Why KC Chiefs should take the Cardinals seriously

Kyler Murray had 3 TD passes in Sunday's win over the Texans.Syndication Arizona Republic
Kyler Murray had 3 TD passes in Sunday's win over the Texans.Syndication Arizona Republic /

The KC Chiefs open their season against the Arizona Cardinals. Here’s why the Chiefs and their fans need to take them seriously.

The Kansas City Chiefs are set to open their 2022 campaign this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale. The Chiefs are around 4-5 point favorites at many sportsbooks, which is high considering the Cardinals are at home, have an elite quarterback, and made the playoffs last season. According to NFL Pickwatch, as of the writing of this post, 92% of NFL experts are predicting the Chiefs to win straight up, compared to 86% of fans.

Despite the confidence in Kansas City this weekend, the Chiefs and their fans need to keep their eye on the ball, cut out the noise, and take the Arizona Cardinals seriously if they want to earn their seventh consecutive Week 1 victory.

Here are five reasons why the Chiefs need to take the Cardinals seriously:

1. Kyler Murray is uber talented

Yes, Kyler Murray made headlines for a lot of the wrong reasons in the offseason, including his dissatisfaction with his contract talks being leaked as well as a now-removed clause that would have required him to study at least four hours of game film per week, which is bizarre. Despite all of that, he is still an elite player (borderline elite at worst) and is capable of winning games by himself.

Kyler Murray is not a perfect player by any means but his talent is among the best at his position. His mobility is rivaled by only a small handful of quarterbacks and he also has extremely underrated arm talent. According to Pro Football Focus ($), Kyler Murray led the NFL in Big Time Throw Rate in 2021 with 7.9% of his pass attempts deemed a Big Time Throw (a pass with excellent ball location and timing, generally thrown further down the field and/or into a tighter window).

Kyler Murray does have flaws, such as leadership and work ethic (both allegedly), but his talent is close to the level of Mahomes and he is more than capable of stealing games on his own.

2. The Cardinals always come out of the gates hot

It’s been a running joke with Kliff Kingsbury that he has great first halves of seasons but falls off a cliff in the second half. That’s actually true when you look at the numbers. Some theorize that it means that Kingsbury gets “figured out” by other coaches and others believe that means he’s a great coach that carries his teams to better records than they deserve to start the year. I lie somewhere in the middle but lean towards the former.

No matter why Kliff Kinsbury and the Cardinals are better in September/October, they have been for the past three years and it’s unknown whether that will change this season. If the trend holds true this season, then Arizona should be firing on all cylinders come Sunday.

3. The Chiefs may not have the best start to the season

When I say that the Chiefs may not get off to the best start, I mean that they may have some growing pains both on offense and defense. On offense, Patrick Mahomes will have to get used to life without Tyreek Hill and develop chemistry with his new receivers, including JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Justin Watson, and Jody Fortson.

On defense, the Chiefs brought in a boatload of new talent, both in the secondary and front seven. A lot of that talent is young, including multiple starters, and the unit may not figure it out until the middle of the season. This year may also be similar to 2019 and 2021 in that the defense may get off to a slow start and then improve as the year goes on. If that also holds true then Chiefs fans may not like the performance the Chiefs give when the Cardinals have the ball.

4. Anything can happen in Week 1

In my opinion, the most unpredictable week in the NFL season is the first week. Many teams are debuting new coaching staffs and systems as well as countless players making their first appearance on new teams. Back in 2020, the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the eventual playoff-bound Indianapolis Colts and then proceeded to go winless the remainder of the season. Take a Chiefs example, in 2014, they got blown out by the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 and then Tennessee managed to win only one of their final fifteen games to finish the season.

5. The Arizona Cardinals are a good team

This last point is a lot more straightforward than the other ones but the Arizona Cardinals are a good team, and similar to the Chiefs, they are capable of winning almost every game. The Chiefs are the better team but anything can happen when facing a good group like the Cardinals. If the Chiefs come out and have a sloppy game, they should expect to lose.

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