Worst players on NFL's best teams
PFF points out the lowest-rated player on NFL's top contenders
- Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsAlex Smith's lack of downfield abilities may prove problematic for the Chiefs.
With over half the NFL regular season in the books, the wheat is being separated from the chaff. While some teams have surprised us, others are where we expected them to be all along. It has left us with eight teams with six wins or more, and all eight will be thinking what could be come Feb. 2, 2014, when New York/New Jersey hosts the Super Bowl.
But that's not all they will be thinking about. Because the journey to get there is still a long one and each team will have identified some key weaknesses that they'll need to improve on during the stretch run. So this week we're going to help them out and break down the weakest link in the starting lineup and explain why they're a problem for the weeks ahead. And as Kansas City shows us, even perfection has a potential big flaw.
The Chiefs may be 9-0, but the arm of Smith has hardly been tested this season. Smith is a player who has just enough talent that he can get by with a special defense (and the Chiefs D is special, as they comfortably are our highest-ranked defense). As the poor results under Matt Cassel showed us, Smith's achievements are still notable, but it means when the schedule toughens up (as it will over the next month), Smith's flaws are likely to be exposed. Smith is our fifth lowest-ranked pure passer and it's easy to see why, with a style that is more reliant on dumping the ball off than making plays downfield. It's telling that his yards-in-the-air percentage of 44.9 is the lowest in the league, meaning the Chiefs have the highest percentage of yards after the catch of any team in the league. Eventually Smith will need to beat teams down the field if the Chiefs are trailing -- and that's not his game. He's throwing just 5.7 percent of his attempts further than 20 yards, the lowest rate in the league and an indication of how limited the passing attack is.
To see the other weakest links on the NFL's best teams, plus get access to all of ESPN Insider's NFL content, sign up today.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Source: Pack ink Shields to 4-year, $39M deal
- Jags, ex-Seahawk Bryant reach 4-year deal
- Cowboys' Romo says he's on pace for OTAs
- Sources: Mendenhall, 26, retiring from NFL
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
THE NFL ON ESPN.COM
Todd McShay's new mock has the Texans taking a QB at No. 1, but it's not Johnny Manziel.
- Nike Women's Home Game Jersey Cincinnati Bengals Jermaine Gresham #84
- NFL Home
- AFC East
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- NE Patriots
- New York Jets
- AFC West
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- AFC North
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- AFC South
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- NFL Nation
- Free-Agent Tracker