This article is part of our Team Previews series.
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
The Chiefs entered the 2013 campaign coming off a franchise worst 2-14 effort. Though expectations were understandably modest out of the gate, under new coach Andy Reid, the team took the league by storm, beginning the season with nine straight wins. Though the Chiefs lost five of their last seven games, the team's 11-5 record was good enough to land a playoff slot. The keys to the turnaround were the acquisition of Alex Smith, who provided stability at quarterback, as well as the outstanding play of star running back Jamaal Charles and an improved defense.
However, outside of Charles, who scored 19 total touchdowns, the team's offense lacked consistency. The Chiefs finished 21st in the league with 337.2 total yards per game, including 24th via the pass by recording a pedestrian 208.8 passing yards per contest. On the other hand, the defense fared far better, giving up just 19.1 points per outing, while recording 47 sacks and forcing 36 turnovers. The latter figure doubled the amount given away by the offense, resulting in the second-best differential in the league behind Seattle.
In the upcoming campaign, the Chiefs will feature a thinned-out pass-catching corps due to the offseason loss of Dexter McCluster, who caught 53 passes last year and provided a dependable option on punt returns. As a possible replacement, the organization used a 2014 fourth-round pick on the versatile De'Anthony Thomas. Meanwhile, the explosive Charles returns healthy after getting his bell rung