I’ll say it right now: the Kansas City Chiefs will not only make the playoffs, they will be one of the most dominant teams in the AFC Conference.
It’s really simple. For the last couple of seasons, the Chiefs have consistently been one of the better teams in the league. Ever since Andy Reid took control of the helm back in 2013, the team has made the playoffs all but one year. Another big factor to that was the key addition of quarterback Alex Smith. However, the Chiefs never made it past the Divisional Round in the playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Smith. He did so much for this team and I honestly wish he was still in Kansas City. But Patrick Mahomes is no downgrade. His dynamic style of play will be enough to not only match Smith’s conservative play, but may surpass it.
Smith had a career year with weapons like Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Mahomes will have all of those players to work with in addition to Sammy Watkins and Chris Conley, who is returning from injury.
The only competition I see the Chiefs facing are from Oakland Raiders. Oaktown picked up Jordy Nelson and Doug Martin in the offseason, as well as signing Jon Gruden as their next head coach. While these moves look good on paper, it won’t pan out for them. Nelson is at the end of his career and won’t find the success he had with Aaron Rodgers. Doug Martin is injury prone. Gruden may make the team competitive, but I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket with someone who hasn’t coached in over a decade. Also, Derek Carr has only beaten the Chiefs twice in his career, both times occurring in Oakland on Thursday Night Football strangely enough.
Carr might as well suit up in red and gold when playing the Chiefs at Arrowhead, because he does his own team more bad than good.
The Denver Broncos and Las Angeles Chargers won’t be relevant unless they make big moves in the draft, and I don’t see them having the spine to do so. The Broncos were in the front running to sign Kirk Cousins, but didn’t pull the trigger. The Chargers are the Chargers and the Chiefs will own them forever as long as Phillip Rivers is crying on the sideline.
The only team I think is standing in the Chiefs way — besides the New England Patriots — is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chiefs can never beat them, especially when it matters. Once they finally exercise their demons over the Steelers, the Chiefs will be a legit contender to take home the Lombardi Trophy.