Climbing out on a Twig: Chiefs will MISS the playoffs

BLT-Chiefs-Smith

AUGUST 2015 – I seem to have a better grasp of predictions for the Kansas City Royals than I do the Chiefs. I tend to miss the Royals’ won-loss record by one or two games. Don’t believe me? Check my right-on forecasts the past three years for the Royals.

For the second straight year, I have been dyslexic in my Chiefs’ preseason predictions. Three years ago I was on fire, but after predicting 4-12 and 7-9 the past two years, then I am considering going with a 2-14 mark this year and watch KC dominate the AFC West.

Last year I predicted no Chiefs wide receiver would catch more than 50 passes. I was close with Dwayne Bowe hauling in 60, but no KC wideout caught a TD pass.  Another prediction was Jamaal Charles would not average more than 5.0 yards per carry, a mark he hit on the dot.  Many stars lined up once again for the Chiefs, but not enough to reach the post-season.

What is in store for 2015?

Once again it is time for my annual BLT prediction in which my branch predictions are usually deep rooted solid, typical picks. Limbs are what many go out on, but not as safe as branches and usually are less than 50 percent in predictability. The third and final category is twigs, where I sneak ever further and hold on to the minute chance it may come true.

Climb aboard and have fun with my 2015 BLT PREDICTIONS:

 

BRANCHES

A CHIEFS WIDE RECEIVER WILL CATCH A TD PASS: It’s got to be practically impossible for back-to-back seasons for a team not to have a TD pass to a wide receiver.  Look for Jeremy Maclin and/or Chris Conley, a rookie from Georgia with 4.35 speed in the 40, to snag a touchdown pass in week one against Houston.

KC WILL NOT WIN THE AFC WEST: We just are not there yet.  Sure, Mike Devito and Derrick Johnson are returning to the defense. Plus Chiefs safety Eric Berry has been cleared to return to the practice field, only eight months after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. And the Chiefs have more wide receiver threats, but we are still not the team to beat in the AFC West.

FINISHING SECOND WILL HURT KC IN NFL SCHEDULE: The disparity in the NFL schedule affects each team, depending where they finish. The Chargers and the Chiefs both finished 9-7, but KC earned the No. 2 seed and a tougher schedule. The Chiefs will face the Ravens, Steelers, Lions Packers and Broncos, all playoff teams last year.

DENVER AGAIN WINS AFC WEST: Broken record here.  Many see a drop to 11-5 for the Broncos and I have to agree, but best case scenario has us tied with them, yet losing the tie-breaker. One of these days I hope I miss this branch and the Chiefs win the division. That could be be the year, but probably not.

 

LIMBS

MARCUS PETERS WILL MAKE AN IMPACT THIS YEAR: Last year I made the simple projection Dee Ford would NOT contribute, which was – well – predictable. This is different; the competition for Peters is thin and he should play a pivotal part of the Chiefs defense. The Chiefs selected him in the first round with the view he could start immediately at cornerback.

JEREMY MACLIN WILL SURPASS 1,000 YARDS RECEIVING: Could be a twig here as Maclin only has one 1,000 yard season, but Alex Smith is better than Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez, who were his quarterbacks last year in Philadelphia. However, this is a new year and Smith may target the former Missouri receiver a ton.

Sponsor-ChiefsCHRIS CONLEY BECOMES NO. 2 RECEIVER: Pretty simple pick that could go either way.  Conley, a third-round pick, doesn’t have much competition here and should see plenty of reps and be targeted quite a bit in exhibition games. His competition includes De’Anthony Thomas, Jason Avant and Albert Wilson.

CHIEFS WILL NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS:  Could be considered a twig since many predict double-digit victories for the Chiefs.  Again, these are predictions I hope don’t come true. But with the tough schedule, they will have to win a tough game or two on the road to make it to the postseason. More than winning a tough game or two – like deflating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 41-14 and edging by the Seattle Seahawks 24-20 last year —  the Chiefs must avoid the pitfalls and pratfalls of losing to gosh-awful teams like Tennessee and Oakland, which they did last year.

 

TWIGS

JAMAAL CHARLES WILL NOT RUSH FOR 1,000 YARDS: Last year he accumulated 1,033 yards and averaged 5.0 yards.  This year could be the year that they open up the offense and go to him less.  Maybe a better passing attack will set him up for more big gains, but I think Knile Davis may garner a few more reps this year.

CHIEFS WILL HAVE 60+ SACKS THIS YEAR:  Last year we had 46 sacks and Houston was a stud.  Look for the return of Devito and Johnson to create more opportunity for Tamba Hali and Houston to attack the QB.  The Chiefs could be without Dontari Poe at the start of the season after back surgery, which could hurt the sack total.

ALEX SMITH WILL HAVE HIS BEST YEAR AS A CHIEF: Last year I predicted a down year for Smith, well as being sacked more than 40 times. This year I see him amassing more than 3,400 yards and 25-plus TDs passes, unless he gets hurt.

CHIEFS FINISH 9-7: Wow, with all the positive predictions above, I have the Chiefs finishing with only nine victories. Eleven games are against teams with winning records last year and they start off with a very tough schedule.  Add that they lose a “home” game this year by playing the tough Detroit Lions on Nov. 1 in London. The Chiefs face a tough task to get to the playoffs. We will know right away if we are a playoff caliber team after opening at Houston and four days later hosting the Broncos before winding up September with a trip to Green Bay. I fear a hard-luck season. Again, I hope I’m wrong!

Article by James “JP” Peuster. JP can be reached at www.jpegsports.com. Listen to JPEG Sports 24/7 at www.jpeg247.com or on Wednesdays 3 to 4 p.m. at 1510 AM and 99.3 FM on the radio dial.

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