellow at 11 and 9 respectively. By the sportsbooks reading on futures betting odds, they have Kansas City at +1800 to win the AFC, which is ninth overall in the conference and would keep them out of the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

 

What are Chiefs Weakness Causing the Low Appeal?
While quarterback Alex Smith is well regarded as going a great job in protecting the football and limiting mistakes, he often seems to be overcautious with the football. Depending on whom you talk to this is good or bad. Last season among NFL quarterbacks who had 300 or more pass attempts, Smith ranked 20th in passing yards per attempt at 7.04 yards.

No question the group of wide receivers he had to work with was meager and had big problems creating separation, nevertheless, Smith definitely shares in the blame why Kansas City became the first team since 1970 AFL-NFL merger not to have a touchdown pass to a wide receiver for the ENTIRE season.

The additions of former players Reid used to coach in Philadelphia, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant, should upgrade the position substantially, along with second-year player Albert Wilson who was improving the last third of the year. Second-round pick Chris Conley out of Georgia might also be a key addition.

Of even greater concern is the offensive line which led to Smith being sacked 45 times and that did not count the hurried thrown away passes which could have led the quarterback being on his back even more.

The top choice of the 2013 draft was tackle Eric Fisher and his development would charitably be described as S L O W. Reports have him moving back to left tackle this season and two-time Pro Bowler Ben Grubbs is believed to me the new left guard. There are a lot of moving and unsettled parts for this group coming off a poor season collectively, leaving many to ponder what this contingent really will provide in 2015. How this O-Line performs could well be the difference between an 8 or 10-win season for Kansas City.

 

How Kansas City Exceeds Expectations
Kansas City went from 24th to 7th in total defense last season. If you follow the NFL closely, this kind of movement does not suggest the Chiefs will duplicate last year's efforts. In particular opposing offenses will running the ball even more to test K.C. up front after they finished 28th against the rush last season. If the run defense is shored up to go along with excellent linebackers and an improving secondary, the defense will give the Chiefs a chance to reach 10 or more wins.

Jamaal Charles remains the center piece of the offense, but now with eight years under his belt, there are questions how much longer he can continue with heavy usage, which is why the passing game has to click more often. If Smith and receivers click, this makes tight end Travis Kelce even more dangerous and suddenly Kansas City might have something, especially if the an aging Peyton Manning and reshuffled Denver club falls further back.

 

Revisiting the Opening Question
As long as Kansas City does not finish 6-10, Reid will be safe. However, if they are as up and down as last season to finish 9-7 (10-6 ATS for NFL picks) and miss the postseason again, a year from now the answer to this question would an emphatic "YES!".

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