The experts at NFL.com seem to be very high on the Kansas City Chiefs this season, with one analyst going so far as to predict a Super Bowl appearance.
NFL.com analyst Adam Rank, in his preseason predictions, forecasts the Chiefs to meet the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game this winter. Rank has the Chiefs winning that game, moving on to face (and lose to) the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.
An AFC Championship between the Patriots and Chiefs would provide plenty of intrigue. The Chiefs are often refereed to as “Patriots West” thanks to GM Scott Pioli bringing “The Patriot Way” to Kansas City. The Chiefs also traded for Tom Brady’s backup, Matt Cassel, when Pioli arrived in Kansas City. The Chiefs were dreadful in Pioli’s first season in 2009 but in year two, Cassel and company surprised the NFL by winning the AFC West. In 2011, the team took a step back, due to injuries and strife between management and then head coach Todd Haley. Following the season, Haley was fired and Pioli promoted defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, who coordinated New England’s championship defenses of the last decade, to be the new head coach. This only strengthened the KC-New England connection.
The Chiefs and Pats did meet last year in the regular season, but KC was but a shell of the team that will see the field this season. Cassel was out with a season-ending hand injury so the world is still waiting (on the edge of their seats, I’m sure) for Cassel vs. Brady.
Rank isn’t the only NFL.com analyst high on the Chiefs. Analyst Greg Rosenthal also has a Chiefs/Patriots AFC title game, however he has Tom Brady emerging victorious. In all, 13 of the 16 voting analysts picked the Chiefs to make the playoffs, either as AFC West Champions or as Wild Cards.
There is certainly a lot of buzz around the Chiefs, both locally and nationally. Peyton Manning may be stealing most of the headlines but for Chiefs fans, the extra attention and dare I say, respect, from the big outlets, has to feel pretty good.
The only problem with opinions is that everyone’s got one. If KC stumbles out of the gate, all the good feelings surrounding the team will quickly vanish. If, however, they can upset the favored Falcons Sunday at Arrowhead, the KC to the Super Bowl talk may just increase.