It’s been a long season for the Kansas City Chiefs. The good news is that after two more games it will all be over, except of course for the embarrassingly high draft pick that will act as a constant reminder for what an awful year it was.
With 14 weeks of evidence to examine, it’s time to ask: are the Chiefs the worst team in the NFL?
Exhibit A: the record -- a 2-12 mark, which will likely end up being 2-14 -- is simply atrocious. In today’s NFL, with talent in the league spread around somewhat equally, there’s no reason why a team should have so few wins and be this far behind the rest of the pack. Every other team in the league has at least four wins, with the exception of the Jaguars, who remain the only true competition for the Chiefs when it comes to the number one overall pick in next year’s draft.
Exhibit B: the offense -- it’s a passing league and the Chiefs have had an inept passing attack all season -- is terrible. Matt Cassel was the starter up until the middle of November, but threw just 6 touchdowns to 12 interceptions and completed just 58% of his passes. Before losing his starting job to Brady Quinn, Cassel had a quarterback rating of 66.7, which is nearly 15 points below his career rating.
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Quinn hasn’t faired much better, throwing two touchdowns and six interceptions. As a team, the Chiefs are averaging 180 passing yards per game, which is second to last in the NFL. On the other hand, running back Jamaal Charles is having a good year, as he is 6th in the NFL in rushing yards and averaging close to five yards per carry. However, even Charles has had some bad weeks, and as far as scoring points goes, the Chiefs have scored 20 or more points just four times this year.
Exhibit C: the defense -- even the Chiefs actually have plenty of talent on defense -- isn't doing enough. In the secondary, Brandon Flowers and Javier Arenas form a nice tandem at cornerback, and Eric Berry is a pro-bowl caliber safety. Linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are quickly becoming a quality pass-rushing duo. However, despite the talent, the production just isn’t there. Kansas City has the third lowest sack total in the NFL and they are tied for the fewest interceptions. At times, the Kansas City defense has hung tough and given the team a chance, but they haven’t been able to create enough turnovers and they haven’t bothered the quarterback the way that NFL defenses need to do in order to win games.
Exhibit D: the coaching -- for much of the season the Chiefs didn’t have a head coach, as Romeo Crennel spent the first half of the season focusing solely on the defensive side of the ball -- has been off. Of course, when Crennel started spending more time with the offense, there wasn’t necessarily a lot of improvement. Crennel did rally the team in the wake of the Jovan Belcher tragedy, but more times than not he’s failed to adequately prepare his team to be competitive and it’s become clear that he should not be an NFL head coach.
Conclusion: It’s a really tough call between the Chiefs and the Jaguars, as to which is the worst team in the NFL. Statistically, the Jaguars are just plain awful in every category, while the Chiefs have run the ball well this season behind Charles and have defended the pass well with a talented secondary. However, there have been far too many occasions this season in which Kansas City has lacked a competitive spirit and just not looked the part of a NFL team, much less a team capable of winning a game.
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The Chiefs didn’t hold a lead in regulation until their 9th game, and there’s just no getting around how badly they’ve been dominated on so many occasions this year. And so, as the season reaches its conclusion, we can say with a good degree of certainty that the Kansas City Chiefs are indeed the worst team in the NFL.