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Original Issue

2 Kansas City Chiefs

Author:

The plan is for TYREEK HILL to be an every-down player in 2017. This could fundamentally change the makeup of the Chiefs' offense. The 5'10", 185-pound Hill can be deployed anywhere as a wide receiver—including on the line by himself on the weak side, a la Dez Bryant or A.J. Green. He's also dangerous in the backfield and even more so on gadget plays, which are a big part of coach ANDY REID'S brilliantly schemed, misdirection-based offense.

• Kansas City's passing game is unique because it doesn't depend on wide receivers winning one-on-one battles outside. (That's why they released the expensive Jeremy Maclin this offseason.) The scheme relies on route combinations creating opportunities for tight ends and running backs. This means the throws are more about timing than velocity, making caretaker quarterback ALEX SMITH—call him a "point guard QB" if you feel that's more respectful—a fine fit.

• The NFL's two best three-tight end packages belong to the Redskins and the Chiefs. What do they have in common? An athletic, refined route runner who can line up anywhere (Washington's Jordan Reed and KC's TRAVIS KELCE), and a No. 2 tight end who can also line up anywhere (Vernon Davis and DEMETRIUS HARRIS). (The third TE tends to stay near the line.) Remove Kelce and the Chiefs' attack is significantly less potent.

• No defense that has ever allowed fewer than 20 points a game has given up more yards than the 2016 Chiefs. This speaks to their D's dependency on big plays. Kansas City's 18 interceptions were tied with the Ravens and the Chargers for the league lead. What's incredible is that the Chiefs did this in a matchup-based scheme. When they aren't playing man coverage, they play an assertive matchup zone that often ends up resembling man coverage in its execution. Man-to-man defenders typically don't get many picks because their eyes are on their receiver, not the quarterback or the ball.

• Second-year defensive end CHRIS JONES has a chance to be special. His initial quickness and raw strength are tremendous.

"HILL, AS AN EVERY-DOWN PLAYER, COULD FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE THE MAKEUP OF THEIR OFFENSE."

SI'S 2017 PREDICTION

10-6

2016 RECORD

12--4

SEPT. 7

THURSDAY

AT NE

SEPT. 17

VS. PHI

SEPT. 24

AT LAC

OCT. 2

MONDAY

VS. WAS

OCT. 8

AT HOU

OCT. 15

VS. PIT

OCT. 19

THURSDAY

AT OAK

OCT. 30

MONDAY

VS. DEN

NOV. 5

AT DAL

BYE

NOV. 19

AT NYG

NOV. 26

VS. BUF

DEC. 3

AT NYJ

DEC. 10

VS. OAK

DEC. 16

SATURDAY

VS. LAC

DEC. 24

VS. MIA

DEC. 31

AT DEN

Position Rankings

QB

23

SKILL

8

OL

9

FRONT 7

4

Strength

DBs

6

ANDY BENOIT'S 400 MMQB ON.SI.COM/400

21 TRAVIS KELCE TE

27 ERIC BERRY SS

39 JUSTIN HOUSTON OLB

53 MARCUS PETERS CB

83 MITCHELL SCHWARTZ T

156 CHRIS JONES DE

157 TYREEK HILL WR

160 DEE FORD OLB

198 BENNIE LOGAN DT

211 SPENCER WARE RB [OUT OF SEASON]

229 LAURENT DUVERNAY-TARDIF G

276 DERRICK JOHNSON LB

281 TAMBA HALI OLB

286 RON PARKER FS

307 TERRANCE MITCHELL CB

308 MITCH MORSE C

372 ALEX SMITH QB

375 RAKEEM NUNEZ-ROCHES DE

393 ALLEN BAILEY DE

OUT OF SEASON