With the Kansas City Chiefs having a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs, there is plenty to talk about before we find out who the Chiefs will be playing in the divisional round. Regardless of who the Chiefs play, they still need to focus on what they do well, and improve on what they don't do well. A lot of that has to do with personnel and players who are able to elevate their level of play. Last year that was Damien Williams and Frank Clark. So, who will have to step up this year if the Chiefs want to win it all?
Le'Veon Bell has had an interesting year with Kansas City. He started out really slowly but he has also become a bigger factor in the offense as the weeks have gone on. Many fans would probably agree that Bell has looked pretty impressive in limited touches. We have no idea what Clyde's status will be and chances are he's not going to be 100% at any point this postseason. That leaves Le'Veon Bell as someone who will have to step up. Bell is fully capable of doing so. In fact, he already has plenty of postseason experience from his days in Pittsburgh. Bell doesn't have to be anything extraordinary this postseason, but he needs to show he can give the Chiefs a legitimate running option in the cold. It would also be better if the Chiefs would use Bell in the passing game more in the playoffs. That is one of Bell's big traits and the Chiefs haven't utilized it very much and that's how Damien Williams made his money last postseason. In addition, with the poor run-blocking, Bell in the passing game is a good way to get him in open space where he's averaged about 9 yards per reception this year.
I wouldn't be surprised if there was an article just like this last year talking about Frank Clark needing to step up. Last year Clark apparently struggled with injuries and illness before exploding in the playoffs and that left everyone thinking that Clark would carry the momentum into 2020 with a healthy campaign. Unfortunately, we're right back where we started with Clark who has had an even more disappointing 2020. This season, Clark recorded just 21 solo tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 15 quarterback hits, and 6 sacks. In addition to that, here's an interesting stat: before Frank Clark's last sack in the Falcons game, L'Jarius Sneed and Frank Clark were tied with the same amount of sacks in the last ten weeks at 2 and L'Jarius Sneed only played 6 of the last 10 games of the season. Clark has to be better. The Chiefs pass-rush ranks 19th in sacks per game and they've invested more money in their defensive line than any other team in NFL history. If the Chiefs want to win the Super Bowl, they need postseason Frank Clark. If they don't get him, there will be some serious questioning about the Clark acquisition.
The Offensive line
Yes, the offensive line. We know, that's not an individual player, but honestly we could make a case for every single Chiefs starting offensive lineman to be on this list and offensive line is by far the biggest weakness on the team. It's clear at this point that Mitchell Schwartz isn't coming back (and he may never come back). That means Mike Remmers will need to hold his own at the right tackle spot. Remmers is a huge step down from what Mahomes had to work with last postseason as Mahomes is now facing pressure on 20.6% of his drop backs. Furthermore, Andrew Wylie Austin Reiter, and Nick Allegretti absolutely have to carve some holes for the running game. That trio isn't as bad as people think in pass-blocking, but they rank dead last in run-block win rate as a unit. As for Eric Fisher, he's streaky, but according to Sports Info Solutions, Fisher ranks third-worst in the league in blown pass-blocks at 30. Luckily, it appears Stefen Wisniewski is coming along once again as a contributor but will it be enough? Time will tell.