The most difficult thing to do in stock investing is to call the top (or the bottom), both in terms of the market, and the price of an individual security.
Typically, you can’t see the peak until after it passes, and the trend heads south. For the Kansas City Chiefs, many fans are waiting for the drop.
We hold our breath with each difficult matchup, wondering if this is the week that the team comes back to earth. Against a tough Jacksonville Jaguars defense, would the offense fail? If so, would the defense have any chance of picking them up?
The Chiefs provided resounding answers, by both putting up 30 points against Jacksonville, and responding with game-changing defensive play. Perhaps more importantly, the Chiefs asserted themselves as a team that won’t be pushed around. Be bullish on the Chiefs, as they are not going to be bullied.
Safety, Jordan Lucas: In a game where Chiefs defenders were dropping like flies, Lucas stepped in like a boss. His interception and the return that followed was a massive play in this game. We’re bullish on Lucas because of his confidence and steady play at free safety beyond just this snap. Watch for more from our own Matt Lane on Lucas, this guy has a shot to be part of the solution at safety.
Jordan Lucas’ INT was pretty impressive for a guy in his first real game for KC. Playing single high vs four verticals is extremely tricky but Lucas does a great job working into position to take both inside routes. Reads the QB’s eyes and then turns into 4th string RB Lucas. pic.twitter.com/orwCvHuh13
— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) October 9, 2018
Chiefs pass rush: I couldn’t just recognize one guy here (Dee Ford), because for one rare, glorious day, the Chiefs had a very effective pass rush from inside and out. This week, Bob Sutton’s crew logged five sacks, including one each from Xavier Williams, Chris Jones, Allen Bailey, Terrance Smith, along with consistent pressure from Tanoh Kpassagnon. The Chiefs don’t need an elite defense, but if they have one that can consistently get to the QB, they’ll be very difficult to beat.
Cornerbacks, Kendall Fuller, Orlando Scandrick, Steven Nelson: Call these three Young, Scrappy and Hungry (respectively). The Chiefs corners are proving doubters wrong each week. They’ve often been invisible, which is typically very good news for corners. You only notice them if they are getting beat or getting turnovers. Against Jacksonville, they contributed to the five-turnover performance, as Scandrick and Nelson each came up with a Bortles pick. The team may still be looking for the right combination of depth behind these three, but they are not throwing away their shot.
Defensive lineman, Chris Jones: It was stupid of Jones and fortunate for the Jaguars that he was ejected. No. 95 had some dominant moments this week, including a sack and the pick-six that essentially put the game out of reach. Jones is the man on the Chiefs front.
Kicker, Harrison Butker: Lost in the excitement of the Mahomes-led offense and the 5-0 record, buttkicker.com has been perfect this season on field goals and extra points. Having a reliable kicker is critical for a playoff contender, and the Chiefs have one that you feel like could be automatic.
Anthony Sherman: Not enough people are talking about the elite throw-and-catch to convert on a big third-down play. Is Sherman an under-utilized weapon on this Chiefs offense? He delivers when called upon, running the ball against Denver last season, and has become a featured receiver in 2018. We’re all witnesses of the Mahomes-to-Sherman connection.
The Chiefs: Another week, another test passed. We’ve now seen this team light up the scoreboard on offense, come from behind, win on the road, win at home, dominate on special teams. They won against Denver when everything went against them, they won this week with turnovers and big stops on defense. They’ve overcome injuries, penalties, ejections, and this week… interceptions. The arrow is pointing up, mostly because of the quarterback. But, these Chiefs have shown toughness, confidence and balance in recent weeks, which bodes very well for the rest of the season and postseason.
Ron Parker: The late addition of Ron Parker this season has helped bring some continuity to the Chiefs defense from last season. Unfortunately, that means the good and the bad has continued. Parker still doesn’t really tackle well and is largely responsible for frequent coverage lapses in the secondary. Maybe he was a bridge to Armani Watts, but now that Watts is on injured reserve, we’re likely to see more of the same from Parker, and that may be part of the problem.
Breeland Speaks: I really hate to be piling on the Chiefs rookie, but he doesn’t appear to be turning the corner yet (pun intended). It’s fair to question the decision to draft Speaks over other players that could have been making an impact at this point. It’s also fair to wonder whether it was a mistake to try and move him to the outside. With injuries abound for the Chiefs outside linebackers, Speaks will continue to see plenty of snaps. So, we’ll have to continue to hope he shows tangible progress in them.
Second time this game that a quick set and early punch has floored Speaks. He kinda has one move right now that OTs are able to time up at times, and when they catch him leaning into the long arm before the big club, it’s not good. pic.twitter.com/LRATwrYbxD
— Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina) October 9, 2018
The inside linebackers: We’re full-on bearish on Reggie Ragland, who is seeing less of the field, only 29 percent this week. Anthony Hitchens is left chasing running backs and watching opposing quarterbacks pick on him and Terrance Smith in coverage. Something has to give here, as what should have been a strength is now the clear weakness on this defense.
Demarcus Robinson: Out-snapped by DeAnthony Thomas this week, No. 11 hasn’t been a big factor. Many thought he could breakout with Mahomes, and they’ve had their moments, but it’s now three of the first five weeks that Robinson didn’t record a catch.
LB/S Dorian O’Daniel: I believe the plan was to bring O’Daniel along slowly. The Chiefs desperately need an inside linebacker that can cover and a safety that can be an enforcer. O’Daniel was drafted to fill both roles. He was on the field for seven defensive snaps this week (which is actually an increase from previous weeks), and the majority of the special teams. He’s got a chance to be a factor later in the season.
Depth: On one hand, the Chiefs persevered this week and were victorious despite losing their starting right guard (LDT-broken leg), both starting outside linebackers (Houston-hamstring, Ford-ejected), a defensive lineman (Jones-ejected) and two safeties (Murray-ankle, Watts-groin). On the other hand, they’ll really miss some of these guys against the Patriots this week, and beyond. The Chiefs have proven they had improved depth to start this season—will they be able to keep winning the war of attrition?
The offensive line: I think it’s time to recognize that this offensive line unit has established an identity. They have been really good in pass protection…with the assist from Mahomes, who is remarkably elusive. They can run-block when it matters most, even if the box score doesn’t show it. The Chiefs offensive line hasn’t backed down against very good defenses with elite pass rushers. We’ll now see if they have the depth to make up for the loss of arguably their best player.