The Kansas City Chiefs was one of the most pleasant surprises in 2018 and arguably the most exciting team to watch in the NFL. With Patrick Mahomes under center and his terrific connection with Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs won the AFC West with a 12-4 record and reached the AFC Championship game following a convincing 31-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
However, the Chiefs lost to the reigning champions New England Patriots 37-31 in overtime, and god knows what could happen if Kareem Hunt stayed with the team until the end of the 2018 season. As you probably know, Hunt was released in December after accused of violent behavior. The Chiefs went 4-3 without Hunt and were so close to beat the Pats, forcing overtime despite a ten-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter.
Still, Kansas City made it to the postseason for the fourth straight year and won in the divisional round for the first time since 1993. With Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill in the team, the Chiefs’ future seems bright and 2019 could be their year.
Super Bowl Odds: +800
Odds to Win the AFC: +375
Odds to Win the AFC West: -160
Season Win Total: 10.5
(lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
|7||@ Denver (TNF)||-3||.59|
|11||@ LA Chargers (MNF)||-2.5||.55|
|14||@ New England||+3||.41|
Total Expected Wins: 10.99
The Chiefs enter the 2019 season with Steve Spagnuolo as a new defensive coordinator. Their defense was pretty fragile last year, so the Chiefs split ways with Bob Sutton. Spagnuolo already worked with Andy Reid in Philadelphia for eight seasons (1999-2006), while he was the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008 when they won Super Bowl XLII.
Kansas City had to find the replacement for Kareem Hunt, and the Chiefs signed Carlos Hyde who spent the previous year with the Cleveland Browns and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Also, the Chiefs acquired DE Frank Clark from Seattle in exchange for the 2019 first-round pick and 2020 second-round pick, while DB Tyrann Mathieu joined the team from Houston, signing a three-year deal.
On the other side, the Chiefs traded DE Dee Ford to San Francisco in exchange for the 2020 second-round pick, while they released LB Justin Houston who spent eight years in Kansas City.
The Chiefs didn’t have the first-round pick at the 2019 Draft, but they picked up a couple of guys in the second round. Junior WR Mecole Hardman arrived from Georgia where he had 35 receptions for 543 yards and seven touchdowns last season, while safety Juan Thornhill spent four years at Virginia and will be a solid reinforcement to the Chiefs’ defense thanks to his versatility.
With the third-round 20th pick, the Chiefs selected DT Khalen Saunders from Western Illinois, while they also selected CB Rashad Fenton and RB Darwin Thompson in the sixth round. Thompson could be an interesting addition after just one year at Utah State where he tallied 1395 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns in 13 outings.
Patrick Mahomes will drive the Chiefs’ offense and will have a tall task to replicate his performance from 2018. Mahomes won the MVP Award last season, becoming the second player in the history with at least 5000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns. In his sophomore year, Mahomes threw for 5097 yards, 50 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, completing 66.0% of his passes.
Tyreek Hill is Mahomes’ main target, and the 25-year old wide receiver recorded 87 catches for 1479 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Hill also added 22 carries for 151 yards and a TD. Sammy Watkins is another reliable option for Mahomes, while TE Travis Kelce is coming off his best season in a career. In 2018, Kelce started in all 16 regular-season games to record 103 receptions for 1336 yards and ten touchdowns (all career-highs). Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde will split snaps at RB, but we can expect to see rookie Darwin Thompson in action, too.
The Chiefs’ offense was the best in the league last year, scoring 35.3 points per game on 425.6 total yards per contest. Their ground game was 16th in the league with 115.9 rushing yards per outing. The offensive line did a great job and Mahomes suffered just 26 sacks in the regular season. As well as Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs’ offense will have a difficult assignment to replicate all these terrific numbers.
When you have such a prolific offense, it’s hard to expect that defense will be at the same level, but the Chiefs’ defense was really an issue in 2018. They were surrendering 26.3 points per game (24th in the league) on whopping 405.5 total yards per contest (31st). Also, the Chiefs’ run defense was 27th in the league with 132.1 yards allowed per game. The Chiefs made a slight improvement in the postseason, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Patriots.
Hopefully, Steve Spagnuolo will make some changes in order to improve the Chiefs defense which is a must if they want to go all the way. Frank Clark played an important role in Seattle and could be an X-factor for the Chiefs in 2019. Chris Jones will be a key player, and the 24-year old defensive end recorded 15.5 sacks last season (3rd in the league). Also, the Chiefs hope Tyrann Mathieu will fortify their fragile secondary.
Notes & Nuggets
The Chiefs open the season with a couple of games on the road, but they should get the job done against the Jaguars and the Raiders. In the first half of the season, the Chiefs will have a few tough encounters that will all come at home which is great news for their fans. Last year, the Chief went 8-2 straight up and 5-5 ATS at Arrowhead Stadium.
On the other hand, the Chiefs will have a couple of tough road contests in the second half of the season. They visit the Patriots in Week 14, while Kansas City heads to Chicago in Week 16. The Chiefs are listed as underdogs only on these two occasions.
After the last year’s performance, many expect the Chiefs to dominate their rivals in 2019. However, all other teams will be better prepared for Patrick Mahomes, while the Chiefs will have a problem to replace Kareem Hunt who was a big part of their dominant offense. At this moment, it’s really hard to say would they surpass a 10.5-win mark. Considering the strength of schedule, I think the Chiefs should grab 11 wins.
I also believe the Chiefs will improve defensively this term, but it doesn’t mean we won’t see a bunch of high-scoring affairs, especially if their playmakers stay healthy. The Chiefs will battle the Chargers for the AFC West title, and it could be a tight race, so -160 odds are not tempting at all. If you think the Chiefs will retain the AFC West crown, you better go with the over on the season win total at +100.
The Chiefs will need to stay focused and with a bit of luck, they could finally win the conference title this season. At +375 odds, it’s certainly worth a try, but they will need more than just luck to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy.