I recently saw that KC is listed in Vegas as having 100:1 odds against winning the Superbowl. The worst odds in the league, along with teams like St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Oakland.
I really believe that the team is built for a playoff run now, and thus is a legitimate contender for the Super Bowl. It sounds ridiculous considering that this is a team that's won 10 games over the past three seasons, but if Cassel is really "The Guy", then we should have high expectations for the 2010 Chiefs.
We should have arguably the best running game in the league, a solid trio of receivers and an adequate OL...if Cassel can hold up his end of the bargain the offense should be potent. Special teams should be excellent with our returner additions & continued success from Succop. On defense, our secondary should be far above average between Flowers & Carr & Berry (and someone can step up to be a good nickel corner). While run defense is the biggest perceived weakness of the team, we should see some improvement there simply based on the additional development of Dorsey, TJax, Magee, Belcher & Studibaker. Not that any of those guys are going to become dominant at their positions, but they are all young enough that you would expect them to be better this year than they were last. With the addition of a great safety to limit the big plays, I expect the run defense to be significantly better than last season...though unlikely a strength. As for coaching, we now have arguably the best overall coaching staff in the NFL...at least six former coordinators & several Super Bowl rings to go around. If you look at the best playoff teams from last year, they all had a significant weakness. The Saints and Colts both had a non-existent run game, and the Saints had a subpar Defense to boot. The Jets had a great D & run game, but were a poor passing team. The Cowboys and Chargers were both balanced but were undone by poor coaching (my opinion of course). The Vikings were undone by Favre's typical poorly-timed mistakes. The point is that most of these teams had a significant weakness...it's almost unavoidable in the NFL because of the balance enforced by the Salary Cap, free agency, draft order and generally short player careers. By the time you start addressing a weakness, your best players in other areas are passing their peak years or moving on to bigger contracts, and you have to start all over again. The point is, don't fall into the trap of thinking that because there are weaknesses on the team, the team isn't ready for the Super Bowl. There will always be weaknesses.
The key to all of this is Matt Cassel. If he is able to have a good year this team has enough other pieces in place to EXPECT a playoff birth, and have a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl. The team will have more weaknesses than some of the other playoff teams, but we will have greater strengths than most of them as well. The Colts and Saints proved last year that a team can have weaknesses and still be good enough to play for the championship.
This season will go as far as Cassel will take us (barring injuries of course...heh). As for those 100:1 odds, I'll happily put $100 down on that!