Why KC Chiefs will win AFC West despite rivals’ offseason additions
Going into the 2023 season, there is much to be excited about, including the newest editions to the Chiefs Kingdonw acquired in the 2023 NFL Draft. Sadly, it is rare that teams can stay together when teams win at the rate and quality the Kansas City Chiefs do. At the end of the season, the Chiefs said goodbye to some key team members, including; wide-receiver Mecole “Jet” Hardman—offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr and defensive end Frank Clark.
With these critical members leaving, the Chiefs signed potential replacements immediately, including wide receiver Richie James, defensive end Charles Omenihu, and offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor.
All three additions are arguably better than the players they replaced, which should excite Chiefs Kingdom. The Chiefs are in a good position due to their recent draft classes that have been able to contribute immediately. It has not just been the first-round players either. The Chiefs have been fortunate to get production out of their seventh-round picks, highlighted by running-back Isaiah Pacheco who was asked to carry the load after starting running back Clyde Edwards Helaire was injured and remained sidelined for much of the season, to include the postseason.
The Kansas City Chiefs were not the only team making big moves in the offseason. Two groups in particular made moves to take note of going into 2023.
Jimmy Garoppolo signs with the Las Vegas Raiders.
With the exit of longtime starter Derek Carr, it was time for a new star to rise in the city that never sleeps. Jimmy Garoppolo was introduced as the signal caller for the Silver and Black. The move looks like it will be a good one with the history that Garoppolo has with head coach Josh McDaniels from their time together in New England, where McDaniels was the offensive coordinator. Jimmy G was the backup to the future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
However, this signing should not alarm Chiefs fans because Garoppolo is not an upgrade to Carr, in my opinion. Still, he does know how to operate efficiently in a system made for him, as shown when Garoppolo played in San Francisco under Kyle Shannahan.
Sean Payton looks to “fix” Russell Wilson.
The “Let Russ Cook” or “Broncos Country… Let’s Ride” era in Denver did not begin the way Broncos fans and Russell Wilson hoped for, but all that may change with the hiring of former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. It remains to be seen if Payton still has what it takes to coach at the highest level without his future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. I believe Payton can turn the ship around, but it will not be with Wilson at the helm. With that in mind, 2023 will not be the year the Chiefs should fear the Broncos, but 2024 may be the year the Broncos return to relevance.
The most important reasons nothing will change in the AFC West
The three teams in the AFC West will get better and provide a more competitive set of games in 2023, but there is one duo that only knows dominance in this division: quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce.
Mahomes and Kelce are the two pieces of the Chiefs offense that Chiefs Kingdom can always count on when the team needs a divisional lift. As long as they are on the field, there is hope.
One of my favorite memories from the 2022 season was Week 12. I visited L.A. with my wife and attended the Sunday Night Football Game featuring the Chiefs vs. the Chargers. As many know, the game went back and forth, and the Chargers scored a touchdown with a little more than a minute left. The Chargers fans around me were joyful, but I felt terrible for them and said, “You scored too fast; now you get to watch Patrick Mahomes rip your heart out.” No less than 45 seconds later, this happened.
As previously mentioned, the teams in the AFC West will improve, but while many things will change in 2023, one thing will not: the Chiefs will win their eighth straight AFC West Divisional Championship.
What do you think? Am I crazy and just a big Chiefs fan, or are the Chiefs this much better than the rest of the AFC West? Let me know in the comments below.