NFL Betting Odds: Are Chiefs the Patriots-Lite?

By: David Lawrence | Monday, August 2, 2010
Matt Cassel

Chiefs QB Matt Cassel will be working for new OC Charlie Weis.

The Kansas City Chiefs now have the former New England Patriots Vice President Of Player Personnel, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and starting quarterback. While they have a Patriots-like feel to them, there is still no evidence that they can encompass the winning.

If they are to start this year, then their run would be as surprising as commencement of the Patriots dynasty back in 2001. They only won once in their last six contests of 2009 and covered just two spreads in those NFL football games. After a pedestrian offseason, there aren’t many signs that they are trending upwards.

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What Has Changed

On the surface, it looks like the Chiefs made some minor changes but their offseason goal was to plant some seeds in the garden, not renovate the entire house.

On the sidelines, they brought in Charlie Weis to be their offensive coordinator and Romeo Crennel to be their defensive coordinator. Both worked with Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl years in New England but both found themselves looking for work after failures at their most recent jobs.

Neither has a lot of talent to work with but the pressure will be on Weis specifically to make quarterback Matt Cassel look a lot better in his second NFL football season with the team.

Thomas Jones was signed to help out the Chiefs backfield and take some pressure off of Cassel but the soon-to-be 32-year-old may not have much left in the tank, which is why some eyebrows were raised when they signed him.

Aside from that, the Chiefs didn’t do much to their offense. They are hoping that second-round pick Dexter McCluster can do as much for them as he did at Ole Miss, that Dwane Bowe wakes up and that Chris Chambers remains invigorated as he did down the stretch with the Chiefs.

On defense, their 3-4 defense still lacks plenty of parts in year two. First-round pick Eric Berry will help out the secondary immensely, but being gentle, the cupboard is very bare on this defensive unit.

Offensive X-Factor: Matt Cassel

The Chiefs made Cassel the highest paid quarterback in franchise history before he ever took a snap with the team. A year later, Cassel hasn’t done much to quiet speculation that the money was well wasted.

Granted, he didn’t have much help around him, but he threw just three touchdowns and nine interceptions in his last five games of 2009-10, which is a trend that is very discouraging.

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Believe it or not, but in his second season in Kansas City this is already a make-or-break year for him. If he can’t play better, than the Patriots simply won this deal and the Chiefs will again be looking for a franchise quarterback. Right now, that’s the perception and Cassel has to prove everyone wrong this year.

Defensive X-Factor: Romeo Crennel

Crennel always worked with very little – or what appeared to be very little talent – in New England, but he couldn’t do much in Cleveland. Considering what the Chiefs have on defense, this will have to be one of his best jobs yet.

Back-to-back top-five draft picks Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey combined for just one sack last year, the linebacking corps is very suspect and third-year cornerback Brandon Flowers is the experienced veteran of the secondary.

Crennel better work some magic or this team will give up a ton of points for a second straight season.

2010 Projection

Without even looking at the schedule and just evaluating the talent on this team, I’m not sure how anyone can project seven wins out of this squad.

Their defense is pathetic and their offense won’t be able to keep up. The only thing they have going for them is a fairly easy schedule.

They’ll play the NFC West, which means Arizona and San Francisco will visit Arrowhead Stadium. They’ll also have road trips to Seattle and St. Louis. Their AFC division will be the AFC South.

They’ll also get to host the Buffalo Bills this year and visit the Cleveland Browns.

To be fair, this is an easy schedule overall – especially with four other games against Denver and Oakland – but even an optimist can’t bank on seven wins. They went 1-7 at home last year, which means that playing at Arrowhead isn’t the advantage it used to be, and there are question marks all across the roster.

If we could trust Cassel, a 7-9 might be within reach but this team has made no indications to date that they can win seven games in 2010-11.

Pick: Under 6.5 Wins

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