After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…
We’re on to our last couple of conferences now, from now on we’re heading out West, starting with the AFC West champions, Kansas City
How Did Last Season Go?
12-4 and a divisional title isn’t exactly bad going with a quarterback that was essentially a rookie, is it?
Essentially the whole season become about the quarterback and how easy he was making playing in the National Football League look. Every week Mahomes seemed to have thrown for a million yards or pulled off some other kind of insane play, performing some kind of escapism or trick throws like his no look pass, which went viral immediately; Patrick Mahomes really look the league by storm and what’s more, he was making it look like he was playing in his backyard.
The Chiefs offense looked nye on unstoppable for vast swathes of the season, they opened up the season 5-0, scoring at least 27 points in each of those games. In Week 6 they rolled into Foxborough and scored 40 on the Patriots, the only issue was New England scored 43.
The Chiefs still gained acclaim as it was the game of the season and it was only a last second field goal that condemned them to the loss.
It didn’t matter anyway… They just blew out the Bengals next week scoring 45, to start another scoring frenzy and a 4 game win streak, 26 was the lowest score in those wins, oddly against the lowly Cardinals. Funny old game.
Then it was time for what was (in many people’s eyes but not mine) the game of the century against the Rams. Defense was pretty much outlawed and the two hottest offenses combined for over 100 points as L.A. won 54-51. The Chiefs were 9-2 and had only lost in two monumental clashes against the two teams that would of course go on to compete in the Superbowl.
The bye week followed and after that the Chiefs didn’t quite seem as invincible as before… OK, maybe after the Oakland game they did. Then again, it was the Raiders and they almost allowed a little bit of a come back. They won, nevertheless. Same goes for the overtime win at Arrowhead against the Ravens… They got it done.
Then came the Chargers game; a game where the Chargers led for 4 seconds and won. Another epic game lost… Signs that this Chiefs team could be to got at? Maybe.
A loss to the Seahawks followed and if the Chargers not thrown away an easy-ish game at Denver, the AFC West title and number 1 seed would have been under serious threat.
Alas it was won as all that stood in front of them was the Raiders, and you know… They’re the Raiders.
On to the postseason and the Chiefs and Mahomes were still the darlings and a lacklustre Colts display did nothing to damped that opinion.
Then the rematch, this time at Arrowhead stadium, the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Another epic but another epic lost.
Cap space: $22m
Draft picks (8): Round 1, 29th overall, round 2, 61st & 63rd overall, round 3, 92nd overall, round 5, 167th overall, round 6, 201st & 214th overall & round 7, 216th overall.
In terms of outgoings, it’s all change in Kansas City. Eric Berry is gone after barely seeing the field for a couple of years. Justin Houston, legendary pass rusher for the franchise has moved on for the twilight of his career and Dee Ford was also traded to San Francisco, in a slightly surprising move. Elsewhere on defense, Steven Nelson is now a Steeler as he goes from one bad group of corners to another.
On offense, Mitch Morse, who is a better center than most, wasn’t brought back and is now a Buffalo Bill. Chris Conley is now a Jag and fellow receiver Kelvin Benjamin is on the couch.
So to sum up; on defense they’re change afoot, on offense, Morse side, they’re taking out the trash.
Carlos Hyde has joined in a fairly cost effective move and gives K.C another option as they look to replace the production of Kareem Hunt in 2019. I feel like they’ll kind of roll with the hot hand, I know the team like Damien Williams and they also have Darrel Williams too.
Obviously the departure of Eric Berry left a pretty sizable hole at the back end of the defense, which was subsequently filled by the arrival of Tyrann Mathieu, on pretty big money after his one year in Houston. GM, Brett Veach called this move the “catalyst” of the off season. Clearly defense has been the main focus considering some historical mainstays have left the building and since the offense was the driving force of the team last year and if the defense had stepped up in key moments, things could have been a whole lot different.
Speaking of departed mainstays, Justin Houston and Dee Ford are no longer Chiefs… Alex Okafor has come in but pass rusher is certainly a spot that I’d expect K.C to try to reinforce in a couple of weeks time when the draft rolls round.
Corner Bashaud Breeland and linebacker Damien Wilson also arrived.
Outlook For Next Year
It’s all still pretty rosy for the Chiefs even if they did fall short last year. Mahomes is still in year 3 and his 2nd year as a full time starter and I’m sure he’ll be terrorising the AFC West and the rest of the NFL for a good decade or more yet.
The small issues lie with the fact that they haven’t really replaced Kareem Hunt sufficiently (yet) and star receiver Tyreek Hill has some legal troubles potentially looming.
However with a good draft the Chiefs roster will probably still look like one of the strongest in the AFC and they’ll be looking to defend their title.
Which brings us on to the schedule…
The AFC West is looking like a pretty tough one this year. Not only is it itself one of the better divisions in football this coming season, but it’s also paired with the AFC South, one of the most competitive divisions in the AFC and the NFC North, which is, in my opinion at least, the most competitive division in the whole NFL. So plenty of close and potentially exciting games to come in 2019.
I’m going to put my neck on the line here and say that if Tyreek Hill stays out of trouble and isn’t suspended for any games and all other things remaining equal, the Chiefs will go 14-2 and be the number one seed in the AFC again.
The only pitfalls I forsee are the games against the Chargers, who will (hopefully from my point of view) be right up there too and the game against New England and potentially the game against Houston. 4 games. I don’t think that any of the other teams the Chiefs play this coming year are well rounded enough to contain Mahomes whilst doing damage the other end.
Mahomes just authored the best fantasy season of all time so he’s obviously going to be a major player in your leagues this year, if you draft QB’s early, he’s got to be your man.
Travis Kelce is also the best tight end in the league now Robert James Gronkowski has retired and again, if you’re a madman who drafts tight end in round 3, then go right ahead, Kelce is your boy.
Elsewhere, Hill will be great if you trust him to behave himself… Obviously keep tabs on the news and if around draft time he’s in trouble, he’ll obviously begin to slide in fantasy drafts and you could pick up a bargain… Or you could have wasted a pick and ruined your season but who dares wins, I guess.
With the running backs, I personally will be staying away from them all because as things stand, I’ve no idea who the lead back is.