First off, I want to apologize to my mom and the Noffke family and Ryan (and anyone else reading this post. Aw hell, who am I kidding?) for my lack of productivity lately.
Secondly, I wanted to get this out there TODAY so that nobody can accuse me of being a bandwagon jumper once their season starts, because what I'm about to say is something I've been thinking about for at least a week.
My sleeper pick to improve hugely this year and go to the playoffs is the Kansas City Chiefs. I'm going to put them at 10-6.
I think they beat San Diego tomorrow at home and win the AFC West outright. Bear in mind, Denver and Oakland are already 0-1, so the winner of tomorrow's Monday Night late game will be all alone atop the division to start the year.
Why pick this team to succeed? Partially, I just love their running backs setup. Jamaal Charles is an incredible talent with fresh legs and speed to burn. He was Top 3 overall in the second half of last season as a fantasy running back.
You all know how I feel about Thomas Jones, AKA the NFL's second best running back over the last four years. Nobody has more yards over that time than TJ, at least nobody not named LaDanian.
But additionally, I think the KC defense could be good, with the number of high draft picks they've invested over the last three years.
I think Dexter McCluster from (from? Hint: SEC)... well, I think he could have a Devin Hester-esque impact on the return game.
Matt Cassel and Charlie Weis are back together. Weis and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennell can destroy an Old Country Buffet like no tandem since the days of Traylor and Washington in Chicago, so you know the two former Belichek assistants are happy to see each other.
Oh, and clubhouse cancer Larry Johnson is gone.
Anyway, call me crazy, but there it is. Kansas City Chiefs to the playoffs. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Want some numerical projections?
Jamaal Charles 1,800 total yards
Thomas Jones 1,100 rush yards
Dexter McCluster 3 or more return TDs.
No other team in the AFC West better than 8-8.