The Kansas City Chiefs are a week away from their regular season opener against the New England Patriots. The Chiefs won the AFC West with a 12-4 record and hosted a divisional round playoff game last season.
Here are three predictions for the Chiefs this season.
#3 Kareem Hunt will finish the season in the top 10 of rushing
Head coach Andy Reid recently announced that Hunt is the starting running back after incumbent starter Spencer Ware injured his knee in the team’s third preseason game. Hunt, a rookie selected in the third round of the draft, has the size and elusiveness to get big plays as well as minimize the negative ones. He also has very good receiving skills. He has the ability to stay on the field all three downs.
Last season. Lamar Miller of the Houston Texans was 10th in the league with 1,073. The Chiefs leading rusher was Ware with 921 yards, which was good for 16th in the league. Using those numbers as well as Hunt’s 4.38 yards per carry in the preseason, Hunt will need 245 carries to top Miller’s total. The Chiefs handed the ball off to their running backs 327 times to Ware, Charcandrick West, Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. Figure Hunt gets all of Ware, Charles and Davis’ and he has 239. He just needs six more from West or rushing attempts from other positions (quarterback Alex Smith ran the ball 48 times, wide receiver Tyreek Hill had 24, tight end Travis Kelce had one and defensive tackle Dontari Poe had one). There are definitely six, probably more from the group of non-running backs. Hunt should finish the season somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,100 yards.
#2 Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Dee Ford will have more sacks this season than the entire Chiefs team had last year.
Despite having the dynamic pass rushing trio, the Chiefs had just 28 sacks as a team, which was 28th among all teams. Ford led the way with 10, Houston had just four and Hali had 3.5. Only one other player had more than 1.5.
Ford will be able to reach double digits again. Hali’s production has dipped a bit in recent seasons, but should get back to six. Houston played just five games last season and 11 the previous season, totaling 11.5 sacks in those two years. Summing it up, Ford and Houston will combined for 24 and Hali will collect six.
#1 The Chiefs will repeat as the AFC West division champion
The Chiefs finished really strong last season winning 10 of their last 12 games. Following a loss in the opener, they should pick right back up. However, it should not be as successful and host a wild card weekend game. Following a victory over the Baltimore Ravens in the wild card round, the season will come to an end with a loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round.