2. Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs · TE
The first tight end in NFL history to post four straight 1,000-yard seasons is an unstoppable force on the perimeter. Kelce is a crafty route runner with the shake-and-bake and wiggle to separate from linebackers or safeties in space. As a jumbo-sized pass catcher with wide receiver-like movement skills, the eighth-year pro is a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators.
Record Since 2013 2-3
Without a doubt, the one team that the Chiefs have struggled against more than anyone since Andy Reid took over is the Tennessee Titans. Yes, Kansas City was able to overcome those demons in the AFC Championship Game, but prior to that, it wasn’t a great time playing the Titans.
Prior to the AFC title game, the Chiefs met the Titans in Nashville during the 2019 regular season. Despite holding a lead and looking like they were finally going to get the monkey off their back, the Chiefs managed to botch two field goal attempts, which led to the Titans getting the ball back and ultimately winning the game.
The matchup before that came in the 2017 Wild Card game where the Chiefs led 21-3 at the half and ended up losing 22-21. Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass to himself in that one. Yikes.
The Chiefs lost to the Steelers a lot, but it was just that – Losing to a team who was better. With the Chiefs and the Titans, it wasn’t just that the Chiefs were losing, but how they’d lose,. They’d always find the most bizarre ways to lose games against the Tennessee Titans.
The victory over the Titans in the AFC Championship Game was a huge relief for Chiefs fans because it showed their team could beat Tennessee and it didn’t always have to result in an L.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Super Bowl Hangover
The Kansas City Chiefs are reigning Super Bowl champions. They’re rightfully among the title favorites for 2020—Kansas City has the best odds at 4-1, according to Caesars Palace—but getting back to and winning the big game won’t be easy.
The NFL hasn’t had back-to-back champions since the New England Patriots won in 2004 and 2005.
Super Bowl hangovers are real, and for a variety of reasons. For one, reigning champs have a massive target on their backs. While teams shouldn’t need extra motivation to win on game day, they often find it in the prospect of knocking off the champ.
Secondly, the high expectations that come with being champions can create undue pressure on players and coaches who are now expected to win every time they take the field. A slump at any point in 2020 could turn that pressure into a locker-room distraction—especially if the team starts looking to point fingers for the lack of positive results.
Kansas City Chiefs — Darwin Thompson
After winning the AFC and then the Super Bowl this past season, the Chiefs tried to retain as much of their starters as possible. As a matter of fact, the only starters to depart in free agency were Reggie Ragland and Stefen Wisniewski.
In light of that, Kansas City doesn’t have many players it would be open to trading. But if the Chiefs were to trade someone on the roster, Darwin Thompson is an interesting name to watch.
Just a month ago, the Chiefs selected Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the No. 32 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Besides Edwards-Helaire, Damien Williams, Darrel Williams, and DeAndre Washington represent Kansas City’s loaded backfield, the best in the AFC West. Taking that into account, Thompson could be sent elsewhere this offseason.
Overpaid inside linebacker: Anthony Hitchens, Chiefs
Hitchens was a solid performer during the Chiefs Super Bowl season, recording 88 tackles and two sacks in 15 regular-season games. However, that performance wasn’t enough to make him worthy as the fourth-highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL in 2020, with a cap hit of nearly $12.7 million.
21. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
247Sports’ take: An already elite offense might have gotten even better this off-season. The Chiefs kept receiver Sammy Watkins from retiring and got him on a cheaper contract. They also drafted LSU star running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who Patrick Mahomes really wanted to add. This was a strong off-season for the best offense in footbal
Around the NFL
“Phil said he was nervous, so imagine us,’’ said Manning, the retired two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback who is a member at Augusta National. “To go behind the ropes and get in these guys’ world and in the arena with them was really an incredible experience.
“I was not comfortable the whole time, but raising $20 million as people are going through such tough times, it’s something I’ll always remember and cherish.’’
Does Adams want to be traded?
Absent a new contract, yes. Or at least that’s according to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, who reported Friday that Adams “has been upset since” Douglas admitted to taking calls on him at the 2019 trade deadline and is currently “getting some strong trade advisement from his father,” former NFL running back George Adams. The Jets safety has previously denied requesting a move out of town, but all indications are he’d embrace a change of scenery if New York doesn’t pay up this offseason.
AFC West: Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers added cornerback Chris Harris Jr., defensive tackle Linval Joseph and rookie first-round linebacker Kenneth Murray to their 14th-ranked scoring defense that allowed the sixth-fewest yards last term. By the way, safety Derwin James should bounce back after missing 11 contests with a stress fracture in his foot this past campaign.
The Las Vegas Raiders have question marks on defense, most notably in the secondary with rookie cornerback Damon Arnette battling for a starting job and safety Johnathan Abram missing all but one outing in his rookie term because of a torn rotator cuff and labrum. Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock seems promising, but he’s only played five NFL games.
If you’re looking for an unexpected AFC West winner, the Chargers fit the bill with an experienced, dynamic dual-threat quarterback under center and a solid defense.
Denver Broncos over 7.5 wins
The Broncos went 7-9 last season and their new quarterback, Drew Lock, played in just five games! Denver’s offense could be downright scary in 2020. Phillip Lindsay, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Noah Fant and also Melvin Gordon? Wow. I even love that the Broncos went out and drafted Lock’s former college tight end, Albert Okwuegbunam. There’s no doubt that this team got better in the offseason, and while it might take them some time to put it all together, I’m thinking the Broncos go 9-7.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Across the league, most will remember Mahomes’ fourth-and-9 pass to Tyreek Hill against the Baltimore Ravens in 2018 that kept a game-tying drive alive — or more recently (and famously), the 2-3 Jet Chip Wasp play-call on third-and-15 in Super Bowl LIV, which sparked the Chiefs’ comeback from a 20-10 fourth-quarter deficit to a 31-20 victory.
But as our Ethan Douglas noted in late December, success in these kinds of plays is simply routine for Mahomes. When Expected Points Added (EPA) are calculated for all third and fourth-down plays of 18 yards or more from 2009 through 2019, Mahomes is head and shoulders above everyone else.
A tweet to make you think
Follow Arrowhead Pride on Social Media
Facebook Page: Click here to like our page
AP Instagram: Follow @ArrowheadPride
AP Twitter: Follow @ArrowheadPride
AP Editor-in-Chief: Pete Sweeney: Follow @pgsween
610 Sports Twitter: Follow @610SportsKC