The best NFL teams are usually well-balanced, strong on both offense and defense. But there are plenty of playoff contenders that are overly dependent on players on one side of the ball.
For example, Baltimore has been a defense-first team for most of the past two decades. New Orleans had year after year of Drew Brees trying to overcome terrible defenses until the Saints finally put a good defense together in 2017.
Through two weeks, we don't have a complete read of the NFL landscape, but we do have the early maps. Together with the help of our friend DAVE, we're going to look at which teams stand to benefit the most from a little bit of balance.
Football Outsiders' main stat is DVOA, or Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average. DAVE is a formula that uses DVOA but combines it with our preseason projections of a team. The acronym at work here is: DVOA Adjusted for Variation Early. DAVE through Week 2 is looking at 20 percent of the current performance and 80 percent of the preseason projections, which are based on a number of variables, including performance the past couple seasons and offseason personnel changes. Keep in mind that positive defensive DAVE (and DVOA) is worse for the defense because it signifies more scoring.
Overall DAVE: 8.0% (7th)
Offensive DAVE: 10.8% (4th)
Defensive DAVE: 9.4% (31st)
The Chiefs have made Patrick Mahomes a marketable star in the first two weeks of the season, but lost among all the talk of his touchdowns is the number the Chiefs are giving up to opposing teams. The Chiefs made the Steelers the first team in NFL history to score 37 points at home, commit zero turnovers and lose.
Kendall Fuller had a bounce-back game last week, but the rest of the secondary is so dinged up and cobbled together that it's hard for the Chiefs to win on defense without a pass rush.
Eric Berry might come back from his Achilles injury, but it's hard to believe it will be to full form. Daniel Sorensen isn't back from August knee surgery. Kansas City needs Justin Houston, Chris Jones and Dee Ford to generate much more pressure up front than they have so far. ESPN Stats & Info has the Chiefs with a 19.1 percent pressure rate, 29th in the league this season.