Ever since Patrick Mahomes took over at quarterback for the Chiefs they have been a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Last year they lost in the AFC Championship Game to Cincinnati and then shook things up this offseason by dealing leading receiver Tyreek Hill to Miami, rather than pay him a monster deal. Hill is a great talent but the offense still has more than most and Mahomes is still at the height of his powers. Kansas City brought in a couple of bigger receivers to fill the void in Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The offense will look a little different than it has in the past but what they really need is more on defense. (They still have the league’s best tight end too.) Last year they were 27th in total defense and that is where they need to improve if they are going to get back to the Super Bowl (or exceed this win total), especially since they are playing in the best division in the NFL right now. The key is going to be how their secondary comes together missing safety Tyrann Mathieu, who led the team in interceptions and set the tone for the defense. If they could get more heat on opposing quarterbacks it would help and that was the idea in drafting high-motor edge rusher George Karlaftis. Kansas City has become a play-on team and that takes away some of the value at times.
Kansas City Chiefs Win Totals
Over 10.5 (-115)
Under 10.5 (-105)
Best Bet: Under 10.5
There is a lot to like about Kansas City and with Mahomes leading the way they are a hard team to bet against from game to game. Still, against the schedule they have to play, it is hard to see them winning as many games as they did a year ago. The beginning of the schedule is just brutal. They start on the road against Arizona and have 3 of their first 4 games away from Arrowhead Stadium. All of those games are losable too (Arizona, then at Indianapolis, and at Tampa Bay). The lone home game respite is a Thursday nighter against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2. An 0-4 start is unlikely but a real possibility. After that stretch, they have 3 games before their bye, home to Las Vegas and Buffalo and then at San Francisco. If they don’t get that win against the Raiders at home this could be a really tumultuous season. Playing the AFC West and taking on the NFC West too is a major challenge (plus a first-place schedule).
In the second half of their schedule, there are some gimme games like hosting Jacksonville and Seattle and a visit to Houston. They also play both of last year’s Super Bowl participants (the Los Angeles Rams at home and the Cincinnati Bengals on the road) and have all three of their interdivisional road games late in the season. This is just a really tough schedule to try and exceed expectations against. There are going to be a lot of games where the Chiefs could truly play well and still come up short. They might not be favored in as many games as they have been in the past but no team is a more dangerous underdog really. I am leaning to the under but I am going to admit this is not the most confident play. I see them right at 9 or 10 wins.