As far as the national power rankings are concerned, the Kansas City Chiefs enter the 2022 season among the league’s top teams. The only disagreement is precisely where they should rank within that group. With Week 1 ahead, Kansas City’s ranking ranges from second to seventh.
Here’s this week’s sampling:
Is a monster Patrick Mahomes season incoming? The prevailing narrative all offseason centered around the trade of Tyreek Hill and how that would limit Kansas City’s offense going forward. Which, you know, makes sense: Hill is one of the greatest playmakers we’ve ever seen, but you could argue that Kansas City’s offense was due to move in a new direction (many Chiefs fans agreed after the second half of the AFC Championship Game). Do I think Mahomes wishes he still had Hill on his team? Sure. But do I also think Mahomes and Andy Reid revel in the opportunity to reinvent the attack and unleash a fresh assault on the enemy this season? Hell yes, I do.
— Dan Hanzus
Impact newcomer: George Karlaftis, DE
The rookie had a strong preseason and looks poised to make a big contribution in his first season. That’s important for the Chiefs, who are looking to ignite a pass rush that was 29th in the league in sacks last season (31). Significant improvement in that area doesn’t fall solely to Karlaftis, one of the team’s two first-round picks this year, but he needs to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Player on hot seat: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB
Edwards-Helaire hasn’t been a bust, and he is in no danger of losing his job right now, but he hasn’t had the expected impact of a first-round draft pick. Edwards-Helaire rushed 119 times for 517 yards, caught 19 passes for 129 yards and scored six total touchdowns in 10 games last season. The Chiefs will have to make a decision on his fifth-year option at the end of this season, and the addition of rookie Isiah Pacheco to the running back group could lead the Chiefs to decline that option if Edwards-Helaire doesn’t produce.
— Adam Teicher
The Athletic: 2
The good news: The Chiefs have, at worst, a top-three quarterback, a top-three offensive line and a top-three offensive schemer. It might be as simple as that.
The bad news: Kansas City has the hardest schedule in the league. So even if it looks like the best team in the AFC, any playoff run figures to include having to win on the road.
Nugget to remember: In addition to their difficult schedule, the Chiefs also might be facing some injury regression after finishing 2021 as the healthiest team in the league by Football Outsiders’ adjusted games lost. We’ll find out this year just how powerful Patrick Mahomes is.
— Bo Wulf
They have to get creative to replace Tyreek Hill on offense, but Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes will make it work just fine. The question is whether the pass rush is good enough
— Pete Prisco
A key player to watch early is rookie receiver Skyy Moore. It didn’t seem through the preseason like he’ll be a big part of the offense early on, but his versatility could be a nice asset through the season. Perhaps coach Andy Reid has an early-season plan for the rookie too.
— Frank Schwab
The Chiefs have had some issues at running back, are sorting out receiver without Tyreek Hill and have some of their defense in transition. But Patrick Mahomes behind a strong line still gives them a high floor with Andy Reid and his returning coordinators having the experience to coach them through it. There’s no reason to bump the Chiefs down from the short list of AFC contenders.
— Vinnie Iyer
The first power rankings of the season is almost always a crapshoot. You just don’t really know which teams will be decent and which won’t. Although, you’ll have a fairly good idea which teams will be great and which will be terrible. It’s the in between teams that are difficult to pin down.
I decided to run through a season predictor to just kind of determine where I think each team will be. So the rankings below is a literal order of seeding in the NFL after going through and predicting every game through all 17 weeks. I rearranged teams based on their record from there. We’ll just have to see how the schedule plays out.
— Tim Lynch
Tell me you can’t see the Chiefs as the NFL’s version of the Warriors. Everyone kind of got bored with how great Stephen Curry was that they probably underrated the Golden State’s chances to win another title. Similar thing could be happening with Patrick Mahomes. While I do think the impact of losing Tyreek Hill is a concern to monitor, the Chiefs might just roll along anyway. No one will be shocked if they win the Super Bowl this year.
— Brandon Lee Gowton