WHY THEY'RE GOOD
-The Chiefs have two good running backs in Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones. Charles exploded last season down the stretch, finishing the season averaging almost six yards a carry. Jones had his best season in the NFL, 1,402 yards rushing, at the ripe age of 31. The two have taken vastly different routes to their success, but what's important is that they've arrived. Head Coach Todd Haley continues to play games and rank Jones first on the depth chart, but for his sake and Jones' the ratio of Charles/Jones rushes should be at least 65/35. Someone like Jones only defies the odds for so long, and asking him to shoulder a heavy burden while blatantly ignoring a superior talent is just asking for trouble. Like a swift backhand from fantasy owners worldwide.
-Speaking of Todd Haley, the coach surrounded himself with a couple of decent coordinators in the offseason: Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis. Though both failed as head coaches, their reps as coordinators are still intact. Until Haley fires them days before the season.
-First-round draft pick Eric Berry has already assumed the free safety spot, which is exactly what any team wants to see from their first-rounder. At the University of Tennessee he was all over the field making tackles, and KC is banking on those skills transferring over to the pro game. Berry will team up with a returning Brandon Flowers at corner to breathe some athleticism into the secondary.
-Outside linebacker Tamba Hali had nine sacks last season, a career-high. He's the team's best pass rusher and is tough against the run. There's no reason not to expect more from him in his second year playing the 3-4.
-Big things are expected from wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe, but KC's smartest move was re-signing Chris Chambers. Even though his personal life has taken a strange turn, he wound up being a primo target for Matt Cassel. The Chiefs can't really afford another lackluster effort from Bowe, but without Chambers they'd be broke at the position.
WHY THEY'RE BAD
-Aside from Hali, the Chiefs' front seven is underwhelming. A rotation of Shaun Smith and Ron Edwards at nose tackle isn't going to frighten many run games. But compared to average human being, yes, they are still very terrifying.
-At linebacker there remains more questions, and Haley has taken a disliking to Derrick Johnson. That leaves Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays to take over inside. The other outside linebacker is Mike Vrabel, who is 35.
-Last year's first-rounder, defensive end Tyson Jackson, is quickly falling into 'bust' territory. The reports coming out of training camp aren't good, and to be blunt, neither is he really. Jackson and Glenn Dorsey make up the rest of the defensive line, which was the league's worst. GET EXCITED.
-If Matt Cassel puts together another clunker in 2010, all efforts will be for naught. At times in '09 he looked calm and confident, like he did spelling Tom Brady in New England. At other times, he looked like he'd been plucked from the stands at halftime and told to play quarterback. His DYAR at footballOutsiders.com was only higher than two starting quarterbacks: Matt Stafford and, gulp, JaMarcus Russell.
There's more than a few reasons to like the Chiefs. An easy division and a dangerous offense are among them. They can taste that sweet mediocrity!
INCORRECT PREDICTION: 8-8, SECOND IN AFC WEST