Arrow indicates direction team is trending.
Final power ranking: 22
Preseason Power Ranking: 18
Biggest surprise: The Chiefs’ resiliency. Some may be surprised a team that went 10-6 last year and won the AFC West title and followed it up with a 7-9 season is trending up. But the Chiefs showed a lot of guts. First, they fought back from an avalanche of injuries and an 0-3 start to become competitive. Then, after coach Todd Haley was fired following the Week 14 loss, the Chiefs responded by going 2-1 under interim coach Romeo Crennel, including giving Green Bay its only loss of the regular season. Kansas City was a blocked field goal at the end of regulation in Week 16 against Oakland from repeating as division champion. Crennel is expected to be the permanent head coach. This is a young team getting key players back. The future is bright.
Biggest disappointment: The injuries. The Chiefs played the entire season with standout second-year tight end Tony Moeaki. They lost star second-year safety Eric Berry in Week 1 and star running back Jamaal Charles in the second week. Quarterback Matt Cassel suffered a season-ending injury in November. It could have been a much different season.
Biggest need: Kansas City still needs some help in many areas, including the defensive line, linebacker and at safety. But I think it needs to look at a tackle. Right tackle Barry Richardson is the type of player you look to upgrade from; I think tackle will be a focal point for the Chiefs in the first round, where they will have either the 11th or 12th pick in the first round. That will be decided by a coin flip with Seattle.
Team MVP: Linebacker Derrick Johnson. He is an underrated player and deserved his Pro Bowl berth. He is a playmaker and is always around the ball. Kansas City finished the season strong on defense and it began with Johnson.
Who’s the quarterback? After Sunday’s game, Kyle Orton, who started the final three games of the season after being claimed off waivers from Denver, said he believes it is Cassel’s team. I agree. I think the Chiefs will move forward with Cassel and Orton will look for a starting job elsewhere as a free agent.