The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the experimenting Kansas City Chiefs .
2017 in a nutshell: Veteran quarterback Alex Smith comes alive, rookie running back Kareem Hunt shines and a loaded offense helps Kansas City start 5-0. Then they hit a run and lose six of seven. Then they get hot again and finish 5-0 before losing a home wild-card game to the inferior Tennessee Titans.
What’s different: Smith is gone and 2017 No. 10 overall pick Patrick Mahomes has taken over as the starting quarterback.
Why they could be awesome: Mahomes has a wicket skill set and one of the best supporting casts in football.
Why they could suck: Smith was the league’s highest-rated passer and Mahomes has just one career start under his belt. The defense is also pretty mediocre, and trading pick-happy cornerback Marcus Peters was an odd decision.
Major additions: Cornerback Kendall Fuller and wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
Major losses: Smith (traded for Fuller), Peters, wide receiver Albert Wilson, guard Zach Fulton, defensive tackle Bennie Logan, linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali.
Breakout watch: They sacrificed two first-round picks for Mahomes, who lit it up last preseason and has the size, speed, and strength to become something special. They’re putting all of their eggs in his basket, and this season won’t be a success unless he breaks out as a sophomore.
Position to watch: With Peters gone, Fuller will be the top option in coverage. The 2016 third-round pick excelled with four interceptions while dominating in the slot last season with the Washington Redskins, but he’ll have to play outside more in KC. Beyond that, they’re dangerously shallow at cornerback. Steven Nelson (currently hurt), David Amerson, and Orlando Scandrick face a lot of pressure.
Prediction: I think Mahomes will suffer from some growing pains in his first full season and I don’t trust that defense at all. They’ll get hot here and there and they’re at least a .500 team, but making the playoffs will be a challenge.
9-7, 2nd place in the AFC West