NFL Network analytics expert says Chiefs will have second-best offense in the AFC West

·2 min read
David Becker/AP

In each of the four seasons since Patrick Mahomes became the Chiefs’ starting quarterback, Kansas City’s offense has ranked in the NFL’s top five in total yards, points scored or both categories.

The Chiefs were third in total yards and fourth in points scored last season, but heading into the 2022 season, the NFL Network’s Analytics Expert thinks the offense won’t be quite as good.

Cynthia Frelund viewed all 32 NFL offenses using projected win shares, which “measures each player, position group and side of the ball’s ability to earn/prevent first downs, points and touchdowns. All rosters used to simulate the season in this exercise are the forecasted 53 through May 17.”

The Chiefs are ranked sixth in Frelund’s calculations, behind the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC West and fourth-best in the AFC (behind Bills, Chargers and Bengals).

One reason for the Chiefs slipping to sixth (they were No. 2 last year in Frelund’s preseason ranking): the Tyreek Hill trade, although she didn’t mention him by name.

This is part of what Frelund wrote: “The Chiefs’ receiving corps looks a lot different, and their schedule starts off with a punishing set of opponents. Last season, Kansas City used motion on an NFL-high 808 snaps, which indicates that they have lots of wrinkles in their playbook, so it could take some time for the overhauled WR group to get up to speed.

On the plus side, K.C. still has the same superstar at quarterback. Patrick Mahomes had the second-best passer rating on quick passes (115.8 on throws made in under 2.5 seconds) and led the league with a 73.8 completion percentage against the blitz. Computer Vision shows that of Mahomes’ nine interceptions on short passes (0-9 air yards), five were unlucky. (He only had four such picks in his career prior to 2021.)“

The Chargers were No. 2 overall behind the Bills, and Frelund’s calculations were based in large part on the NFL Draft.

“In the draft, Los Angeles immediately boosted the offensive line in Round 1 with plug-and-play starter Zion Johnson before nabbing another versatile piece in sixth-rounder Jamaree Salyer, who could see some early action,” she wrote. “The Bolts also nabbed RB Isaiah Spiller in the fourth round. With increased O-line potential and added RB depth, Keenan Allen, (Mike) Williams and (Austin) Ekeler forecast to be in more favorable situations — a scary thought for opponents, given how productive each already was.”