Dexter McCluster will be back to help the Chiefs offense. Photo by Richard A. Brightly Icon SMI
The Kansas City Chiefs may be poised to make some noise in the AFC West in 2012. The Chiefs are solid and I am convinced some of the players tanked 2011 to get their coach fired. By all accounts Romeo Crenel is popular with the Chiefs players and that can make a big difference in the won/loss column.
The Chiefs are going to run the ball and try to win with defense and special teams. Jamaal Charles is coming off an ACL and those can be tricky. However as insurance the Chiefs added former Madden Cover player Peyton Hillis from the Browns. Hillis has a one year contract to show the NFL he has the interest and skills to be a top running back again.
Crenel is not high on quarterback Matt Cassel but the Chiefs will take pressure off him with their strong running game. There is also a chance that the Chiefs will take Tannehill in the draft to compete with Cassel. If Tannehill gets picked by and starts for the Chiefs then that same running game will help him a great deal as well.
Dwayne Bowe returns with the franchise tag so will be out to have a big year to drive up his asking price for 2013. Bowe is a top 10 NFL receiver and will once again be joined by solid Steve Breaston and running back/receiver Dexter McCluster. Look for the Chiefs to add another wide receiver via the draft or free agency before the season starts.
The return of Eric Berry also from an ACL will help a decent Chiefs defense. The 3-4 that Crenel runs does need some nose tackle help. If the Chiefs address that position in the first round then this defense could get really good.
Derrick Johnson almost got the bust label but has turned into a very good linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs.Kansas City needs to get Johnson some help at linebacker in addition to the above mentioned nose tackle. But this defense is solid and missing only a couple of pieces.
The Broncos are probably the favorites to win he AFC West but if Manning is hurt again then they are done for. The classic underachieving Chargers could make some noise but I see them stepping back a tad.
Contrary to popular belief a good defense and running game can still win in the NFL. If the Chiefs make the playoffs then they can shock some good teams, especially in bad weather.Kansas City could even make a Super Bowl run if they stay healthy.