Where do the Kansas City Chiefs Rank After Seven Weeks of Action?

Taylor Witt

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.

Points

The Chiefs are second in the NFL in points scored, with 218 through seven weeks. That's an improvement from last week when they were ranked third and also puts them ahead of their 2019 rank where they finished fifth. 43 points against the Broncos always helps here.

The Chiefs are ninth in points allowed with 143, which is an improvement from their ranking of 13th through six weeks. They have been superb in this category for six of their seven games, but the 40 points against Las Vegas still hurts. They finished 2019 ranked seventh, so they are basically at that level again in 2020.

Yards Per Play

The Chiefs are currently fourth in the NFL in total yards and seventh in total plays run on offense, which ranks them sixth in the NFL in yards per play at 6.13. Last week they ranked fourth, and in 2019, the Chiefs' offense finished with 6.22 yards per play, good for second in the NFL. They struggled to get things going in the snow in Denver but are in general in very good shape in this department.

Defensively, the Chiefs allow the 10th-most yards on the 10th-most plays, giving the defense the 19th-most (slightly better than average) opponent yards per play at 5.54. That's an improvement from last week's marks, which tracks given how truly awful Denver looked on offense, but the defense is still doing a bit worse than 2019's unit which allowed 5.36 yards per play.

Turnovers

The Chiefs turned the ball over one time in Week 7 on a Nick Keizer fumble, which dropped them from third to fourth in the NFL in total giveaways with five, which is one rank worse than they ended last season with. They continue to be incredibly effective at limiting their turnovers so far in 2020.

Huge strides were made in the takeaway department against Denver, where the defense picked up two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, now ranking them second in the NFL with 13 takeaways. They were seventh through last week and they finished last season as the 10th-best team in that department, so this is an area that is now perhaps the team's biggest strength. 

Penalties

The Chiefs had a very clean penalty week against the Broncos, with only one accepted flag, moving their rank from fifth-most to 10th-most in the league. They finished 2019 in the middle with the 18th-most penalties, so they still have some room to improve to get back to their 2019 pace.

The total penalty yards ranking also saw an improvement from 10th-highest to 13th-highest. Last season, the Chiefs were worse here, committing the seventh-most penalty yards in the NFL.

Third Downs

The Chiefs took a big step backward in their third-down conversion ranking after a dreadful 0-for-8 performance in the snow for the previously-second-best third-down offense in football. They now rank sixth with a 48.9% conversion rate on the year. They finished last season in first place with a 47.6% conversion rate, which indicates that third-down conversion percentages are up overall throughout the league. The Chiefs finished without a third-down conversion for just the fourth time since 1991, winning the only game of the four.

The defense took a small step forward in these rankings after holding the Broncos' 29th-place third-down offense to 5-for-14, giving the Chiefs the 17th-highest defensive third-down conversion rate in the league at 41.7%. Last year saw the Chiefs finish with a 37.1% conversion rate, so they'll look to make more strides here.

Summary

The Chiefs continue to be the most consistent team in the NFL compared to last season's rankings in these categories. 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 only different than their 2019 counterparts by 42 total ranking spots, the best mark in the NFL by 13 spots. Their opponents for Week 8, the New York Jets, check in as the seventh-most-similar team to last season, which is bad news for Gang Green as that entire organization continues to struggle to put a competitive team on the field. Overall, Kansas City's team identity has not changed much from last season's Super Bowl roster, which is great news for the champs.

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