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Chiefs were lucky with regard to injuries

3/28/2014

For those with ESPN Insider access, Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders has an interesting takeInsider on the NFL's luckiest and unluckiest teams last season with regard to injuries. The Kansas City Chiefs topped his list as the luckiest team in the league, having an Adjusted Games Lost of 27.6. AGL is a Football Outsiders metric that measures not only games lost by starters and other key contributors because of injuries, but also the severity of the injuries.

For comparison purposes, the Philadelphia Eagles were Football Outsider's second luckiest team with an AGL of 33.6. The New York Giants were the unluckiest team with an AGL of 144.6.

It's an inexact science, to be sure. I'm guessing Football Outsider's calculations don't include the loss of Tony Moeaki, who was going to be a big part of their passing game but injured his shoulder in the preseason and didn't play a down all season. The Chiefs were hit harder late in the season, with Justin Houston, Branden Albert, and Anthony Fasano missing multiple games in December, than they were earlier. Then the Chiefs were practically debilitated by injuries in the playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

But the fact is the Chiefs were fortunate last season with injuries. Unless you count Moeaki or rookie tight end Travis Kelce, they had nobody of significance miss the entire season because of an injury. Fasano missed a team-high six games because of injuries. All of their starters and other key players were available to them at the start of the playoff game except for rookie tackle Eric Fisher, who didn't suit up because of a sore groin.

Kacsmar points out that there historically has been little correlation between a team being luckiest in the league with injuries one year and then getting slammed by them the next. But the Chiefs also led the league in AGL in 2010 and you'll recall that early in the next year they lost Moeaki, Eric Berry, and Jamaal Charles one week after another with similar season-ending ACL injuries.

So while the Chiefs can't count on that happening again, they might be wise to prepare for an injury epidemic in 2014.