2018 Kansas City Chiefs Preview - Mahomes Is The Man Now
by DS WilliamsonOn the first step towards a third straight, AFC West title, Andy Reid decided to do what was best for the team and traded incumbent starter Alex Smith to the nation's capitol. That choice opened the door for second-year QB Patrick Mahomes. Just how good is Mahomes, a former first rounder? Also, do the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs have the defense that can lead to another AFC West Division title? This is the often overlooked team when it comes to preseason hyperbole. The Chiefs are also notoriously overlooked when it comes to wagering on the NFL. Still, the big question remains...
Is QB Patrick Mahomes ready for Prime Time? In 2017, the Chiefs gave up two Round 1 draft picks to grab Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has all the skills to be the next Donovan McNabb. Heck, he might have more skills than Donovan, which would make him the most highly skilled QB that Andy Reid has ever coached.
Reid is a master quarterback coach. He brought in Alex Smith and the Chiefs managed to go to the post-season for 4 straight years. Mahomes has huge shoes to fill because Smith is the consummate pro, but you have to imagine that there's a reason for Reid's decision making process.
Luckily for Mahomes, Reid isn’t throwing him to the wolves. Second-year running back Kareem Hunt was electrifying his rookie season. He shouldn’t break down this season because Spencer Ware is back too. That muddies the backfield, but when you have two players like that supporting a rookie quarterback, it's a good thing.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill can blow by any coverage in the NFL. Mahomes can throw a 60-yard pass with accuracy, meaning that Reid will call Hill’s number at least 3 times a game on Sundays. Oh, and, Mahomes can also lean on the best - or second best - tight-end in football, Travis Kelce. Kelce rarely drops any pass thrown his way. From backfield to downfield, Mahomes simply has a lot of options along with the quarterback guru himself on the sidelines.
There's no way to answer the question if Mahomes is ready until we see the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs on the field. Natural curiosities surround the talented prospect, but the offense isn't the main concern.
Kansas City’s defense could be a major problem KC’s defense was horrible last season, which is why it’s difficult to understand why Andy Reid has pretty much decided to leave the defense alone. Trading KC’s best defensive player, Marcus Peters, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Not firing defensive coordinator Bob D. Sutton makes no sense at all. Sutton made very few changes to KC’s defensive game plan week to week last season. That’s why teams gorged on Kansas City’s defense to the tune of 366.0 yards per game. That's the fifth worst mark from the 2017 season.
On paper, the linebacking corps looks strong for the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs. Dee Ford was hurt all of last season, though. Reggie Ragland has yet to fulfill the potential he showed coming out of Alabama as a rookie while Anthony Hitchens may, or may not, play as well at KC as he did at Dallas.
That’s scary because KC’s best secondary player, Eric Berry, missed all of last season due to injury. If the front 7, especially the linebackers, can’t pressure QBs, KC might give up close to 250 yards passing per game this season just like they did last season.
A step backward is a real possibility The Kansas City Chiefs have pretty much owned the AFC West Division the past few seasons. That’s all going to change this season. The offense should be spectacular, but the defense is a mess.
As far as the schedule is concerned, the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs should be an awful 1-5 SU if winless to start the season. KC is at LAC, at Pittsburgh, at Denver, and at New England in 4 of their first 6 games. Their 2 home games are versus the improved San Francisco 49ers and, perhaps the best team in the AFC, the Jacksonville Jaguars. That means, Kansas City has virtually no shot of coming out of the gate hot.
KC could be cooked before Week 7.