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Two potential surprises for the 2020 Chiefs — one good and one bad

The weekly mailbag edition of our AP Laboratory podcast is here!

NFL: Super Bowl LIV-San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

On this week’s mailbag edition of the AP Laboratory, we were asked to identify a Kansas City Chiefs player who could surprise in a good way — and one who could surprise in a bad way.

Here is what I came up with:

Surprise in a good way: Sammy Watkins

The contract year is undefeated — and Watkins’ confidence seems as high as it’s ever been. He believes he is primed for a great season — and if that’s the case, we could be seeing Playoff Sammy during the regular season more frequently than usual. We all know about the up-and-down nature of Watkins’ production over the last couple of seasons. He started last season with a brilliant 198-yard, three-touchdown game that showed rare explosion, along with the long speed to run away from the Jacksonville defense. Watkins was much quieter through the rest of the regular season — but that changed once the postseason rolled around. The January and February version of Watkins in the regular season would be a scary proposition for the rest of the NFL — and would be a welcome surprise.

Surprise in a bad way: Bashaud Breeland

There’s a strong argument that Breeland was the team’s best cornerback during the regular season — and was rather definitively so during the postseason. But it could be tough sledding for him in 2020. Breeland is already facing a four-game suspension — one that doesn’t stem from the offseason altercation in which he was arrested on misdemeanor substance charges. If he’s unable to appeal it down to less time served, he’ll have to wait out the first quarter of the season. For a player with such high variance in his performance so far in his career, this setback is coming at the worst possible time. Breeland appeared primed to get a pay raise in free agency, but the market didn’t materialize; now he’s playing for less than a third of the average salary per year that former teammate Kendall Fuller received in Washington. He’s once again going to have to prove himself in a contract year — and time is running out on a multi-year deal. Hopefully this suspension doesn’t put him behind the eight ball.

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