Football season is back, and the Chiefs are off to a good start! Farzin recaps the road win against the Texans. Though many were concerned about the conservative second half, Farzin provides an explanation for the lack of scoring. Farzin also brings up the national perspective of the Chiefs and why everyone should stop underestimating the team. To conclude, Farzin previews the Chiefs and Broncos for Thursday Night Football and gives his prediction.
AFC North: Steelers (11-5), Ravens (9-7), Bengals (8-8), Browns (3-13)
You won’t find a more dominant QB-RB-WR trio than Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Once Bell returns from his two-game suspension, Pittsburgh’s three-dimensional offense will be hard to stop. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant is poised for a breakout year. The division is stacked with good quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton, but Roethlisberger has the best supporting cast, which will help the Steelers take the North.
AFC East: Patriots (13-3), Dolphins (8-8), Bills (7-9), Jets (4-12)
Having Tom Brady’s four-game suspension nullified is huge. That’s one-fourth of the season, and Patriots fans, obviously, feel better with Brady than Jimmy Garoppolo. While I like Rex Ryan and hope he can find success similar to his first couple of years with the Jets, the Bills have a lot of uncertainty under center. In fact, both the Jets and Bills have a good defense, but you have to question whether the offense will create a balance. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a strong outing in 2014, but Miami is still an average team at best.
AFC South: Colts (12-4), Texans (9-7), Titans (5-11), Jaguars (2-14)
Unless Andrew Luck suffers an injury, the Colts are running the table in the AFC South. Houston is the most interesting team, as they have the best football player in J.J. Watt, along with a merciless defensive line. It’s the offense that will determine Houston’s success this year. While Marcus Mariota is great and likeable, the Titans are far away from being a contender.
AFC West: Chiefs (10-6), Broncos (10-6), Chargers (9-7), Raiders (6-10)
While Denver did lose a couple of offensive weapons, there is no doubt that Peyton Manning could make anyone look good. But we may begin to see Manning regress a bit. In fact, Kansas City’s stout defense never surrendered more than 29 points in a game last year. With an improved offense, the Chiefs should be more balanced and competitive to the point where they give the Broncos a run for their money. San Diego’s consistency is a concern while Oakland is on the right path to becoming the competitive franchise it once was.
AFC Wild-Card: Texans over Steelers, Chiefs over Broncos
AFC Divisional: Patriots over Texans, Colts over Chiefs
AFC Championship: Colts over Patriots
NFC North: Vikings (11-5), Packers (10-6), Lions (9-7), Bears (3-13)
Give Teddy Bridgewater an elite running back in Adrian Peterson, and the Vikings will go from 7-9 to fighting Green Bay for the division. Losing wide receiver Jordy Nelson is a blow to the Packers. However, as long as they have Aaron Rodgers, that offense will still operate very well. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will be heavily relied on in a competitive division.
NFC East: Giants (12-4), Cowboys (9-7), Eagles (7-9), Redskins (1-15)
Eli Manning had nearly one of his best seasons statistically after improving from an abysmal 2013 campaign. If Victor Cruz can stay healthy while playing opposite of Odell Beckham Jr., watch out. That passing game will be fun to watch and may ultimately be the reason why the Giants take the East. Speaking of improvement, Tony Romo has drastically improved the past two years and will have another great season. Running back Darren McFadden’s career hasn’t panned out well since coming out of Arkansas, but Dallas will use Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle quite a lot to help fill the loss of DeMarco Murray as he joins the Eagles. Philadelphia has a solid group of running backs with Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles supporting Murray. But do they have a viable quarterback? Chip Kelly will face a lot of criticism if this season does not pan out well.
NFC South: Saints (9-7), Buccaneers (7-9), Panthers (4-12), Falcons (3-13)
The Saints took a huge loss after trading Jimmy Graham away to Seattle, leaving many to wonder how far this team will go. But given that Carolina lost Kelvin Benjamin for the season, it opens the door back up for the Saints. The Falcons are trying to finish above .500, but there are too many holes on that defense. Tampa Bay will try to rebound with Jameis Winston as the quarterback, as he has a mix of veterans and young players to work with. The NFC South was brutal to watch last year. There is no clear-cut team that can runaway with the division. We should expect another tight race with all four teams likely in the hunt late in the season.
NFC West: Seahawks (13-3), Cardinals (10-6), 49ers (6-10), Rams (4-12)
Adding Jimmy Graham was huge for Seattle and its offense, giving everyone a reason to pick them to play in the Super Bowl for the third straight year. Though Kam Chancellor’s absence is something the team wants to change, Seattle’s secondary is still top-notch. Arizona was hot last year, going 9-1 until Carson Palmer tore his ACL, leaving the Cardinals to finish 2-4 and falling to a team below .500 in the postseason. If Palmer is healthy, Arizona will look to dominate again. The 49ers not only lost Jim Harbaugh, but lost 11 key veterans to free agency or retirement. That is not an ideal first year to go into for head coach Jim Tomula, and there’s no certainty that Colin Kaepernick is a feasible quarterback.
NFC Wild-Card: Vikings over Cardinals, Packers over Saints
NFC Divisional: Seahawks over Packers, Giants over Vikings
NFC Championship: Giants over Seahawks
Super Bowl: Giants over Colts
Super Bowl MVP: Odell Beckham Jr.Follow @Farzin21
Week 1: at Texans – Win, 16-9
Expect a low-scoring contest. Both teams have a great defense. Kansas City’s defense will expose Houston’s weak offense and take advantage.
Week 2: vs. Broncos (TNF) – Win, 23-21
Kansas City has defeated Peyton Manning once back in 2004 when he was a member of the Colts. The Chiefs are 0-6 facing the Broncos since they acquired Manning. With the home opener on a Thursday night, Arrowhead Stadium will be full of exuberant Chiefs fans and the team will feed off the fans. Kansas City’s defense should seal the deal and pick up its first win against Denver since the 2011 season finale when Kyle Orton was the quarterback for the Chiefs.
Week 3: at Packers (MNF) – Loss, 27-17
The Packers present a lot of challenges for the Chiefs and the defense might have a hard time keeping up with Aaron Rodgers, especially at Green Bay.
Week 4: at Bengals – Win, 31-10
Andy Dalton faced the Chiefs just once, and that was back in 2012 when the Chiefs won only two games. Now, Dalton will face a scarier defense and a more complete Chiefs team. You won’t see the Chiefs surpass the 30-point mark a whole lot this season. This will be one of the few times where they do.
Week 5: vs. Bears – Win, 41-0
Chicago is in disarray. Chiefs fans will enjoy this as the team will have a field day against the Bears.
Week 6: at Vikings – Loss, 31-21
Everyone expects the Vikings to do a lot better this year with Adrian Peterson coming back. However, I think they’ll be one of the best teams in the NFL as Teddy Bridgewater enters the season with a solid rookie campaign. This will be a tough game for the Chiefs on the road, and this will be the game in which the defense allows more than 30 points after not allowing 30 points or more in a game last year.
Week 7: vs. Steelers – Win, 28-27
The Steelers have a dangerous QB-RB-WR trio, in which the Chiefs still held to 20 points last year in Pittsburgh. With a more balanced offense, the Chiefs should find holes and put up some points on Pittsburgh’s defense.
Week 8: vs. Lions (London) – Win, 24-13
The postgame story in Kansas City won’t be about a win or a loss. Chiefs fans were irate over losing a home game, and rightfully so. That story will resurface again by the time this game happens. As for the game, the Lions look good on paper, but aren’t a threat to other teams across the league. Jamaal Charles will have fun against Detroit’s defense, showing fans in London what a great running back looks like.
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: at Broncos – Loss, 35-30
The Chiefs haven’t played well in Denver over the years. The Broncos will find themselves in a close battle with the Chiefs and will finish the job. A win for the Broncos will keep the division race close.
Week 11: at Chargers (SNF) – Loss, 24-10
The Chargers won’t compete in the AFC West. But they are capable of taking at least one game against the Chiefs this year.
Week 12: vs. Bills – Win, 17-14
Since 2008, the Chiefs find themselves playing the Bills each season. Buffalo’s offense is a big question, but the defensive lines can give teams trouble, as it did against the Chiefs last year. Expect a similar, low-scoring game from last year when the two teams met in Buffalo. Andy Reid will again find a way to get the team to pull through.
Week 13: at Raiders – Loss, 23-20
Let’s be honest: every year, we expect the Chiefs to go 2-0 against the Raiders. Since 2007, the Chiefs swept the Raiders only once. In fact, the Raiders are finally going into the right direction. By this point, some of their rookies will be more developed and will make a big impact in games.
Week 14: vs. Chargers – Win, 24-6
Phillip Rivers struggles immensely against a pass rush. With this game being at Arrowhead Stadium, Rivers will have to deal with the crowd and will face Tamba Hali and Justin Houston quite a lot.
Week 15: at Ravens – Loss, 17-10
As the season winds down, teams begin to pick up the intensity as they fight for a playoff spot. The Ravens could find themselves hungry and will need a win to stay in the hunt.
Week 16: vs. Browns – Win, 31-13
The Browns have a good group of receivers, but how good will the passing game be? This should be a game in which the defense has full control.
Week 17: vs. Raiders – Win, 21-17
The Chiefs should handle the Raiders at home. But expect a competitive contest. Though many in Kansas City view Oakland as a bad team, this will be the first season in a long time the Raiders will show they can compete. They won’t get into the playoffs, but will make strides this year and become a division contender in 2016.
Record: 10-6, AFC West Champions
MVP: NT Dontari Poe
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Jamaal Charles
Defensive Player of the Year: OLB Justin Houston
Comeback Player of the Year: S Eric Berry
Rookie of the Year: C Mitch Morse
Role Player: RB Knile Davis
The Chiefs have a much improved offense with upgrades at wide receiver and the line, which will create a balance, something the team was missing and prevented it from finishing with double-digit wins. The defense was scary-good last year, and look at the offseason additions. Marcus Peters could be a big steal as the team also adds Tyvon Branch and re-signed Ron Parker. In addition, the defense will get back front seven members Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito, both missed action due to an Achilles injury in the season opener. Eric Berry also returns after being limited to six games due to injuries and health.
As long as the Chiefs have Dontari Poe, who will help Tamba Hali and Justin Houston invade the backfield, Kansas City’s defense might be better than Seattle’s.
As for the offense, Jeremy Maclin is obviously a great addition and will help the offense become more three-dimensional. Let’s not forget about Travis Kelce, who can block and do damage as a catch-and-run tight end. Alex Smith loves working with tight ends, as we saw in San Francisco with Vernon Davis. And even though Anthony Fasano’s time was short as a Chief, he and Smith connected well in the end zone. Of course, we saw Kelce emerge in what was essentially his first year playing after missing his entire rookie season due to a knee injury. Bold prediction, but I think Kelce, not Maclin, will be the team’s top pass-catcher in terms of receiving yards.
Either way, Smith has a lot of weapons with Maclin, Kelce, Jamaal Charles and a couple others who look to contribute, such as Jason Avant, who knows Reid’s offense, De’Anthony Thomas, Knile Davis and Albert Wilson. Defenses will have to pick their poison when facing the viable tools Smith has to work with, which will allow somebody to break away and get open. The rest is up to Smith.
And for special teams, it should be another good year for De’Anthony Thomas and Knile Davis. With Dave Toub as the special teams coordinator, this team will come through on special teams. Cairo Santos has the ability to be a good kicker. He just needs to show consistency.
Chiefs fans should have high expectations from all three facets, which should translate into double-digit wins and the first division victory since 2010.Follow @Farzin21