On Monday, three different national NFL writers published their predictions for how the 2022 season will play out. Let’s examine the floor and ceiling of what they expect for Kansas City this season. In this exercise, we’ll consider the floor to be the Chiefs losing their opening postseason appearance — and the ceiling to be winning their last one.
In his “Football Morning in America” column on Monday, the NBC Sports commentator posted his predictions for the coming season. In the last four years, King has fared very well; his preseason prognostications have correctly picked the Super Bowl winner.
King was characteristically humble about it, calling it “shocking in Peter King history” and bluntly saying, “My forever record says I stink at this.” But just the same, his Super Bowl LVII prediction — a Bills victory over the Green Bay Packers — should be taken seriously.
Here’s how King sees the AFC playoff seeding and results.
1.Buffalo Bills (13-4) Finishing 6-0 in the AFC East makes all the difference when so many contenders have tough division slates.
3. Los Angeles Chargers (11-6) Accomplishment of the year: Chargers going 4-2 in the toughest division since the 2002 realignment into eight divisions.
4. Tennessee Titans (10-7) Slight nod over the Colts, by virtue of the Titans averaging 35 a game against Indy in their last three meetings, all wins.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) It’s almost pick-‘em with the Chargers, because I think the passing game will be fine post-Tyreek.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) The first-place schedule brings Cincinnati down to earth a bit, but the Bengals will be a threat still.
7. Miami Dolphins (9-8) TuAnon, rejoice. It’s not just Tyreek Hill who’ll make over this offense. It’s Chase Edmonds rushing for 1,200 yards.
Wild card round: Baltimore over Miami, Chargers over Cincinnati, Kansas City over Tennessee.
Divisional round: Buffalo over Kansas City, Chargers over Baltimore.
AFC Championship: Buffalo 26, Chargers 20.
Here, King is predicting that the Chargers will win the AFC West with a tiebreaker over the Chiefs — but that after advancing in the Wild Card round, the Chiefs will fall to the Bills in Buffalo.
Peter King’s Chiefs Floor: Wild Card playoff appearance
Peter King’s Chiefs Ceiling: AFC Championship appearance
In his NFL predictions article published on Monday, the CBS Sports analyst referenced his own record in a manner less humble than King did. But perhaps he should have been more modest.
In four of the past seven years, I’ve correctly picked the AFC team that ended up in the Super Bowl, and in two of the past seven years, my preseason Super Bowl pick has ended up winning it all.
There probably aren’t very many Chiefs fans who will consider his prediction of a 31-24 Denver Broncos victory over the Packers in 2022’s championship game to be worth the electrons used to create it. Still, here’s how he sees the AFC West:
1. Chargers: 12-5
2. Chiefs: 11-6
3. Broncos: 10-7
4. Raiders: 9-8
That’s right: Breech is predicting the Broncos will enter the postseason with a third-place finish and march through the playoffs to Arizona. Why? Because in the last two seasons, the Super Bowl winner has had a brand-new quarterback.
Here’s how he thinks the AFC postseason will play out:
4. Indianapolis Colts
Wild Card: Broncos 27-20 over Chargers, Bengals 34-27 over Ravens and Chiefs 31-23 over Colts
Divisional: Broncos 26-23 over Bills, Chiefs 37-30 over Bengals
AFC Championship: Broncos 23-20 over Chiefs
Note that Breech thinks all three of the Wild Card teams will advance to the Divisional round — and that the Broncos will prevail over the Chiefs in a low-scoring game.
John Breech’s Chiefs Floor: Wild Card playoff appearance
John Breech’s Chiefs Ceiling: Super Bowl appearance
In his 2022 predictions for The Sporting News, Iyer also sees Los Angeles winning the West with a tiebreaker over Kansas City — but this time, it will be the Chiefs facing the Chargers for the right to lose to the Packers in Arizona.
1. Chargers (12-5)
2. Chiefs (12-5)
3. Broncos (10-7)
4. Raiders (7-10)
Wild-card round: Ravens over Broncos, Chargers over Bengals, Chiefs over Colts
Divisional round: Chiefs over Bills, Chargers over Ravens
AFC championship game: Chargers over Chiefs
Vinnie Iyer’s Chiefs Floor: Wild Card playoff appearance
Vinnie Iyer’s Chiefs Ceiling: Super Bowl appearance
It’s fascinating that these three national pundits are all picking different AFC teams to reach Super Bowl LVII — but just one team to represent the NFC. That clearly indicates that from a national perspective, the AFC is wide open — while the NFC is not.
Two of them are also predicting an AFC Championship between two teams from the western division — and all three think that at least two AFC West teams will reach the postseason.
All three see the Chiefs making the postseason as a Wild Card — but two of them see the team missing its seventh-straight AFC West crown on a tiebreaker. Still, all three see a path where Kansas City could reach the AFC Championship for the fifth consecutive season, while two see a path that could lead to a Super Bowl appearance.
But none see the Chiefs actually winning that championship game.
From a national perspective, these takes aren’t unreasonable. Playing in a league where passing is king, Kansas City will be without its most productive wide receiver — and on defense, will be depending on more than a few very young players. Our own perspective — that the team now has a group of pass-catchers that could be described as the finest in franchise history, along with a more athletic, opportunistic defense — just isn't visible from a distance.
Nor is it unreasonable for national writers to see Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as having taken a step back in 2021. If we’re being honest, that’s the story the numbers tell — even if our own perspective provides a different narrative.
One thing is certain: if Kansas City can rise above the floors (and especially the ceilings) described by these writers, it’s unlikely any of them will ever again count out a team led by Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid.