Chiefs vs. Falcons: 10 Stats to Know

Here are a handful of stats to know as the Chiefs prepare for the Falcons on Sunday

The Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) travel to take on the NFC South division-leading Atlanta Falcons (7-4) on Sunday afternoon.

The Chiefs are coming off a thrilling 30-27 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos (7-4) last Sunday night, while the Falcons have won three of their last four, including a decisive 38-19 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Both of these teams are in the playoff hunt heading into the final stretch of the season, and it's a game with plenty of implications.

Here are 10 stats to know heading into Sunday's game:

  1. Chiefs coach Andy Reid has had success against the Falcons

Now in his 18th year as an NFL head coach, Reid is 8-3 in his career against the Falcons.

  1. Reid's record when….

Scoring first – 108-34

Leading at halftime – 135-27

Winning turnover battle – 101-22 (including being 7-0 this year)

  1. The Falcons offense is explosive

The Falcons head into Sunday's game leading the NFL by averaging 33 points per game.

They're led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who is off to the best start of his career and should be getting MVP consideration. He's completing 69 percent of his passes with 26 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Of Ryan's 26 touchdown passes, 13 of them have come from 20-plus yards out.

Ryan's passer rating on passes that travel 21-plus yards in the air is 133.5, which is the best in the league.

Overall, the Falcons have put together 175 plays of 10-plus yards and 56 of 20-plus yards, both of which lead the NFL. 

  1. The Chiefs defense leads the league in takeaways

The Chiefs have taken the ball away from their opponent 24 times this season, which leads the league. Those takeaways have led to 72 points, which ranks second.

They also lead the league with a turnover differential of plus-14.

The Chiefs are led in this department by cornerback Marcus Peters, who ranks second in the NFL with five interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

  1. Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is a boss

There's really no other way to put it—Julio Jones is currently the most explosive receiver in the NFL.

Jones leads the league with 1,140 yards receiving and has 21 catches of 20-plus yards, which also leads the league.

  1. The Falcons offense has been exceptional on first down

Whenever you talk with an offensive coordinator, they'll often talk about trying to stay in "regular downs," which means gaining a solid amount of yards on first down on average so that you're not too predictable by being in passing situations on second-and-third-and-long consistently.

The Falcons have been the best team in the league on first down—averaging 7.53 yards, which is more than two yards better than the league average (5.48).

For an explosive offense that likes to pick up huge chunks of yards quickly, the Falcons have been fantastic of doing that on first down.

  1. "Yards after catch" is an area to watch when the Chiefs are on offense

The Chiefs have 53.3 percent of their passing yards coming via after the catch, which is the third-highest percentage in the league behind the Detroit Lions (55.2 percent) and New England Patriots (54.9 percent).

The Falcons defense has allowed 1,529 yards after the catch this season, which ranks second-to-last in the league.

So, in looking at players like tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Tyreek Hill, who both excel with the ball in their hands, this is something to watch on Sunday.

  1. The Falcons defense has given up plenty of yards, points

The Falcons have allowed an average of 381 yards and 28 points per game this season, which ranks 27th and 29th in the league, respectively.

Most of those yards have come through the air, where the Falcons have given up 282.2 yards passing per game, which ranks last in the NFL.

They're also hurt by the news that their star cornerback, Desmond Trufant, was just placed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle suffered in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a few weeks ago. Trufant would often shadow an opposing team's best receiver.

Just this past week, it was also announced that defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who leads them with 482 snaps played along the defensive line, will miss a few games with a knee injury.

  1. Red zone scoring is a key in this game

The Chiefs defense ranks fifth in the NFL in scoring efficiency inside the red zone by allowing just 48.6 percent of drives to end in a touchdown.

The Chiefs defensive players have bought into the adage of "they're not in until they're in" and it's a reason they've taken the ball away a league-leading seven times inside the red zone, but they're facing a Falcons offense that's scoring touchdowns on 58.5 percent of their drives, which ranks 15th in the league.

The Falcons offense is going to move the ball and the Chiefs are a "bend but don't break" defense, so keeping the Falcons to field goals when they're in striking distance is going to be a huge key of this game.

On the flip side, the Falcons defense is allowing touchdowns 75 percent of the time that an offense gets inside the red zone, which is the worst mark in the league. It's an area the Chiefs have struggled overall, scoring touchdowns 42.1 percent of the time, which ranks 31st in the league.

  1. Travis Kelce is coming off back-to-back 100-yard games

For the first time in his career, tight end Travis Kelce has put together back-to-back 100-yard performances.

Kelce had seven catches for 108 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks ago, and then he picked up eight catches for 101 yards on a career-high 15 targets last week against the Broncos. Through 11 games this season, the Falcons have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends.

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