Fresh start at the most important position in professional sports means it could be a difficult year for Kansas City. Andy Reid is as good a coach as there can be for a young QB to learn from, and the rest of the team is solid but something doesn’t feel quite right…
Reasons to be cheerful?
Travis Kelce is 1 of 3 Elite receiving TEs in the league (Gronk, Ertz…) at the moment and his numbers continue to be excellent. Pat Mahomes has a reputation already for wanting to heave the ball downfield but Reid and his coaches will encourage the safe option at times, especially if the team are ahead, so expect plenty of 5-10 yard passes for Kelce to move the chains without exposing the Chiefs to any risk. Once the Redzone has been reached the Kelce becomes a true scoring threat, he has 12 scores in the last 2 seasons.
The other comfort blanket for Mahomes is the rushing ability of Kareem Hunt. Hre led the league in rushing as a rookie last year and should be set for another 1000 yard campaign. Don’t discount his receiving ability either as he picked up 455yards and 3 scores in 2017. Between Hunt and Kelce the team have two players to take the pressure off of their new QB and force defences to play up to the line, which in turn leaves the deep throw open for Tyreek Hill…
Reasons to be fearful?
The defense is nothing special so if Mahomes loses the ball via INTs (which he will) and surrenders good field position to the opposition I think we may see a lot of scores put on the Chiefs. Some of these fixtures are going to turn into full on shootouts this year.
Mahomes himself is in under centre a year early for me. The Andy Reid-Alex Smith combination of the last few seasons was a winning one and it feels a bit like the front office acted hastily in making this change. Some great QBs (like Peyton Manning) have thrown more INTs than TDs in their opening year, I expect Mahomes could follow suit. Still, if the Chiefs get a Manning-Like career out of him im sure they’ll take a year of pain first.
It doesnt help that Eric Berry (safety) is struggling with injury before the season even begins…
How does the season shape up?
Shootouts and heartbreaks I think. Chargers, Steelers, Broncos, Pats and Jags in 5 of the first 6 fixtures of the year mean tough start for Reids men. They’ll improve throughut the year, just need to hope that the early troubles don’t cost them dearly.
Playoffs? At times they are going to look like a playoff team, but INTs and a defense not quite good enough in high scoring matchups are going to cost them in the end. Next year though, they should be back on track.