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Know Your Enemy: Kansas City

Great Googily Moogily. The Chefs I mean the Chiefs were an incredible team in 2018 at 12-4 led by 2nd year QB Patrick Mahomes. HC Andy Reid did what he does best in getting a team super close to the Super Bowl and not making it there (OT loss to the Patriots in a great AFC Champ game). This team had troubles defensively in 2018 but made a massive overhaul with a new 4-3 look led by DC Steve Spagnola.

Strengths

QB

QB is strength number one with Patrick Mahomes exceling in year 2. He tossed 50 TDs to 12 interceptions with 66% completion and 8.8 YPA. He looks like a great young QB poised for big things. He had plenty of weapons and pretty good protection and run game all season. That must continue for him to toss 50 TDs every year.

Weapons

The Chiefs had some bad character players and might lose both of them (Kareem Hunt (cut) and Tyreek Hill (suspension)). Tyreek Hill is under investigation by the league for hurting his child and threatening his girlfriend. Hill had a monster year with 1,479 yards 12 TDS at 17 YPC. Losing him would be a big blow to the Chiefs offense. We will see how long Hill will be suspended. If it’s 8 games only, he will miss the Lions and Packers games but play Minnesota and Chicago.

Luckily for Andy Reid, they still have Travis Kelce at tight end. Kelce had 1,336 yards and 10 TDs and might/may be the best tight end in the league. Rookie Mecole Hardman is a speedster drafted out of Georgia in Round 2 to replace Tyreek Hill. 2016 4th round pick Demarcus Robinson had 288 yards and 4 TDs but will get more snaps with Chris Conley gone. Sammy Watkins was a big free agent signing but only notched 513 yards and 3 TDs in 10 games. Watkins must step up in 2019 and earn his contract.

Run Game and Offensive Line

The Chiefs cut Hunt for obvious reasons after a video emerged of him beating up a woman. Shame on Cleveland for picking him up. The Chiefs still have two good backs in Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde. Hyde struggled with the Browns and Jags last year but had success in many years with the 49ers. Williams replaced Hunt with no problem last year with 5.1 YPC and 4 TDs. The Chiefs can run block well but did lose a good center in Mitch Morse in free agency.

Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz are good book end tackles. Laurent Duvarney Tardiff is a strong right guard and Cameron Irving is an average but talented left guard (former Browns 1st round pick). There should still be a run game for the Chiefs and Mahomes can scramble if needed.

Weaknesses

Pass Rush

The Chiefs really struggled on defense in 2018 despite good units in years past. They made a sweeping change this year losing Tamba Hali, cutting long time stud Justin Houston and trading OLB Dee Ford. The Chiefs move to a 4-3 defense and traded a 1st round pick for Frank Clark. Clark was an excellent pass rusher for Seattle in his career. Chris Jones is a good pass rusher too but the rest of the group has issues. Alex Okafor is a veteran but average at best. Derek Nnadi is 2018 3rd round pick that must step up in year 2. The Chiefs traded for Emmanuel Ogbah (former Browns 2nd round pick) to revive his career and hope Breeland Speaks steps up from his 2018 Round 2 status. Small school prospect rookie Khalen Saunders was drafted in Round 3 to be a 3-tech and Xavier Williams is an experienced backup nose tackle from Arizona. The Chiefs have some young talent and Clark is a very good DE but this unit has a lot to prove.

Linebacker

The Chiefs linebacker group is revamped in the new 4-3 look. Reggie Ragland is a 1st round pick from Buffalo added last year. Ragland is a solid MIKE but could be better. Anthony Hitchens is a veteran Will LB from Dallas. Former 1st round pick Darron Lee was added via trade and Dorian O’Daniel is a 2018 3rd round pick will be the new the SAM LB with veteran Jeremiah Attoachu behind him. We’ll see if the Chiefs can get enough out of these four players.

Secondary

The Chiefs have some big issues with Brashaud Breeland as their cop corner. Kendall Fuller is a good nickel that they added last year in the Alex Smith trade from Washington. Charvarius Ward is another unproven outside corner traded from the Cowboys. Tremon Smith and Keith Reaser are very poor and unproven backups behind Breeland, Ward and Fuller. The Chiefs will be torched without a pass rush and may need to add more at corner. They will have a good offense to help them win games though and will just need turnovers from this group.

Kansas City did improve at safety with Tyrann Mathieu and 2nd round rookie Juan Thornhill added to the roster. Jordan Lucas and Daniel Sorensen are poor backups.

Schedule

Kansas City travels to Detroit in Week 4 and Chicago in Week 16 on Sunday Night football. The Chiefs host Green Bay in Week 8 on Sunday Night football and Minnesota in Week 9 on FOX. The Chiefs can outshoot any of the North teams but all four teams have the defense to beat Kansas City while torching their suspect defense. All four should be fun games to watch in 2019.