Shake off the Super Bowl Hangover
Get the New-Look Offensive Line Squared Away
Decide on Nickel Linebackers
Even though the Kansas City Chiefs got blown out in Super Bowl LV, there isn’t another team with better odds to win Super Bowl LVI.
To do so, the Chiefs will have to buck some recent history. Super Bowl losers have long had a penchant for taking a step backward the following season. Each of the last two Super Bowl losers (the Los Angeles Rams in 2018 and San Francisco 49ers in 2019) not only didn’t make it back to the big game but also failed to qualify for the postseason the following year.
There are some big changes in Kansas City in 2021. After watching Patrick Mahomes spend the Super Bowl running for his life, the Chiefs took a buzz saw to the offensive line. The team will roll out a completely different line than last season, with center Austin Blythe, guard Joe Thuney and tackle Mike Remmers coming over in free agency, tackle Orlando Brown Jr. coming over via trade and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif re-joining the team after opting out in 2020.
It’s an impressive line on paper. But one that needs practice reps to jell.
There is also a decision to be made at linebacker. Anthony Hitchens has the edge in experience, but he’s an average talent at best and Kansas City used its first draft pick this year on an off-ball linebacker in Nick Bolton.
Either Bolton or second-year pro Willie Gay Jr. could push Hitchens for a three-down role in the middle of the Chiefs defense.
Overpaid offensive guard: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Chiefs
Duvernay-Tardif started at guard for the Chiefs from 2015-2019 before opting out of the 2020 season to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada as an M.D. His roster spot in 2021 could be in jeopardy after the Chiefs added significant line depth in the offseason, and Duvernay-Tardif had a tough time playing up to his contract before last year. His cap hit is set to be $4.75 million this year.
Denver Broncos linebacker Vonn Miller is a Super Bowl-winning future Hall of Famer, yet he’s been reduced to a mere footnote thanks to his division rivals. It wasn’t that long ago that Miller was leading a vaunted Broncos defense to its second-ever Super Bowl title, but it feels like ancient history given where the NFL is today.
The fact that the Broncos have been pulverized to dust by the power of the Chiefs is not lost on Miller. He was quoted earlier this week expressing his frustration with the monolith that dwarfs any and all in the AFC.
These Von Miller Chiefs comments are going to make fans in KC smile
"We lost to the Kansas City Chiefs five years in a row, I want to change that sh*t" - Von Miller— Cody Roark (@CodyRoarkNFL) May 24, 2021
Week 5 at Kansas City Chiefs
Opponent win total: O/U 12
After starting the year off perfect, dreams of an undefeated season are dashed by the Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of the AFC Championship Game a season ago. While this game certainly has the potential of being a high-flying affair, it’s too tall of a task to ask Allen to match Patrick Mahomes throw for throw in his own building. The firepower that K.C. has on display will simply be too much for Sean McDermott’s defense on this night, but this should be a fun one to watch.
Prediction: Bills lose 35-27
Projected record: 4-1
Around the NFL
The ceiling for 2022 is nearly $30 million more than the $182.5 million cap set for 2021, pointing toward an expected spike in future revenue for the league following a season that was primarily played without fans in attendance due to COVID-19.
While this might seem irrelevant to those solely focused on 2021, it’s highly important for front offices and player agents as they understand how each side can go about working on long-term deals and planning well beyond 2021. The cap ceiling doesn’t guarantee that the 2022 cap will be $208.2 million, but at least gives teams and players a point of reference for their financial planning, and indicates the league is headed back toward a cap number most expected before the COVID-19 pandemic caused revenue shortfalls resulting in 2021’s reduced cap number.
“He looks great,” Lawrence said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “He’s just a guy that you want to be around. Character is awesome. Had a few conversations with him and I can already tell, and [he’s] just a hard worker. No one is going to work harder than him. Those are the kind of guys you want in your locker room and you want to be around every day. And then I’m excited to see what he can do on the field as well. We got in a few days and he looks great. He’s in awesome shape.”
The all-time great booter made the long-anticipated announcement Wednesday on The Pat McAfee Show, delivering the news on his former longtime teammate’s show.
“Put it this way, hey let me see, today’s, what Wednesday, by Friday, if paperwork goes in, you heard it hear first,” said Vinatieri, who would be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2025.
Mickelson, who won his sixth major title Sunday to became the oldest major champion at age 50, will be part of a July 6 match with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. They will take on DeChambeau and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana.
TNT will televise the event (5 p.m. ET), as Turner Sports and WarnerMedia are partnering with event organizers Sportfive and Excel Sports Management.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Brandt — who served as vice-president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 through 1989 — is one of the most respected NFL media analysts. His choice for the most vulnerable defending division champion — the New Orleans Saints, now without quarterback Drew Brees and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pushing for a return to the Super Bowl — would be obvious to just about anyone.
But for Kansas City Chiefs fans, his choice for the league’s least vulnerable defending division champ is worth noticing.
8. Kansas City Chiefs • AFC West • 2020 record: 14-2
I’m not listing all three divisional opponents here because they’re all poised to knock off Kansas City, even if each team improved this offseason. Rather, they’re grouped together because none stands out as having an especially strong chance of seriously challenging the Chiefs, especially with Patrick Mahomes receiving improved protection behind a revamped offensive line.
A tweet to make you think
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