Kansas City went 7-9 last year, but enjoyed a winning 9-7 ATS record. They were Under machines, cashing a dozen Under tickets in their 16 ballgames. The Chiefs faced a much tougher than average schedule, outgained by 0.5 yards per play while finishing -2 in turnovers.
Romeo Crennel had the ‘interim head coach’ tag lifted when he guided the Chiefs to a 2-1 late season mark after taking over for the fired Todd Haley, highlighted by a shocking upset as double digit underdogs over the previously undefeated Packers last December. Crennel will serve as his own defensive coordinator. He brought in the much maligned Brian Daboll to coordinate the offense, KC’s sixth offensive coordinator in the last six seasons – not much continuity on that side of the football.
Daboll has worked with Chiefs QB Matt Cassel before, serving as a Patriots assists in Cassel’s first two years in the league. But his track record as the offensive coordinator in each of his last two stops – Cleveland and Miami – was downright awful, unable to create touchdowns on any sort of a consistent basis with either team.
This is a make-or-break year for Cassel. He had a QB rating below 70 in his first year as the starter in 2009, then missed the back half of last year following hand surgery. Cassel’s success depends on the improvement of the offensive line, buoyed by the free agent addition of former Texans standout tackle Eric Winston and a pair of highly touted rookies. Offensive playmakers Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki are both coming off season ending ACL injuries. KCV will need production from high recent draft choices like Jon Baldwin and Dexter McCluster for this offense to flourish.
The Chiefs defense has a handful of stars, like LB’s Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali and CB Brandon Flowers. But the defense has just as many question marks. Will Glenn Dorsey and Ty Jackson ever live up to expectations on the DL? Will this year’s first rounder Dontari Poe live up to his enormous upside? Can Stanford Routt survive at cornerback without committing penalties in bunches? Can Eric Berry return from his own ACL tear?
Kicker Ryan Succop was extraordinarily clutch last year, hitting 10-11 field goal tries in the second half or overtime. Punter Dustin Colquitt is certainly on par with the other great punters in this division.
The Chiefs are lined at O/U 8 wins in many locations, although there are plenty of O/U 7.5’s out there for line shoppers. Their 2012 schedule is much easier on paper than their 2011 slate; weaker than the league average. But a rough preseason has left bettors indifferent about KC for the upcoming campaign; a team that hasn’t taken substantial action in the futures market.