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The Brandt Report

Alex Smith, Andy Reid among reasons to believe in 2013 Chiefs

Watch out for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Of course, one could be forgiven for answering that statement by asking what, exactly, one should watch out for, given the fact that the Chiefs won just two games in 2012 while giving up more points (425) and scoring less (211) than they did during the previous season (338 and 212, respectively, in 2011).

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However, I think this team has made enough changes to win at least six more games in 2013. In fact, if they're not bitten by the injury bug, I could see the Chiefs winning as many as 10 games.

Not many squads go from last to first in a division, but I think Kansas City has a chance to do just that in the AFC West.

Here are six factors that should give even the most pessimistic Chiefs fan some hope:

1) Ownership

People in the Chiefs organization tell me Clark Hunt will do everything possible to help the team win. New general manager John Dorsey said he talks to Hunt two or three times per day on the phone, and that Hunt is very interested in the progress being made. I think Hunt has really stepped up to the plate this year, remaking the front office and coaching staff and adding several key free agents.

For what it's worth, only six NFL franchises have been owned by the same family for 50 years or more -- and the team in Kansas City, which has been owned by the Hunt family for 53 years, is one of them.

2) A great coach/GM combo

Hiring Andy Reid was a spectacular move by the Chiefs. Reid, who is known for his offensive accomplishments, should help Kansas City really ramp up the scoring. A struggling franchise is almost always better off when it can hire a guy who has been as successful as Reid (the former Coach of the Year has a lifetime record of 130-93-1), rather than someone who's going to have to learn on the job. Plus, Reid filled out his staff with some very good coaches.

The Chiefs also struck gold in the front office; one of the best moves they made this offseason was hiring Dorsey, who in turn hired Chris Ballard as director of player personnel. Ballard is really good, and I think he'll be a GM someday.

The bottom line is, I think Dorsey and Reid will work very well together in Kansas City.

3) A major upgrade at quarterback

In 2012, the Chiefs were saddled with some very disappointing quarterback play. After trading for Alex Smith and signing backup Chase Daniel, Kansas City is in much better shape.

Smith is an athletic quarterback who is very smart and has a live arm. He had a great 2011 with the San Francisco 49ers and picked up where he left off last season before a concussion -- and Colin Kaepernick -- got in the way. Don't forget: Smith, who just turned 29 in May, is still relatively young.

Daniel, meanwhile, has never been a starter, but the 6-foot athletic quarterback has a strong arm. I'm sure he learned a lot in four seasons with the New Orleans Saints. He's a backup, but a very good backup.

I think Smith will do very well in Reid's offense; he's the kind of guy who can lead Kansas City to the playoffs. More importantly, after a sizable hole at this position sunk the Chiefs a year ago, they have two capable signal-callers they can turn to without fear.

4) Better defense

There's no way the Chiefs' defense will be as leaky as it was in 2012. New coordinator Bob Sutton, who had been on the New York Jets' staff for the past 13 seasons, is highly respected within the league.

Kansas City also has some legitimate defensive talent to work with. Linebacker Justin Houston is a very good player and future NFL star. Fellow linebacker Derrick Johnson will provide the leadership needed. Defensive end Tyson Jackson, the third overall pick in 2009, improved late last season and should continue to get better. Free agents Dunta Robinson (cornerback) and Mike DeVito (defensive lineman) were quality additions. If Sutton can get last year's first-round pick, tackle Dontari Poe, to play well, the Chiefs will be in good shape.

5) Special teams

New special teams coach Dave Toub, who did a fantastic job over the past nine years with the Chicago Bears, is one of the best in the NFL. He's very creative in the return game. Remember that return against the Green Bay Packers in 2011, when the Bears tricked most of the Packers into thinking that Devin Hester had caught the ball on one side of the field, but in fact Johnny Knox was running it back on the other? Toub comes up with things like that all the time.

The Chiefs also have an outstanding punter in Dustin Colquitt and a great kicker in Ryan Succop. This is key, as the wind makes Arrowhead Stadium a tough place to kick. Special teams should be a strength for the Chiefs under Toub's direction.

6) Youth and talent

The Chiefs are young (with just four players on the roster who are 30 or older) and talented. Consider that they sent six players (Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, Johnson, Colquitt and Houston) to the Pro Bowl after last season.

Charles is one of the best running backs in the league when healthy. Don't forget, either, about receiver Dwayne Bowe, who was No. 65 on NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2013" list. The Chiefs also have good depth at tight end (with Tony Moeaki, Anthony Fasano and rookie Travis Kelce), which should help, as Reid traditionally likes to feature that position in the offense.

Of course, all that talent didn't keep the Chiefs from tanking in 2012; for some reason, they just never seemed to get on the same page. Still, I think they've added the right pieces -- such as No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher -- to finally make good on their potential.

The bottom line is the Chiefs appear to have a winning formula in place. They have a great schedule (with a Week 10 bye), great talent and top-notch leadership. I can easily see them making the playoffs in 2013.

Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter _@GilBrandt_.

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