While the official record for every NFL team, including the Kansas City Chiefs, still stands at 0-0 the national media have begun their hot take carousel.
With the NFL season kickoff just around the corner, the morning shows on ESPN and NFL Network are buzzing with hype. They’ll get to the talk from an exciting weekend of college football in a minute, but first let’s give the people what they want: piping hot NFL predictions!
I have to admit, after hearing what I’ve heard this morning this is going to be difficult. In previous seasons of the Patrick Mahomes era, the Kansas City Chiefs have at least had the ability to play football games before the division standings were decided. As it stands today, according to the talking heads, the Chiefs will finish in third place at best in the AFC West this season. Talk about an uphill battle! How can they overcome this?
To be fair, I should’ve seen this coming. We’ve heard it throughout the course of the off-season here in the Kingdom. Every team in the AFC West has improved, from the Raiders trading for and then extending Davante Adams and signing Chandler Jones, to the Chargers bringing in Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson, to the Broncos trading for Mr. Unlimited himself Russell Wilson. And while we in the Kingdom may view this as Vegas putting Pirellis on a Pinto, the Chargers bolstering their fragile pass rush with another player who is made of glass, and the Broncos finding a QB who will be more vocal about how bad their offensive line is than his predecessors, people in the national media see things differently.
These players are new! This means that these teams have to be better, right? Of course! The Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill and they won’t be able to get over that, even if they have the deepest receiving corps of Mahomes’ tenure and arguably the deepest in the AFC. The Chiefs’ run of six consecutive AFC West championships means nothing at this point, too much has been done by their opponents to allow them any breathing room in the AFC West. I should have seen this coming! Another trip to the AFC Championship? HA! Try making the playoffs first, Chiefs!
You don’t believe me? Just ask our friend over at ESPN, Bart Scott:
Never mind the perfectly sensible takes that Colts legend Jeff Saturday and Dan Graziano combat Scott’s lava-temped take with. Bart Scott said it best: the defenses in the AFC West are miles ahead of where the Chiefs are! Sure, no one on the planet has seen this unit play together in a real game yet. Yeah, there are a lot of high-level rookies who have impressed in the preseason, but let’s look at the facts here. None of these guys have even made a Pro Bowl yet! Also, to further Bart’s point – Chandler Jones! Khalil Mack! The Broncos’ defense is even touting (scrambles through notes) uh…Randy Gregory!
If Bart Scott’s take wasn’t enough to sway you, let me introduce you to the football encyclopedia that is NFL Network’s Jamie Erdahl:
Chiefs Kingdom, we are in trouble. With minds like this counting the Chiefs out this early, I’m not even sure we should tune in on Sunday when the Chiefs kick off the season against the Arizona Cardinals. What’s the point? You see all of the evidence above. The Chiefs are clearly not one of the seven best teams in the AFC this year. They’re not even one of the two best teams in the AFC West; that’s apparently the Raiders and the Chargers. Not to mention the Broncos who somehow don’t make Jamie’s playoff picture, but I’m sure she has them going 13-4 anyway. Definitely 2-0 against the has-been Chiefs.
As if the news of the Chiefs’ AFC West demise wasn’t enough of a dagger to the heart, we also got the chilling news this morning from Ms. Erdahl that Tyreek Hill and the Miami Dolphins will be making the playoffs in our place. I guess the recipe to success from the previous six years really did lie with one player. I can’t knock her on this one. As Tyreek has said, Tua is the most accurate QB in the NFL and this Dolphins’ offense is about to be one of the best in league history. His stats from last season back this up: how else would he have touted a 8:5 touchdown to interception ratio while averaging 6.8 yards per attempt? Surely airing it out more couldn’t go wrong for Miami, right? Right.
There is a silver lining in all of this terrible news that Scott and Erdahl dumped on our previously excited heads this morning. Mahomes and the Chiefs tend to thrive on bulletin board material like this. He did not earn the “Petty Pat” moniker for no reason. Somehow, some way, the Chiefs have risen from the dead every time the media has buried them in the past. I have a sneaking suspicion that 2022 will be no different.
With an offense that will be as balanced as it has been in the Mahomes era and a defense that will at very least fly around and make plays, the Chiefs are alive and well. We also shouldn’t forget that Andrew Walter Reid and his loaded coaching staff still have the keys to the Ferrari. Let’s hope that the teams on the Chiefs’ “brutal” schedule have written them off the way that the national media has. It should make for some very entertaining game-day experiences for Chiefs Kingdom in 2022.