This year, I wanted to check in on how the Kansas City Chiefs stacked up in various team statistical categories. I decided that it would be instructive to update those rankings weekly and see if a clear picture develops as to where the strengths and weaknesses on the team are coming from.
As always, if you want to hear my observations about the team in more detail, please tune in to It's Always Sunny in Chiefs Kingdom to hear our detailed breakdowns of the previous and upcoming Chiefs games.
I'm tracking the Chiefs' team rankings weekly in the following five categories: points, yards per play, turnovers, penalties, and third-down conversion rate. That should give a good idea of their overall progress as the season moves forward. I'm going to compare their NFL rank this week with their NFL rank last week and their NFL rank last season for each category.
The Chiefs are second in the NFL in points scored with 403 through 13 games after putting up 33 against the Miami Dolphins. Their second-place ranking puts them ahead of their 2019 rank where they finished fifth. Patrick Mahomes and the offense are humming along and piling up points just as everyone expected they would.
The Chiefs are eighth in points allowed with 254, which is two spots worse than where they ranked through 12 games. Kansas City has been superb in this category. They finished 2019 ranked seventh, so they're right in that range again in 2020.
Yards Per Play
The Chiefs are currently first in the NFL in total yards and 10th in total plays run on offense, which ranks them first in the NFL in yards per play at 6.57. They were also ranked first through 12 games, and in 2019, the Chiefs' offense finished with 6.22 yards per play, which was good for second in the NFL. Yes, the Chiefs offense is actually performing at a higher level than they were in their Super Bowl campaign, and by a pretty healthy margin.
Defensively, the Chiefs allow the 16th-most yards on the 15th-most plays, giving the defense the 18th-highest (so, close to the midpoint) opponent yards per play at 5.56. They were ranked 16th through 12 games, and the defense is still running a little behind 2019's mark of 5.36 yards per play.
It was an ugly day in the turnover department for the Chiefs, as the Dolphins picked Patrick Mahomes off three times and recovered a Mecole Hardman fumble, adding four turnovers to what was the league-low number of eight total. This dropped the offense down to third in the NFL in giveaways with 12. They were third-best in this category in 2019. The turnover issues were well outside of the norm for this offense and will likely be the most they give the ball away for quite some time.
The defense recorded their 20th takeaway of the season on an excellent play in the secondary by Tyrann Mathieu, who now has four interceptions over his last three games. They were also ranked seventh through 12 games, and they finished last season as the 10th-best team in that department. The defense will look to continue to be opportunistic down the stretch.
The Chiefs picked up eight penalties against the Dolphins and are still the second-most penalized team in football. They finished 2019 in the middle with the 18th-most penalties, so this is the main area that has seen quite a bit of change in 2020.
The total penalty yards are also a problem, as expected with a high number of penalties. The Chiefs have racked up the seventh-most penalty yards through 13 games, one spot worse than last week. Last season, the Chiefs also had the seventh-most penalty yards in the NFL.
The Chiefs offense was pretty average on third down against the Dolphins. Kansas City was 5-for-11 and dropped two spots to fourth in the NFL in conversion percentage at 48.7%. They finished last season in first place with a 47.6% conversion rate, which is a good sign that the offense is as deadly as ever even if their ranking is a few spots different.
The defense also had an average game on third down against Miami, as the Dolphins went 7-for-15, dropping the Chiefs two spots in defensive third-down conversion rate from 15th-highest to 13th-highest at 42.4%. Last year saw the Chiefs finish with a 37.1% conversion rate, so they're checking in slightly worse this season, but overall, pretty similar.
The Chiefs have once again regained their title as the most consistent team in football from the Detroit Lions. Of these 10 metrics (points for, points against, yards per play, yards per play allowed, giveaways, takeaways, penalties, penalty yards, third-down conversion percentage, and defensive third-down conversion percentage) the Chiefs are different than their 2019 counterparts by 36 total ranking spots, the most consistent team by one over the Lions.
Next up for the Chiefs is a showdown with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, who are another consistent team compared to last season, ranking sixth on the list. Kansas City's team identity has not changed much at all from last season's Super Bowl roster, which is great news for the defending champs.