The Chiefs did something last year that is not easy to do — they went the entire season without a wide receiver catching a touchdown pass, although QB Alex Smith did throw 18 touchdown passes to other positions. Despite that statistic, the Chiefs finished above .500, with a 9-7 record, which was two games worse than in 2013.
Smith threw for 3,265 yards last season with 18 touchdowns — all to running backs and tight ends — and six interceptions. RB Jamaal Charles had a typical season that we have come to expect from him, which isn’t a bad thing. He ran for 1,033 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games while adding another 291 receiving yards. He also caught five of Smith’s touchdown passes. The team’s leading receiver was TE Travis Kelce, who caught 67 passes for 862 yards and five touchdowns in 11 starts. WR Dwayne Bowe led at that position, with 60 receptions for 754 yards and, because he’s a wide receiver, no touchdowns. The defense was up for the challenges it faced, finishing the season second in the league.
The Chiefs have signed former Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin to a five-year contract, and he should immediately jump to the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. With the Eagles in 2014, Maclin had 85 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. Bowe has moved on to the Browns, but Maclin is a better receiver and should help Smith get better numbers this season. Kelce should also improve this season as he plays his second full season in the league. Charles should be the focus of the offense once again and, if he stays healthy, should have another season with 1,000-plus yards.
After an Week 1 game on the road at the Texans, the schedule gives the Chiefs tough back-to-back games against playoff teams, both in prime-time. Week 2 is a Thursday night game at home against the Broncos, then they travel to Green Bay for a Week 3 Monday night game with the Packers. Other notable non-division games include a Week 8 home game against the Steelers. The Chiefs end their season with a couple of games against teams that look to be near the bottom of the league — home games against the Browns and Raiders in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively. The Chiefs won nine games last season and I can see them winning 10 this year, but that won’t be enough to win the division. They may be competing for a Wild Card, but I’m not sure they’ll get it.