It’s NFL team preview time, and today we’re looking at the Chiefs. Each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from July 25 through Sept. 8, we will take an in-depth look at each team in the NFL with a 7- to 10-minute video going through impactful additions and departures, last year’s rankings and strength of schedule in 2023.
Home Field Sports analyst Jim Derry will then make a prediction on the team’s record this season and where they will finish in their respective division, along with the over/under win total, as posted at Caesars Sportsbook.
These stories are a brief summary of the accompanied preview videos – powered by the Dattitude Podcast (which will review each division every Friday until the season begins). The schedule for when each team will run is listed below with a link to each story and video that already has run.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Coach: Andy Reid (11th season)
2022 record: 14-3, 1st in AFC West; defeated Jacksonville, 27-20, in divisional round; defeated Cincinnati, 23-20, in AFC Championship; defeated Philadelphia, 38-35, in Super Bowl LVII.
Last season in a nutshell: In last year’s preview, we told you while we didn’t love their chances to earn the top seed and a bye in the AFC, they could be had for a bargain for a Super Bowl victory.
We were wrong about them not earning the bye (Buffalo’s canceled game against Cincinnati didn’t hurt), but that ridiculously tough schedule to start didn’t affect them much at all. Therefore, there were no real bargains to be found on Kansas City much after a shocking Week 3 loss to the Chiefs.
In fact, other than a Week 6 loss to the Bills and a Week 13 defeat at the hands of Joe Burrow and the Bengals, they really steamrolled most other opponents, including San Francisco, Seattle, Jacksonville, and their AFC West foes, of course.
Remember when every talking head on the planet said Patrick Mahomes would suffer in losing Tyreek Hill? Yeah, um, that was a big fat miss. Instead, Mahomes passed for 41 touchdowns and a career-high 5,250 yards (which is just 227 off Peyton Manning’s all-time record). He won his second season MVP and followed up with a Super Bowl LVII MVP in leading the Chiefs back to a 38-35 victory over the Eagles.
Travis Kelce had one of the best seasons ever for a tight end with 110 receptions for 1,338 yards and 12 scores, while rookie Isiah Pacheco had an incredible rookie season with 960 yards of total offense with about three-quarters of that coming in the second half.
The defense was good, but not great. They allowed 24 points or more in nine regular-season games and more than 400 yards four times. The unit was 20th in creating turnovers and last in passing touchdowns allowed.
But do you need to have an incredible defense when you have Coach Andy Reid, Mahomes and Kelce? They didn’t last year.
2023 bye week: 10
2023 Draft: 1 (31st overall) DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State; 2 (55) WR Rashee Rice, SMU; 3 (92) T Wanya Morris, Oklahoma; 4 (119) S Chamarri Conner, Virginia Tech; 5 (166) LB BJ Thompson, Stephen F. Austin; 6 (194) DT Keondre Coburn, Texas; 7 (250) CB Nic Jones, Ball State.
Free-agent signings: RT Jawaan Taylor (from Jacksonville), 4 years, $80M; DE Charles Omenihu (from San Francisco), 2 years, $16M; LT Donovan Smith (from Tampa Bay), 1 year, $3M; LB Drue Tranquill (from LA Chargers), 1 year, $3M; S Mike Edwards (from Tampa Bay), 1 year, $3M; QB Blaine Gabbert (from Tampa Bay), 1 year, $1.32M; WR Richie James (from NY Giants), 1 year, $1.23M; DE Matt Dickerson (from Atlanta), 1 year, $1.08M; CB Lamar Jackson (from Denver), 1 year, $940K.
What needs to go right: More than you might think. It’s easy to say, “Oh, well, the Chiefs will be the Chiefs and make their usual run.” But I just don’t see it being nearly as easy this season.
As great as Mahomes is, it’s unlikely he’ll pass for 5,000 yards again. “Whatever, Derry. He’s Patrick Mahomes.” He is, but he has a star tight end that has to begin his age-related descent at some point, and turning 34 in October seems about right. The best player at the position before him – Tony Gonzalez – began sliding downward (ever-so-slightly) at age 33.
Also, the losses of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman will play a role, although not as much as losing left tackle Orlando Brown (who is being replaced by 30-year-old Donovan Smith). They also lost their right tackle in Andrew Wylie (to Washington), although Jawaan Taylor is an upgrade.
What will the continuity look like on that line? And will Pacheco be able to take the next step forward and give the Chiefs an uptick from that 20th-ranked rushing offense?
On defense, not only did they lose linemen Khalen Saunders to the Saints and Frank Clark to the rival Broncos, but safety Juan Thornhill signed a 3-year, $21 million contract in Cleveland. Also, at the time of this typing, All-Pro DT Chris Jones is entering the final year of a contract extension and says he won’t report to the team until he gets a significant raise.
Key moments in video:
With the defending champs, you have to talk about 2022 before you can talk about 2023 (1:11); Do their losses from last season tell a story? (2:28); They went all out on the offensive line because that’s where their big losses came from (3:29); Is this when Travis Kelce begins an age decline? (4:12); Losses on defense and holdout a big deal (5:10); Dissecting the 2023 schedule (6:59); Over/Under win totals, projected record, finish in division and best bet (9:25).
PREVIEW SCHEDULE / LINKS
July 25: Houston Texans
July 26: Indianapolis Colts
July 27: Jacksonville Jaguars
July 28: Tennessee Titans
Aug. 1: Arizona Cardinals
Aug. 2: Los Angeles Rams
Aug. 3: San Francisco 49ers
Aug. 4: Seattle Seahawks
Aug. 8: Denver Broncos
Aug. 9: Kansas City Chiefs
Aug. 10: Las Vegas Raiders
Aug. 11: Los Angeles Chargers
Aug. 15: Dallas Cowboys
Aug. 16: New York Giants
Aug. 17: Philadelphia Eagles
Aug. 18: Washington Commanders
Aug. 22: Buffalo Bills
Aug. 23: Miami Dolphins
Aug. 24: New England Patriots
Aug. 25: New York Jets
Aug. 29: Chicago Bears
Aug. 29: Detroit Lions
Aug. 30: Green Bay Packers
Aug. 30: Minnesota Vikings
Aug. 31: Baltimore Ravens
Aug. 31: Cincinnati Bengals
Sept. 1: Cleveland Browns
Sept. 2: Pittsburgh Steelers
Sept. 5: Atlanta Falcons
Sept. 6: Carolina Panthers
Sept. 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sept. 8: New Orleans Saints