It seems obvious that the coach whose team has hosted the last four AFC Championship Games would have sway over the next season. But this will be an unusually intriguing year for the Chiefs, because we get to see an offensive reset following the departure of receiver Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs relied on Hill and Travis Kelce last season (almost 50 percent of all completions by Kansas City quarterbacks went to them last year). The revised roster (enter JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and second-round pick Skyy Moore) suggests a more well-rounded attack.
In a development that should make for must-see games, Andy Reid has already signaled that he may be able to dust off parts of his voluminous playbook that have been mothballed in recent years.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR
It’s not a huge surprise that Odell Beckham Jr. is still a free agent. Even though he has the potential to be a dynamic playmaker, the 29-year-old isn’t fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered while playing for the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI in February.
At some point, Beckham will sign with a team and instantly boost its receiving corps. And maybe that could end up being the Chiefs, who have a bit of uncertainty at the position after trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins in March.
Kansas City will be relying on free-agent acquisitions JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman and rookie Skyy Moore to be targets for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. But if that unit underperforms as a whole, it may not take long for the Chiefs to seek an upgrade, which is what Beckham would surely provide.
An eight-year NFL veteran, Beckham has proven to be a big-time playmaker for various teams throughout his career. After some struggles with the Cleveland Browns, he made a sizable impact last year for the Rams. And if he was catching passes from Mahomes, he could possibly put up some impressive numbers.
10.7 - Kansas City Chiefs
PROJECTED AFC WEST CHAMPIONS
FanDuel over/under: 10.5
Over the past five seasons, no tight end has a higher win share in the red area than Travis Kelce, who boasts a 1.6-win average — and remember, that metric also factors in when he is not the target of a pass (for example, the help he gives to others by drawing defensive attention and blocking). To put that number into context, tight ends for playoff-caliber teams average 0.9 wins added. Kelce scores at least 10 touchdowns in 53.9 percent of simulations.
Kansas City Chiefs: Week 4 at Buccaneers
The Chiefs have a brutal schedule from start to finish, with seemingly every game up for grabs if the team isn’t at their best. Kansas City is at risk against Arizona, the Chargers, and Indianapolis to open the season, but a visit to Tampa Bay in Week 4 looks the toughest of the bunch. The rematch of Super Bowl LV could be another classic, but Tom Brady’s heroics and an intense pass rush could be too much for Mahomes’ team.
Around the NFL
The Giants will enter the regular season with Kafka in charge of the offense, head coach Brian Daboll announced Monday.
Kafka, the Giants’ offensive coordinator, spent much of the offseason getting comfortable in the role, handling play scripts during OTAs and minicamp, and retained the duties in the preseason. He called plays during New York’s 23-21 win over New England to open the preseason, and Daboll seemed pleased with Kafka’s performance.
The buzz regarding the Giants’ play-caller died down since then, but Daboll has apparently seen enough out of Kafka to give him play-calling power to open the season.
Preparations are in full swing for the Buffalo Bills’ season opener against the Rams on Thursday night in Los Angeles. For tight end Dawson Knox, it’s been a healthy outlet after his younger brother, Luke, a linebacker at Florida International, died last month.
“Just getting back up here, getting in the routine, seeing all my teammates, seeing my coaches, definitely from a distraction standpoint it’s great, too,” Knox said Monday in his first comments since Luke died. “But it’s also very therapeutic just doing what I love with the guys that I love. I know that my brother would want it that way, too. He wants me to give everything I got. I know he is gonna be watching somehow, someway, so yeah, it’s definitely been great being back up here, getting back with all the guys.”
Luke Knox died Aug. 17, at the age of 22. He had spent the past four seasons at Ole Miss before transferring to FIU. His cause of death hasn’t been announced; the university said at the time that police didn’t suspect foul play.
If you win games in the trenches, then Cleveland is set up nicely. Their starting five on offense is one of the sturdiest in the league, and the Myles Garrett-Jadeveon Clowney pairing off the edges on “D” is one of the most imposing. But there’s a reason they gave up so much to land Deshaun Watson: QB play matters, and they’re poised to get passable production there, at best, for 64% of their schedule in a tough division. Interim No. 1 Jacoby Brissett can lean on the run, but what happens in a shootout?
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Ronald Jones will be a 1,000-yard rusher
Ronald Jones is a 1,000 yard rusher this year— Drew Porter (@DrewporterNet) August 31, 2022
Heading into the final preseason contest against the Green Bay Packers, there was plenty of chatter about running back Ronald Jones. Fans and media were questioning whether the former USC running would make the final 53-man roster.
In that last game, Jones did enough to warrant a spot, running for 43 yards (5.2 yards per attempt) on eight carries.
“It looks like he was starting to get it down the stretch,” said head coach Andy Reid. “Good football player.’’
But will he get 1,000 yards? I highly doubt it — for multiple reasons.
First, Clyde Edwards-Helaire will begin the year as the No. 1 running back.
Second, the running back room is very deep; there will be a lot of mouths to feed.
Third, we all love Reid — but we also know that at times, he cannot remain committed to the running game. And let’s be honest: as long as Patrick Mahomes is at quarterback, this team will always pass first.