While the summer season brings much enjoyment to the average person, for an NFL fan, it represents a desolate wasteland where Sundays just aren't quite as vibrant as in the autumn months. However, with each passing day, we inch closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, which officially kicks off on September 8 this year.
Whether you've had your favorite team's tweet notifications turned on all summer or if you've decided to tune out all football news entirely, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about your team going into the 2022-23 season right here.
In today's article, I'll be discussing the Kansas City Chiefs.
I'm working on season guidebooks for all 32 NFL teams, which will all be released within the next few weeks. To check out another team's guidebook, click here:
2021 Season Recap
Kansas City got off to a slow start in 2021 following their disappointing Super Bowl performance in 2020, sitting at just a 3-4 record after Week 7. They then turned things around and won 9 of their last 10 games to secure the AFC West crown, looking poised to repeat as AFC Champions.
The Chiefs started the postseason excellently, drilling the Steelers 42-21 before prevailing in the 42-36 thrilling overtime shootout against the Bills. It appeared as though they were going to walk to the Super Bowl when they jumped out to a 21-3 lead on the Bengals in the AFC Championship until Cincinnati mounted an unbelievable comeback to put Kansas City's season to a shocking and disappointing end.
Significant Roster Moves
The Chiefs lost a host of talent in the offseason, particular at receiver and in the secondary. The biggest decision they made was to not pay Tyreek Hill the enormous sum he was after, allowing him to leave for Miami. Receivers Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson followed Hill out the door, and although not nearly as impactful on the field, they both served as solid pass catchers in Andy Reid's offense.
Cornerbacks Mike Hughes and Charvarious Ward along with safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorenson also departed in the offseason for better deals elsewhere, leaving many spots to fill on both sides of the ball.
Kansas City signed the extensively named WRs Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to attempt to replace the talent lost at the position from a season ago. They also brought in RB Ronald Jones from Tampa Bay to replace Darrel Williams' departure.
On defense, newly added safeties Deon Bush and Justin Reid will attempt to fill the void left by Mathieu and Sorenson. Jermaine Carter will be the new anchor of the defense at middle linebacker and Carlos Dunlap adds pass rush depth at defensive end.
2022 Draft Class
The Chiefs had ten selections in this year's draft and used most of their picks to add more depth on defense, particularly in the secondary, by taking three corners and two safeties. First-round picks Trent McDuffie and George Karlaftis have already claimed the top spot on the depth chart for their respective positions, while the other guys will try to work their way into the lineup.
WR Skyy Moore was the only flashy pick on the offensive side of the ball, and the organization seems to feel good about his potential following his showing in training camp.
The Chiefs will take on the AFC South and the NFC West to go along with their six divisional games. Their other three opponents are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals. With an opponent prior season win percentage of .533, Kansas City has the 6th hardest schedule in the NFL.
Kansas City's primetime games include a Thursday night game versus the Los Angeles Chargers, three Sunday night games at Tampa Bay, versus Tennessee, and at Denver, and one Monday night game versus Las Vegas. They also play on Saturday, Christmas Eve in Week 16 versus Seattle.
Kansas City returns 16 of their 22 offensive and defensive starters from a season ago, which is about average for all teams across the league. Aside from receiver and cornerback, the starting lineup is more or less the same. As long as Patrick Mahomes is at the helm of the offense, you have to like their chances regardless of to whom he is throwing.
Andy Reid enters his 10th season as head coach of the Chiefs. The coordinators have all served in their respective roles in Kansas City for several years as well.
It is surely a delight for Chiefs fans to see Eric Bieniemy return as offensive coordinator, who is always a big name for head coaching vacancies each offseason.
Oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for Kansas City at 10.5 games. As of right now, the Chiefs are the most likely team to win the AFC West and the second most likely team to win the AFC as a whole. At +1000 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, they are third among all teams in the league.
Bucket Squad Predictions
This was a pretty tough decision for me to make given the departure of Tyreek Hill and the strength of the AFC West from top to bottom. However, I just can't get myself to not pick the Chiefs to win their division, regardless of how much I try.
We will surely see how big of an impact Hill's tremendous speed was for Kansas City's offense, but I'm betting on Patrick Mahomes to figure things out and get the job done with the new squad of guys at receiver. He will still have his favorite target, Travis Kelce, after all. There's also potential for improvement on defense regardless of the turnover within the roster from a season ago.
I am projecting the Chiefs to go 12-5 again this year to win the division and finish and conference runner-ups to the Bills. We'll see how they perform in the postseason in their attempt to avenge their blown conference championship as they try to get back to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years.
What do you think? Will Kansas City be better or worse than I'm projecting? What offseason moves made by the Chiefs surprised you the most? Leave a comment down below and be sure to check the "NFL" section of the website for more NFL team guidebooks as I finish them.
Written by Nick Swatson