Schedule: HOU, @LAC, @BAL, NE, LVR, @BUF, @DEN, NYJ, CAR, BYE, @LVR, @TB, DEN, @MIA, @NO, ATL, LAC
Additions: OL Kelechi Osemele (FA), OL Mike Remmers (FA), RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Draft)
Losses: CB Kendall Fuller (FA) EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah (FA), OL Cam Erving (FA), TE Blake Bell (FA), RB Lesean McCoy (FA), Reggie Ragland (FA), RB Damien Williams (Opt-out), OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (Opt-out), OL Lucas Niang (Opt-out), OL Martinas Rankin (Injury), CB Bashaud Breeland (SUSP), DL Mike Pennel (SUSP)
The downside to winning the Super Bowl is your roster is a lock to get pillaged in free agency. The upside, of course, is literally everything else. And to their credit, the Chiefs were able to lock up most of their core this offseason. I don’t think losing Kendall Fuller or Emmanuel Ogbah spoil the joy of their championship.
With that being said, they will hurt a little. Since being acquired in the Alex Smith trade, Fuller has been a key piece of the secondary. After returning to Washington in March, he will be missed—especially for the first four weeks of the season. During that time, the Chiefs will also be without Bashaud Breeland, who’s serving a four-game suspension for PEDs. Once he’s back, this secondary will go back to being great. Corners Rashad Fenton and Charvarius Ward and safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill comprise the rest of the stacked group.
At linebacker, Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson return as starters. They’ll play the overwhelming majority of the snaps while Ben Niemann will be the new third backer. Chris Jones and Frank Clark may be a little delusional, but they’re an elite pairing on the d-line. Derrick Nnadi leads a deep group surrounding the two stars. Kansas City’s defense is a far cry from the unit that got steamrolled weekly two years ago. As we saw last year, they’re actually good. Paired with the highlight reel offense, this team is borderline unfair.
Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce are all back.Just having those three would guarantee you a high-powered offense, but they’re far from alone. Sammy Watkins will give you a few games of superstar play a year. Mecole Hardman is a young guy who can do as good a Hill impression as anyone. While Damien Williams was huge in the Super Bowl, rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the far more talented player. Running backs usually have an easy transition to the NFL, so there’s no reason to expect him to struggle.
The one worry for Kansas City is the offensive line. While they got whooped at times in the Super Bowl, so did every other team playing the Niners. As a whole, they were a strong group. In 2020, though, they will be without starting guard (and literal doctor) Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, supersub Cam Erving, and some other key depth. The interior line being the weakness if more by default than anything, but Kelechi Osemele starting in 2020 is less than ideal. If any starters go down, the team will have to rely on some questionable depth.
Unsurprisingly given that they just won the Super Bowl, this team is amazing. They’ll start more superstars than supposed weak links. Even after losing some good players and signing virtually no one notable, they remain one of the best teams in the league. Throw in the increased value of continuity this season, and the Chiefs have as good a shot as anyone to return to the big game. Their main competition in the AFC is Baltimore. The Ravens could have the leg up in the race for the one seed, though, with the matchup between the two teams taking place at M&T Bank Stadium.
What’s your record prediction for the Chiefs? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.