Chiefs Look for Seventh Straight AFC West Division Title
The biggest news coming out of Kansas City since the Chiefs bid for a third straight Super Bowl appearance ended with an overtime loss to Cincinnati in the AFC Championship Game was the trade of All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill to Miami. How does this change the Kansas City Chiefs betting odds?
Even without the services of perhaps the fastest NFL player, the AFC West odds still show the Kansas City Chiefs as the team to beat. It will be a much tougher road with the Los Angeles Chargers adding Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson to its defense, star receiver Davante Adams joining the Las Vegas Raiders and the Denver Broncos acquiring perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson. The AFC West has not exactly been the toughest of divisions, however, that could change as soon as this season.
The Chiefs are going after their seventh straight division title and also have eight postseason wins in the last four seasons. Few teams have drafted as well as Kansas City in recent years and those personnel decisions have set the Chiefs up for sustained success.
There Will be Post-Cheetah Life in Kansas City
Defensive coordinators never had a good night’s sleep when facing the Chiefs in the last couple of years. Trying to cover tight end Travis Kelce was challenging enough; however, you throw in the attention that had to be paid to Hill and there were matchup issues all over the field. His departure and how the team handles things will play a key role in the Kansas City Chiefs betting odds for the 2022 season.
Things will look different in 2022 without Hill. JuJu Smith-Schuster was brought in from Pittsburgh and Marquez Valdes-Scantling comes to Kansas City from Green Bay. The Chiefs used a second-round pick on Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore. None of them will be asked to replace Hill. Former Clemson star receiver Justyn Ross, signed after not being drafted, could be worth keeping an eye on if he is healthy.
The hope is that Patrick Mahomes will be able to spread the ball around a little more. Mahomes (+800) is currently tied for the second-best odds to win the NFL MVP Award so those who bet on NFL aren’t expecting too much of a drop off for Mahomes even without Hill to throw to.
Running back Ronald Jones II, who was underutilized in Tampa Bay, is another new addition. He will team with Clyde Edwards-Helaire to give the Chiefs a pretty solid 1-2 punch.
The offensive line was aided by the play of rookies Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith a season ago. Offensive tackle Orlando Brown does need to be re-signed.
Any offense that is built around Mahomes and Kelce has to be feared. It will be interesting to see how teams defend the Chiefs now that they don’t have to worry about Hill breaking away for long touchdowns whenever he touches the ball.
Defense is Still a Work in Progress
Only five teams allowed more yards per game than the Chiefs did during the 2021 season. The Chiefs relied on a bend but don’t break philosophy as Kansas City ranked eighth in scoring defense.
While some NFL draft analysts expected Kansas City to use one of its two first-round picks to address the receiver position, Kansas City went a different way. They traded up eight spots to select cornerback Trent McDuffie and then used its own first-round pick to select defensive end George Karlaftis. The influx of talent should pay dividends and help when it comes to the Kansas City Chiefs betting odds.
Linebacker Nick Bolton is being counted on to make a jump in Year 2 after an inconsistent rookie season. Willie Gay is another promising young linebacker while Leo Chenal figures to be used to breathe some life into the pass rush.
While the departure of Hill dominated the headlines, the loss of safety Tyrann Mathieu should not be overlooked. Justin Reid was signed to fill that role, but as is the case with Hill, the defense will look different when Reid plays in place of Mathieu.
Don’t Sleep on the Kansas City Chiefs
Cincinnati is the defending AFC champion and Buffalo has the best odds to win the Super Bowl; however, it would be a mistake to write off a Kansas City team that knows how to get it done in the postseason.
The Chiefs have won at least 12 regular-season games in each of the last four seasons and have at least one postseason victory in each of those campaigns. This is still a team young and talented nucleus.
Kansas City hits the road to face Arizona and Tampa Bay in the first four weeks of the season so there will be some early challenges to deal with. There’s no reason to think the Chiefs’ days as a leading AFC contender will be ending any time soon. Kansas City has an expected regular-season win total of 10.5 and that certainly seems like a number where the over would be the smart play.Follow us on Twitter