Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/19/14

ST. LOUIS - JANUARY 3: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers passes the ball during the game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on January 3, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. The 49ers beat the Rams 28-6. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The Kansas City Chiefs will be a playoff team this season. No, seriously. The trade for Alex Smith was a huge step in the right direction, but Monday’s roster moves — highlighted by the signing of wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a five-year extension and franchising of tackle Branden Albert – solidified the necessary foundation for the NFL’s worst team to morph into a legitimate contender. Even before the big offseason moves, the Chiefs weren’t that bad. Sure, they won just two games, topped 20 points just four times all season and lacked any semblance of a starting quarterback, but K.C. also sent six players to the Pro Bowl — the first time in NFL history that a team has fielded six Pro Bowlers and won fewer than six games. Jamaal Charles is one of the few true “factor backs” in the league, rushing for 1,509 yards in 2012 to lead the NFL’s fifth-ranked ground attack, and the Chiefs also return five defensive players that made the trip to Hawaii. Slapping Albert with the franchise tag allows the team to shift its draft focus away from Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel and onto its porous run defense, which ranked 27th in the league last season. The Chiefs greatest shortcoming was under center, as Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn combined to rank last in the league in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. The team’s eight scores through the air was the lowest total for an NFL team since 2009 — a number that should increase dramatically in an Andy Reid-led offense with Smith at the helm. But even the best quarterbacks cannot function without a serviceable receiving corps, making the decision to retain Bowe an important one. Third-year wideout Jon Baldwin and fourth-year slash back Dexter McCluster have shown promise, but Kansas City’s air attack runs through Bowe. He and Smith will likely become very well acquainted this fall. These improvements may bring a team up to .500 in the NFC North or AFC South, but the Chiefs have the luxury of playing in the worst division in football. Though the AFC West produced the conference’s No. 1 seed in Denver, the Broncos’ 14-2 record was bolstered by six wins over struggling division opponents while Peyton Manning‘s squad went just 2-3 against playoff-bound teams. With Oakland and San Diego still unable to find a winning formula and Denver far from an unbeatable juggernaut, it would not be shocking to see the Chiefs field a wild-card squad or even a division winner. Substitute Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne and Chuck Pagano for Smith, Bowe and Reid, and the Chiefs are the 2013 version of the Indianapolis Colts. Expect to see similar results. Photo via Facebook/The Kansas City Chiefs
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Klay Thompson takes knee to head from Ariza

DeSean Jackson skips Redskins OTAs, goes to Cavs game

Texans to be featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

WATCH: Ducks score controversial goal

Report: Ray McDonald arrested for violating restraining order

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Braves, Dodgers complete six-player swap

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

Report: Tom Brady suspension appeal date not set yet

Are the St. Louis Rams setting up Nick Foles for failure?

LeBron: Didn't see Cavs reaching Finals at start of season

Pete Carroll: Communication with Russell Wilson is ‘great’

Lil B takes credit for Harden's terrible game, lifts curse

Riley Curry steals show at postgame news conference

Warriors beat Rockets in Game 5, advance to NBA Finals

Kentucky fan in Louisville has 38-1 sticker on car

Nick Kyrgios talks sex before tourneys, dating female players

Jared Dudley: 'Melo is most overrated player in NBA

Garrick Sherman bashes NCAA in epic drunken Twitter rant

Adrian Peterson denies reports that he wants to be traded

Report: Bulls players told Tom Thibodeau will not be back

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders "gets it"

Bucs DE George Johnson is a dog show enthusiast

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

Corey Crawford is the weakest link for the Blackhawks

Star player missing OTAs? Keep calm...

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Cano's slump: The good news, bad news

Disappointments of the MLB season

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with misconduct issues

Long's great reaction to Bears releasing McDonald

Crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.