It was a memorable 2018 season for the Kansas City Chiefs, highlighted by Patrick Mahomes' MVP campaign and an appearance in the AFC Championship Game. But ultimately, Andy Reid's team came up short, losing in overtime at home to eventual Super Bowl champion New England, so the Chiefs enter the 2019 season with unfinished business.
Led by Mahomes, Kansas City's offense should remain among the most potent in the league, especially following the NFL's announcement that All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill will not be disciplined after an investigation into a domestic violence case involving his young son. With Mahomes, Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, the Chiefs possess arguably the greatest offensive trio in the league.
There are more questions on the other side of the ball as the defense finished second to last in both total yards and passing yards allowed per game. Some of that was a byproduct of an offense that put up more than 35 points per game but it still wasn't good enough for coordinator Bob Sutton to keep his job. He was replaced by Steve Spagnuolo, who inherits a new-look defense following the departures of Eric Berry, Justin Houston and Dee Ford and the arrivals of Frank Clark, Tyrann Mathieu, and others.
Kansas City may have its sight set on getting to the Super Bowl, but the Chiefs can't overlook the Chargers, Raiders or Broncos in their own division, the AFC West. Kansas City also gets another crack at New England, must face fellow AFC playoff teams from last season in Indianapolis, Houston and Baltimore, as well as the NFC North in crossover play.
So can Kansas City run its streak of double-digit wins and playoff appearances under Reid to five straight seasons? Athlon Sports asked several experts to share their realistic win/loss projection for the Chiefs in 2019.
Kansas City Chiefs Game-by-Game Predictions for 2019
Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer)
I'm not quite convinced that the Chiefs will be as good as they were for most of last season but that schedule sure sets up nicely for another run at the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The defense is bound to improve from the depths of where it was down the stretch in 2018 and even if Patrick Mahomes is a tick behind where he was during the MVP campaign, he'll still be one of the best QBs in the league by a nice margin. They get nearly all of their toughest opponents — save that rematch against the Pats — in Arrowhead so it will once again be a season defined by how Andy Reid and company do in January instead of this fall.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
As long as Patrick Mahomes stays healthy and Kansas City's offense picks up where it left off last year, the Chiefs are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2019. Andy Reid may not have a clear No. 1 back like Kareem Hunt, but this offense has plenty of options at running back, and the skill talent on the outside will be tough to contain. Question marks remain on defense, but the offseason additions through free agency and trades seem to have this group on the right track. Also, the schedule is favorable. Kansas City does have to play at New England and Chicago, but Indianapolis, Baltimore, Houston, Green Bay and Minnesota all have to visit Arrowhead. And by Week 17, the showdown versus the Chargers may not mean much to Kansas City as it rests its starters in anticipation for the playoff.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMark)
Even if Patrick Mahomes regresses slightly (which you have to think is entirely possible given the eye-popping numbers he put up in 2018), this is still one of the most deadly offenses in the league. That alone is enough to keep the Chiefs in the running in the AFC, and that's assuming the defense doesn't improve slightly. Considering there's plenty of room for that and Kansas City has a new coordinator and added some intriguing pieces, it's really hard to see the Chiefs not match last year's 12-4 record. In fact, a beneficial schedule that features just a handful of tough road games will only help Kansas City enter the playoff as the top seed for the second straight postseason.