The NFL season may be only two weeks old, but so far the Kansas City Chiefs offense has shown significant improvement across the board from 2016 with an attack that has multiple ways to win every game.
It was hard to see how much better the Chiefs offense could get in 2017 after the departures of Jeremy Maclin, Jamaal Charles and no significant offseason additions. But as Andy Reid and Alex Smith enter year five together, the 2017 offense may just be Kansas City’s best.
The Chiefs averaged 336 yards per game in 2016, 21st in the NFL. This year, Kansas City is averaging 440.5 yards per game, which would rank as the league’s best in 2016.
Kansas City was slightly better in the scoring category in 2016, ranking 13th in the NFL with 23.8 points per game, thanks in part to a defense with a knack for turnovers. This year, the Chiefs are averaging 34.5 points per game, which would also rank as the league’s best in 2016.
This kind of league-best production is probably unsustainable, but the Chiefs offense has shown that they have the pieces to at least rank in the top 10 in yards per game, something Kansas City has never done under Reid.
One of biggest reasons why Chiefs fans should be hopeful that the success can continue, is the team’s capability of winning without every playmaker hitting on all cylinders. Travis Kelce wasn’t a major factor week one, Tyreek Hill didn’t reach 50 yards in week two, yet the Chiefs offense still rolled.
These two playmakers had to carry the team in 2016, but with the addition of Kareem Hunt and improvement from Alex Smith, the Chiefs now have a well-rounded offensive attack. Hunt has five touchdowns in two games, with an average of 177.5 yards from scrimmage per game, while Smith has been just as important, throwing five touchdowns, zero interceptions, averaging 309.5 per game and completing 78% of his attempts.
A four prong approach, with occasional key additions from Chris Conley, Albert Wilson, Demetrius Harris and Charcandrick West, give the Chiefs a greater margin for error than they’ve ever had.
In past years, Kansas City has had to win the turnover battle, they’ve had to succeed in the red zone and on third downs, and sometimes that still wasn’t enough for close games. The fact that Kansas City has been able to win while still making errors, shows that the team still has room to grow and maintain their top offense status.
Tyreek Hill stole the show with 133 yards in week one, with Travis Kelce taking over in week two with 103 yards, and Reid deserves credit for helping establish a game plan that brings out the strengths of one another when on the defense takes one player away.
This kind of team effort, ranging from the coaches to the quarterback to the players, is a sign of a great team. Some teams have quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady that can carry a team by themselves, but for the Chiefs, it’s a complete team effort every week. This also means the team’s success does not solely lie on one person’s shoulders.
Even after a strong start, odds of the Chiefs staying atop the NFL’s offensive categories by year’s end remains slim. But it does show the potential that this team has in the regular season and playoffs. If Reid, Smith and company can maintain this kind of production, stretching the field and using elite weapons to make plays from the line of scrimmage, then the sky really is the limit for what Kansas City can accomplish.
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