There’s no denying that the Kansas City Chiefs were one of the top teams in the NFL for the 2018 season. However, they couldn’t get over the hump and advance to the Super Bowl. They made it as far as overtime of the AFC Championship game without sealing the deal.
While that loss undoubtedly stung throughout the offseason in Kansas City, it shouldn’t completely take away from what the club accomplished last year. A 12-win season and home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs is no small feat.
During the regular season, the club would rip off a five- and a four-game winning streak. The Chiefs would only lose back-to-back games once on the year. The offense finished tops in the league for average points scored per game.
The defense checked in at 24th for fewest points allowed per contest, but that’s at least partially because the team’s offense was so efficient. Kansas City broke the 30-point barrier in 12 games last year. For the four losses, 28 points was the low-water mark. In two of the defeats, the Chiefs put up 40+ points.
For the upcoming season, the Chiefs are once again expected to be among the top squads in the AFC. The NFL betting sites have pegged them as the favorite to win the AFC West, ahead of the Los Angeles Chargers. To win the Super Bowl, they are tied for the third choice with the New Orleans Saints, behind the Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.
Said another way, the Chiefs are generally expected to at least be a final four team once again. Is that a fair assessment of the team as we get set for 2019? Or is this a squad which may take a step back after coming oh-so-close last year?
Let’s take a closer look at Kansas City and find the answer, starting with a more detailed look back at the 2018 campaign.
Kansas City Chiefs 2018 Season Recap
Record: 12-4 | Standings: 1-AFC West | Playoffs: Lost AFC Championship Game
The Chiefs faced a tough test in Week 1 with a trip to Los Angeles to face the Chargers. Mahomes threw for four scores as Kansas City picked up a 38-28 win. It was back to the road the following week for another challenging game with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A shootout erupted, and Mahomes would toss six TDs this time around as the Chiefs exited Pittsburgh with a 42-37 victory. The team would go on to extend its winning streak to five games. Two of its last three victories over that stretch came by double digits.
In Week 6, the Chiefs traveled to New England for a highly-anticipated matchup with the Patriots. This one lived up to the hype. It was a back-and-forth affair which went down to the wire. Stephen Gostkowski booted home the deciding field goal as the Patriots prevailed by a score of 43-40.
After falling to 5-1 on the year, Kansas City would get right back up and win another four games in a row, with three of those wins coming by 10 points or more. The streak was snapped with a memorable Monday night shootout versus the Los Angeles Rams, who won by a score of 54-51.
That would bring the team to the Week 12 bye with a mark of 9-2. They were able to push it to 11-2 with wins over the Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens after the week off. The Chiefs would go on to lose back-to-back games for the first time all season afterwards, losing at home to the Chargers and on the road at the Seattle Seahawks.
For the Week 17 home finale versus the Oakland Raiders, the hosts came to play. The visitors did not. The end result was a 35-3 laugher for the Chiefs. The club nabbed home field advantage for the playoffs and was able to take Wild Card Weekend off as a result.
In the Divisional Round, the Chiefs welcomed the Indianapolis Colts to town. The team delivered one of its most impressive defensive showings of the year, walking away with a 31-13 win. That set up a home title tilt with the Patriots.
New England held a 14-0 lead at the half, but the offenses on both sides woke up after halftime. It was all tied up at 31-31 after the 4th quarter. In OT, Tom Brady and company would drive 75 yards down the field for a drive capped off by a two-yard Rex Burkhead TD, bringing an end to the season for Kansas City.
Kansas City Chiefs Offseason Moves
Andy Reid returns for his 7th season as head coach, while Eric Bieniemy will be back as offensive coordinator. After the disappointing title game loss, the club parted ways with DC Bob Sutton. Steve Spagnuolo has been brought on board as his replacement.
The club would part ways with players including Dee Ford, Justin Houston, and Eric Berry. New arrivals via free agency include Tyrann Mathieu and Carlos Hyde, among others. All in all, the club was quite active in making tweaks where they saw fit.
The team wouldn’t be on the clock until round two of the NFL Draft. They selected Georgia wideout Mecole Hardman with their first selection in the round and followed that up with Virginia S Juan Thornhill a few picks later. Later round selections included Western Illinois DT Khalen Saunders.
Mahomes returns behind center, but question marks abound elsewhere. After parting ways with Kareem Hunt last season due to off the field issues, the club could be facing the same decision with Tyreek Hill, depending on how things shake out.
For now, Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and Hardman are penciled in atop the wideout depth chart. Travis Kelce will continue to lead the way at TE. In the backfield, Damien Williams and Hyde lead what may turn out to be a committee approach.
The club has made a number of changes on defense, most notably with the hiring of Spagnuolo. We’ll see if that sparks improvement for the unit in 2019.
Kansas City Chiefs 2019 Schedule
|1||Sun. Sept.8||at Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 PM||CBS|
|2||Sun. Sept.15||at Oakland Raiders||4:05 PM||CBS|
|3||Sun. Sept.22||vs. Baltimore Ravens||1:00 PM||CBS|
|4||Sun. Sept.29||at Detroit Lions||1:00 PM||FOX|
|5||Sun. Oct.6||vs. Indianapolis Colts||8:20 PM||NBC|
|6||Sun. Oct.13||vs. Houston Texans||1:00 PM||CBS|
|7||Thu. Oct.17||at Denver Broncos||8:20 PM||FOX|
|8||Sun. Oct.27||vs. Green Bay Packers||8:20 PM||NBC|
|9||Sun. Nov.3||vs. Minnesota Vikings||1:00 PM||FOX|
|10||Sun. Nov.10||at Tennessee Titans||1:00 PM||CBS|
|11||Mon. Nov.18||vs. Los Angeles Chargers*||8:15 PM||ESPN|
|13||Sun. Dec.1||vs. Oakland Raiders||1:00 PM||CBS|
|14||Sun. Dec.8||at New England Patriots||4:25 PM||CBS|
|15||Sun. Dec.15||vs. Denver Broncos||1:00 PM||CBS|
|16||Sun. Dec.22||at Chicago Bears||8:20 PM||NBC|
|17||Sun. Dec.29||vs. Los Angeles Chargers||1:00 PM||CBS|
*Game to be played in Mexico City
Kansas City opens up the year with three of its first four games on the road, but the month as a whole doesn’t look too daunting. The month of October is a different story, as the team faces off with several squads who have legitimate playoff ambitions for the coming year.
The Chiefs have a bye in Week 12 once again. The final three games before the week off are tough, capped off by a neutral-site game against the Chargers. Kansas City closes out the year with three of its final five games at home, but the road trips are challenging as they head to New England and Chicago.
Kansas City Chiefs 2019 Outlook
In the division, current projections point to the AFC West being a two-horse race between the Chiefs and Chargers. That said, there will be challenges to be found in all six games. Kansas City is certainly capable of winning four games versus divisional foes.
For the rest of the AFC schedule, the Chiefs will hit the road to play the Jaguars, Titans, and Patriots. They’ll be home for the Ravens, Colts, and Texans. That’s a tough six-game stretch, but a mark of 4-2 is a fair expectation for Kansas City.
Interconference play translates into tough games with the NFC North. The Chiefs will be on the road to face the Lions and Bears, while they’ll be home for the Packers and Vikings. Anything less than two wins will have to be considered a disappointment, while 3-1 would be considered a success.
Kansas City Chiefs 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
Here is where the bar has been set for the Chiefs in 2019.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
The Chiefs have a challenging schedule up ahead, as well as questions to answer before the season kicks off. Mahomes is certainly the real deal at QB, but we won’t be too surprised if defenses catch up to him in 2019.
On defense, the club clearly needs to show some improvement to get to the next level. Assuming all goes well on that front, this should be an 11-win team without issue. We like the Over for the Chiefs in 2019.