The Kansas City Chiefs laid an egg in the touchdown department in Super Bowl LV. What we all thought was going to be a close one became one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history.
Where Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady reminded the NFL Universe, it’s his world that we’re all just living in, and not that of Patrick Mahomes.
Instead, Mahomes and company went home thinking how they lost 31-9 to the Bucs.
But Mahomes and his Chiefs have bigger problems.
Today’s post will outline unforeseen obstacles the Chiefs will face. Because in Super Bowl LV, 30 other teams were taking notes on how to finally stop Mahomes. And the game also showed that if you can stop Mahomes, you can stop the Chiefs.
Let’s discover why the Chiefs may not be the best futures bet to place in 2021 at online sportsbooks.
Patrick Mahomes is Human
So let’s start with the man himself.
They blitzed. The Bucs added relentless pressure every time Mahomes dropped back. To the point to where Mahomes forgot how to play quarterback.
Instead of stepping up in the pocket or rolling out, Mahomes often panicked and ran backwards. Something every NFL quarterback should know not to do. Yet, it became a recurring occurrence. Take the snap, drop back, run backwards for 10 yards, throw the ball into coverage.
By the end of the third quarter, it was finished. And confirmed.
The Bucs laid a blueprint on how to get to Patrick Mahomes. In the game of chess, players figure out how to get to their opponent’s king. And the opponent must find an answer when they’re in check.
Fortunately for Mahomes, this isn’t checkmate. But you can also make a safe bet that he’s in check. Will Mahomes respond to the relentless pressure that he will face in 2021?
For one, the Chiefs aren’t winning 14 games now that the blueprint is out. Unless Mahomes figures out how to get around the blitz, you can also expect his overall production to drop. For 3 seasons, we all thought Mahomes was the new face of the league with his superhero-like playing style.
Now we know that until further notice, it belongs to Brady. So don’t expect Mahomes to put up the numbers he’s been putting up in 2021. At least not early on. As the season continues, he may figure out how to beat the blitz.
He probably will figure it out. It’s a matter of when, not if. But it’s safer to believe it won’t be until at least 2022. After he faces multiple blitz packages from multiple teams.
Speaking of superhero-style quarterbacks, Mahomes the Chiefs will now have to deal with the surging Los Angeles Chargers and their record-setting quarterback, Justin Herbert.
About every so-called expert and writer, including myself, said the same about Herbert.
“He’ll struggle in 2020.”
The only thing Herbert struggled with came in the win-loss column. But you can blame mismanagement on defense for that. No fault of his own.
The only issue?
Can the 38-year-old Brandon Staley get it done at head coach?
Hey, when you have a team loaded with stars, starting with a young franchise quarterback like Herbert, you’re in good hands.
Can you liken this situation to Sean McVay with the “other” LA team, the Rams?
And that speaks danger for the Chiefs. For a team that has ruled the AFC West for the last decade, they finally have a challenger. Sure, the Las Vegas Raiders – man, so much has changed in the NFL over the past few seasons – beat them earlier in 2020.
Don’t expect the Raiders to seriously contend with Mahomes and company. The Chiefs are still going to be a good team. And they’re probably still a decent over-under bet.
But because of the surging Chargers, the road to the playoffs and a third-straight Super Bowl appearance won’t be easy.
But the upcoming Chargers aren’t the only team standing in their way; a few intra-conference opponents will also threaten the Chiefs.
The Chiefs must play the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Ravens.
All 3 teams made the playoffs in 2020. And yes, all 3 should remain viable opponents.
The Chiefs have had their way with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
But that was before the Bucs’ blueprint. They also beat the Browns in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Even without the blueprint, the Browns held their own. That leaves the Steelers, a team who collapsed over the last month of the season. Including falling to the Cincinnati Bengals, a team who started a third-string quarterback. But the Steelers are a running back away from remaining one of the AFC’s most dangerous football teams.
Give the team a running back, put Ben back into the game manager he was during his first 2 seasons in the league, and let the defense continue to play their part as the third rendition of the Steel Curtain. If the Steelers find a viable back, they’re Super Bowl contenders again.
The Browns will work on filling holes to their defense. And the Ravens have a defense aggressive enough to stop Mahomes. Even if Jackson doesn’t fare well against top talents like the Chiefs, when the defense stops Mahomes, he’ll have his chance.
In other words, expect 3 tough more tough fights the Chiefs must face. And these don’t even include facing the Tennessee Titans or the Buffalo Bills. You know the Titans can run over anyone with Derrick Henry. And the Bills will be out for revenge after falling to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
Besides a legit threat from the Chargers and a blueprint to stop Mahomes, the Chiefs will also face one of the league’s toughest intra-conference schedules.
Over in the NFC, they face the NFC East. And sure, the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants look at least another year away from contending. But if Dak Prescott remains in Dallas and picks up where he left off, don’t count out the Cowboys.
Also, the Washington Football Team is just a quarterback away from making their own noise. Oh, and with that defensive line, they have the manpower to stop Mahomes in his tracks.
Nothing will come easy for the Chiefs in 2021 from a scheduling standpoint.
Age, Age, and More Age
The Chiefs are also aging. Starting with Andy Reid. Reid will enter his 23rd season as head coach, and his 9th with the Chiefs when the 2021 season opens. He will turn 63 in March, becoming one of the league’s oldest coaches.
It starts on the offensive line, with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif turning 30. Duvernay-Tardiff also opted out of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so his status in 2021 will remain uncertain.
Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher are also in their 30s. Both have remained stalwarts on the team for years, but is their time running out? Travis Kelce is on the wrong side of 30. Damien Williams is older in running back years at 29.
And we haven’t even gotten to the defense, where more than a few major contributors are entering their late 20s.
But while age isn’t as much of a factor in terms of performance these days, many players in their late-20s or early 30s, if they’re still playing at a high level, want larger, more secure deals. Obviously, the Chiefs won’t be able to keep everyone.
If this is the case, the Chiefs from a talent standpoint may need a step back. They’ll still contend. You can expect it. But don’t expect the team to make the Super Bowl with a 16-2 record. If they even make the Super Bowl at all.
The competition is already fiercer, both in the division and the conference. And the Chiefs may go into the fight with lesser talent than previous seasons. Bad combination.
The Kansas City Chiefs should still be favored to win the AFC West and to encroach on their over-under. But they’re nowhere near the safe bets that they were in the past. And while you may feel compelled to bet on the Chiefs, don’t disappoint yourself if in February 2022, they didn’t win you anything.
And Mahomes has the brains to figure out how to beat the blitz. The team has played top-tier competition well. And they can always restructure a few contracts to remain competitive. But their work is far more cut out for them than in recent years. What are your thoughts on the Chiefs? Do you think they’re still the best futures bet in the AFC?