Days Until Football is a series in which I preview every NFL team, one a day at a time until the NFL season starts on September 6th. It will preview offense, defense, and give a prediction for the team’s record. Also, I will list a fantasy star and sleeper. Here is the Kansas City Chiefs preview.
Last year, the Chiefs were a letdown. They started off 5-0, then cooled down and blew a big lead in the Wild Card game. Kareem Hunt hit a rookie wall, the defense was below average, and Alex Smith could not carry them. Over the offseason, they moved on from Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes is expected to be the starter.
After running for 100 yards the first four of five weeks last season, Kareem Hunt did it just twice in the final twelve weeks. This is not uncommon for a rookie, so he should be more consistent with a year of experience under his belt. Tyreek Hill is the most explosive player in the league helps to keep defenses honest. He can catch the deep ball and make things happen on a jet sweep or short pass. Sammy Watkins has not lived up to his hype, but a change of scenery could help. Watkins is a deep threat and Mahomes has a strong arm, so it could be a perfect fit. Travis Kelce is a top tight end because of his versatility. He is arguably the best route runner at the position in the league. Kelce can run plays out of the backfield, or beat a safety down the seam for a big threat. The biggest question mark on this offense is Patrick Mahomes. The second-year quarterback is very gifted, but first-year starters are unknown. Will he fit into Reid’s system? Will defenses figure him out? What will happen if he struggles?
The Chiefs made a major overhaul in the secondary. They moved on from Marcus Peters, Kenneth Acker, Philip Gaines, and Terrance Mitchell. Also, Eric Berry is 29 and returning from a major injury, a torn Achilles. To help, they acquired Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade. Fourth-round pick Armani Watts and sixth-round pick Tremon Smith could compete for starting jobs. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens signed a five-year, 45 million dollar deal to help the running game. Reggie Ragland was good despite not playing much last year and third-round pick Dorian O’Daniel will contribute. Justin Houston continues to struggle staying on the field. The front line for the Chiefs is the biggest weakness on defense. Dee Ford has been a disappointment and is coming off season-ending surgery. The Chiefs spent their first two draft picks on the front four, as they drafted Breeland Speaks and Derrick Nnadi, who should contribute.
Predictions for Chiefs
I think the Chiefs will finish 10-6, second in the AFC West. Patrick Mahomes is unproven, but he has a lot of weapons. The defense has been shaky overall. Also, the AFC West is a fairly tough division. The Chargers are stacked, but the Raiders and Broncos will be tough games as well.
Fantasy Star – Kareem Hunt
Fantasy Sleeper – Sammy Watkins