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Analyzing Biggest Threats in the AFC: Kansas City Chiefs

Still the team to beat in the AFC, the Chiefs are the top-dog in the conference, but their kingdom is not as safe as it once was.

Syndication: Indianapolis Matt Kryger/IndyStar, Indianapolis Star via Imagn Content Services, LLC

After a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Bengals in the AFC Championship, where they blew a 21-3 lead, the Chiefs made a ton of moves this offseason, whether for better or worst remains to be seen, but it certainly will be interesting to watch.

Strengths

First of all, the Chiefs have a really good quarterback, like really good. Even though Pat Mahomes had a down season (by his own standards), he is still undoubtedly among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Chiefs’ offense is a smooth operating machine, with some solid running backs, explosive weapons, like All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, and a serviceable offensive line. This is an offense that can put up over 35 points every single game and no-one would be surprised. While they did lose talented speedster Tyreek Hill, they managed to get receiver Skyy Moore in the draft and JuJu Smith-Schuster with Marquez Valdez-Scantling in free agency. As long as Mahomes is playing quarterback, and Andy Reid is calling the plays, it is safe to say that the Chiefs are going to score a decent amount of points every single game.

Having a player with a contract as big as that of Mahomes certainly limits what the team built around him looks like, but the Chiefs did a wonderful job this offseason after trading away Tyreek, getting a more than decent return from him, while also replacing him with more cost-effective options. Kansas City also has some solid players on the defensive side of the ball, such as Chris Jones and Frank Clark. Their special teams unit is not too shabby either, with Harrison Butker being among the best kickers in the NFL.

Weaknesses

Losing Tyrann Mathieu and Charvarius Ward seriously hurt what was already a troubled secondary. Mathieu was among the leaders of the defense and Ward logged over 700 snaps last year and was actually their second best player on the secondary other than the Honey Badger. The lack of talent on the secondary will certainly hurt them as their division has Justin Herbert, Derek Carr, and now Russell Wilson. Overall their defense just does not have nearly enough talent to hold up against the vaunted offenses in the AFC, and while the addition of George Karlaftis and Justin Reid helps, I am just not sure it will be enough for the defense to hang in there with the offense. On paper, it looks like most Kansas City games will be proper shootouts, and they certainly have the firepower to hang in there with any other team in the NFL, but you know what they say: offense wins you games, defense wins you championships.

How they matchup with the Colts

This Colts’ defense looks much better suited to go against pass-heavy teams like the Kansas City Chiefs. The additions of Stephon Gilmore and Yannick Ngakoue heavily improve Indy’s pass defense, so even though stopping a healthy Pat Mahomes is near impossible, the Colts’ hopes of containing him are much higher. On offense, I just don’t see a way the Chiefs are going to be able to stop the Colts’ running attack, so if the team manages to avoid falling early and being forced into a passing game script then the groundwork set for beating Mahomes (Dominate TOP, leave the ball out of Mahomes’ hands as much as possible) seems like something the Colts could very well do.