Kansas City Chiefs 11-5
Last Season’s Rankings: #24 Overall Defense (367.8 total yards per game allowed) #25 Passing Defense (247.6 passing yards per game allowed) #22 Rushing Defense (120.2 rushing yards per game allowed)
In 2013 the Chiefs had almost a similar season to the Eagles. They had a great offense with Alex Smith and the always elusive Jamaal Charles, while their defense ended up ranking 25th and 22nd in the pass and run, respectively.
On the running side of the ball, the Chiefs’ defense was relatively decent in terms of touchdowns (sixth overall with nine touchdowns allowed), however in yardage, they lacked big time (120.1 yards per game, ranked 22nd). One place that the Chiefs were strong was in getting pressure on the QB. In 2013, the Chiefs were able to rank sixth in the NFL, sacking opposing QBs 47 times. It was in part due to the Chiefs very strong line backing corps. The combination of OLB Justin Houston (44 tackles, 11 sacks, three tackles for loss and four passes defended in 2013), ILB Akeem Jordan (67 tackles, four tackles for loss adn two forced fumbles), ILB Derrick Johnson (107 tackles, 4.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss, six passes defended and two interceptions) and OLB Tamba Hali (46 tackles, 11 sacks, four tackles for loss and four forced fumbles) gave the Chiefs strength early on. Problem is though that the Chiefs’ 2014 defense will be without Jordan and without a solid defensive line. They did add former Oakland Raider DT Vance Walker (40 tackles in 2013 with Raiders) through free agency, but other than that they didn’t really add anybody. DE Mike DeVito (28 tackles and two tackles for loss), DT Dontari Poe (51 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and four passes defended) and DE Allen Bailey (30 tackles and two passes defended) make up the defensive line as the depth chart stands. Before I forget though, the Chiefs did end up selecting Auburn DE Dee Ford with their first-round selection. For the 12-2 SEC Champion Auburn Tigers, Ford was one of the most dominating forces on the defensive line. With a 6’2″, 243-lb build, Ford is considered undersized by many scouts and recruiters to play defensive lineman, however his skill set is suitable for any defensive position really. He’s extremely fast and quick and has the ability to get to running backs or quarterbacks in little to no time at all. Regardless though, you cannot deny that Ford has been able to get the job done throughout his career at Auburn. In his Junior/Senior season, Ford averaged 8.25 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss per season. Unfortunately though, the Chiefs are having him play the left OLB position instead of DE. I think that if they have ford playing at the DE position, the Chiefs could do be better in 2014, however I am not sure. Reason why I have this rush defense low is because of the defensive line. DEs Mike DeVito and Allen Bailey leave a bit to be desired. Poe is good, don’t get me wrong, however I think the defensive line could be better. As well, losing ILB Akeem Jordan will hanker the run game a bit next season. It will remain to be seen how well this 2014 Chiefs defense performs under pressure.
In 2013, Kansas City’s passing defense suffered majorly towards the end of the season, allowing a total of 16 passing touchdowns in their final seven games, including four games of over 300 yards passing. While they did rank first in the NFL in passes defended (96), interceptions returned for touchdowns (five) and third in interceptions (21), they ranked 25th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (247.6). I’ll admit, the Chiefs’ secondary with SS Eric Berry (74 tackles, 3.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, 10 passes defended and three interceptions), CB Michael Cooper (44 tackles, 18 passes defended and three interceptions) and CB Sean Smith (47 tackles, 13 passes defended and two interceptions) was very good last season. However, it’s 2014 and the Chiefs lost CB Brandon Flowers (68 tackles, two tackles for loss and eight passes defended), FS Kendrick Lewis (56 tackles, three tackles for loss and four passes defended), FS Quinton Demps (35 tackles, nine passes defended and four interceptions) and CB Dunta Robinson (13 tackles and four passes defended) this past off-season. In their places will be CB Chris Owens (57 tackles and three passes defended), FS Husain Abdullah (27 tackles, four passes defended and one interception), and rookie CB Phillip Gaines (175 tackles, 38 passes defended and four career interceptions at Rice University). Reason why I have the Chiefs ranked so low is because of their losses in the off-season. They did rank first in the NFL in passes defended and third in interceptions, however 49 of their passes defended and 10 of their interceptions came from players either not in the secondary or players who currently do not play for the Chiefs. While Berry, Cooper and Smith do have talent and potential, I’m not so sure Abdullah, Gaines and Owens truly have what it takes to lead this defense next season. FS Husain Abdullah probably has the biggest cleats to fill. If he doesn’t perform, 2014 could be a long season for the Chiefs.