Ladies and gents, friends and pals, it’s finally time. After what many of us would call a… tumultuous year, we finally have the one thing we’ve all been waiting for. Football is back, baby! And not just any football. Super Bowl winning, dynasty making, throw-it-across-his-body-for-a-touchdown football. Because on Thursday, September 10th, at 7:20pm CST, the 2020-21 National Football League season will open with a BANG!
That’s right folks, it’s Kansas City vs Houston, Patrick Mahomes vs Deshaun Watson, Andy Reid vs the tiny men controlling Bill O’Brien. That is why I’m here; to bring you excellent coverage of our Chiefs as they step back onto the yellow brick road ending in Tampa, FL.
Along the way you’ll get match ups, you’ll get news, you’ll get my takes which are hotter than the barbecue at Jack Stack, and you may even get a little extra. But most importantly, you’ll get the satisfaction of being part of the growth of Neutral Zone Infraction Properties. Anyway, enough of the drama, let’s jump into why you’re really here: the season preview!
Kansas City hasn’t exactly had the offseason a Super Bowl champion would hope to have. I mean, sure, they paid Patrick Mahomes over $500 million to be their franchise QB (as they should), resigned stud DT Chris Jones to a four-year deal worth up to $85 million, and rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire looks ready to tackle his expanded role following the opt out of presumed RB1 Damien Williams, but the positives end there.
Including the aforementioned Williams, starting OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and rookie third-round pick T Lucas Niang both chose to opt out of the 2020-21 season. CB Bashaud Breeland faces a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy after an arrest in South Carolina.
Edwards-Helaire seems to be the only rookie making an impact in the Chiefs training camp, as LB Willie Gay Jr. has been stuck taking 2nd team reps. The back end of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense still doesn’t seem to have come together a week before the opener, with Spagnulo stating CB L’Jarius Sneed has “a long way to go” as he tries to replace Breeland. However, these are the defending Super Bowl champs, and things are not nearly as dire as they may seem.
KC has decidedly filled their spot at OG with former NY Jet Kelechi Osemele, most recently of the New York Jets. While their depth at OT might be thin, they have two pro-bowl starters in Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, and the job is much easier when an athletic freak like Patrick Mahomes is under center.
Kansas City is also not at all lacking in weapons, with Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and Travis Kelce all still on the team, easily giving KC the pieces to have the best offense in the league yet again. And while they may have some concerns on their defense, Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Tyrann Mathieu, and Juan Thornhill still provide problems for opposing offenses, showing that all is not lost. And who needs defense when you can just throw four TDs in one quarter?
So what does this mean for the season?
Well, it means the Chiefs are primed to win the AFC West once again. Denver seems to be their main competition, as the Broncos have gone all in on second-year QB Drew Lock. Las Vegas has some weapons and a nice mix of young players with veterans, but Jon Gruden’s squad doesn’t nearly have the talent to keep pace with Andy Reid’s high-flying offense. And the Chargers… well, Tyrod Taylor’s decently high floor is met with a low ceiling, and safety Derwin James is out for the season, again. Rookie QB Justin Herbert also won’t be unseating Taylor as the starter, at least not immediately.
This leaves us with the rest of their schedule, which has some decent competition. The Week 3 game in Baltimore and the Week 12 game in Tampa figure to be their toughest match ups, as both expect to have excellent offenses coupled with an above-average defense.
The rest of the NFC South is no joke either, as Mahomes and Co. has to face Drew Brees in New Orleans immediately followed by Matt Ryan and the Falcons, a team which has all the potential to be great, setting up for a trap game in Arrowhead. Throw in games against the Texans, Bills, and the Patriots (who should never be discounted), and Kansas City will for sure have to earn their wins.
Overall, I’d expect the Chiefs to finish nearly exactly how they did a season ago. 12-4 to 13-3, a division title in hand, and thus a spot in the playoffs. The question will be whether they can secure a first-round bye for the third year in a row, as Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will no doubt be giving them a run for their money, making their Week 3 prime time match up all the more important. But if history proves true, then Chiefs fans should have nothing to worry about.