KC Chiefs: 10 bold predictions entering the 2022 season
After hosting four consecutive AFC Championship games, the Chiefs have the potential to continue exceeding all expectations in 2022.
It seems difficult to believe that after all that the Kansas City Chiefs have accomplished over the last four seasons, the team could still surprise its’ fans by setting new benchmarks for success in 2022. Nonetheless, this team has the potential to do just that; in fact, the 2022 iteration of the Chiefs has the potential to be the best team in franchise history and far exceed the expectations of even the most die hard amongst Chiefs Kingdom.
Consider that Kansas City is projected to give significant playing time to at least two rookies on offense (running back Isiah Pacheco and wide receiver Skyy Moore), while also replacing its’ top wide receiver in Pro Bowler Tyreek Hill, whom the team notably traded to the Miami Dolphins this offseason.
On defense, the team will see even more rookie infusion, with projected major contributors at every level of the unit. Along the defensive line the Chiefs are prepared to see first round pick George Karlaftis be their second or third edge rusher; linebacker and third round pick Leo Chenal will be in the mix to play significant snaps in the middle of the field; and the secondary is likely to see the team’s other first round pick, cornerback Trent McDuffie, start for the defense while safety Bryan Cook and cornerbacks, Joshua Williams and Jaylon Watson seem to be in line for a lot of playing time as well. And we have yet to mention that the team heads into 2022 without the man who has quarterbacked the defense the last three years, as safety Tyrann Mathieu signed with the New Orleans Saints in the offseason.
Despite all of these changes, and all of this youth, Kansas City seems primed to again find itself at the top of the heap of the NFL hierarchy, and along the way, leave us mesmerized with some of unbelievable feats.
Without further ado, here are your 10 bold predictions for the 2022 Kansas City Chiefs season:
10 – The defense is really not good through Week Four
This will be one of the least bold takes we make for the season. But, perhaps the boldness is in how bad the defense may be, and how short lived that ineptitude will last. We’re not just predicting that Kansas City will have a bad defense; we’re predicting the Chiefs will have a bottom five defense in the entire league through the season’s first four weeks. We’ve already discussed the youth which infuses the entire unit, and that will almost certainly see some growing pains working in defense coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s plans. That’s not only to be expected, but it’s also a historical trend for Spags’ defenses, who always seem to start seasons off slowly before hitting a higher stride as the season progresses.
Beyond that, we must consider the start of the schedule, which features four teams who could all compete to make the playoffs, if not compete to win their divisions. In addition to being overall good teams, they also all have excellent offensive potential which could challenge the Chiefs young offense. The gauntlet consists of matchups against quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Justin Herbert, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady, all of whom possess a high enough Football IQ and enough talent, not to mention the talent around them, to force the young Kansas City secondary into difficult and ill-advised decisions.
As a result, it should not be at all surprising at all if the Chiefs enter the season’s second quarter with a bottom five ranked defense.
9 – The defense is a top ten unit the rest of the way
Fortunately for Kansas City and its’ fans, the talent and potential on this roster is immense, and it will not take long for the defense to correct course and ascend towards the top of the NFL.
It would be absurd to predict the Chiefs to finish with a top five defense, especially considering how we’ve predicted them to start. But, it does not seem nearly as outlandish to say that the team has a solid second quarter of the season before having a very strong second half of the year. We should expect the defense to get statistically (and actually) better as the competition balances out for games 5 through 9 with only one game against a surefire top 10 offense (Bills) and four games against teams who should give the defense time to acclimate and improve (Raiders, 49ers, Titans, Jaguars). Then, of course the schedule picks back up again for the second half of the season but the defense will be in full stride by that point and ready for the challenge.
In 2021, the team finished 26th in yards allowed but 8th overall in points allowed. Between the immense talent amongst the linebackers, the new look and ascending secondary, and an improved defensive line (especially pass rush), Kansas City should see a much improved defensive performance in 2022. In fact, we should expect that this is the best defense that the Chiefs have fielded since Patrick Mahomes took over as the team’s starting quarterback.