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Six bold predictions for the Chiefs season

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We polled our contributors for what they think will happen in 2019

On the eve of the Kansas City Chiefs season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, we asked our contributors to make some predictions for the 2019 season. Here’s what they said:

1. Patrick Mahomes will average 10+ yards per attempt

NFL: Preseason-Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

National pundits have been claiming that Mahomes will regress in his second year as a starter. To Chiefs fans who have watched training camp and the preseason games, that take is almost comical. Mahomes looks as good as ever, and his catalog of offensive weapons has expanded since last season. But the main reason he will be able to surpass 10 yards per attempt is the defense. I believe they will be improved this year, and they will keep the team from being in as many shootouts — which means fewer passing attempts for Mahomes. So Mahomes will have to take make the most out of the attempts he gets. Kurt Warner has the modern day record at 9.9 YPA in 2000. I believe Mahomes will surpass that mark.

— Ron Kopp

2. Sammy Watkins will have a 1,000 yard season

NFL: AFC Championship Game-New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The only thing getting in the way of Watkins breaking out has been his injury history; for the majority of his career, it’s been one step forward and two steps back. I think we get 15 games from Watkins this year — and that’s more than enough for him to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. With the Chiefs staring at a $21 million cap hit for Watkins in 2020, they could trade him to a team that would only be on the hook for $14 million. So a good season from Watkins could net the team a draft pick — or conversations about a restructure. Either way, the Chiefs will reap the benefit in 2019.

— Kent Swanson

3. Tyreek Hill will come close to Randy Moss’ single-season touchdown reception record

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Year on year, Tyreek is growing as a receiver. From only being a “gadget player” in year one, the rate at which Hill has progressed is nothing short of remarkable. He is now recognised (and paid like) one of the top receivers in the league — and I fully expect him to perform like one. With opportunities aplenty in Reid’s big play offense, it would not shock me at all for Hill to catch 20-plus touchdowns this year. Randy Moss’ record of 23 will be in jeopardy.

— Tom Childs

4. The Chiefs will stand pat at cornerback — until an injury forces their hand

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

In fact, the next contract extension might go to Kendall Fuller — not Chris Jones. Worries about the position will prove to be overreactions; the change in defensive scheme, the vastly improved safety group and improved play from linebackers will cut down on the coverage mistakes. It won’t be perfect — but it might be better than we think.

— Matt Stagner

5. The Chiefs run defense will be Top 10 in the league

NFL: AUG 24 Preseason - 49ers at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While most Chiefs fans are terrified about the team’s passing defense, the run defense will be significantly improved in 2019. Steve Spagnuolo’s one-gap scheme, big nickel looks and the additions of Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Tyrann Mathieu and Damien Wilson should combine for a much stouter run defense. Coupled with an offense that will force the opposition to throw, this Chiefs team will finally stop the run well.

— Craig Stout

6. Tremon Smith will play in all three phases of the game

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Chiefs weren’t seriously thinking about permanently moving Smith to the offense in training camp. Instead, they just wanted him to get some reps in offensive plays so they could use him on offense occasionally. I don’t think we’ll see Smith on offense a lot, but Andy Reid won’t be able to resist the temptation to give him a try once in a while. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are thin enough at the cornerback position that Smith is likely to get some snaps on defense, too.

— John Dixon