Following February’s thrilling Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers, it seems as if the Kansas City Chiefs are ripe for a repeat. They are seen as the Vegas favorites to come away with the hardware once again next season.
However, there’s a lot that goes into repeating. There’s a reason it’s not done too often. For the Chiefs, there’s also a few big time hurdles to overcome. Here’s why the Chiefs won’t repeat as champs.
The AFC West: This division has improved leaps and bounds from a season ago. It’s going to be tough sledding, potentially leading to worst record than 2019.
- Despite moving on from future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers, the Chargers have gotten a whole lot better this offseason. They will likely rely on former Pro Bowl quarterback Tyrod Taylor to be the stop-gap starter next season. Though, rookie No. 6 pick Justin Herbert could challenge for the starting job.
- John Elway has had himself a tremendous offseason. The embattled Broncos general manager capped that off by acquiring the steal of the 2020 NFL Draft in that of wide receiver Jerry Jeudy. The addition of star running back Melvin Gordon to go with fellow Pro Bowler Courtland Sutton and a high-upside young quarterback in that of Drew Lock makes Denver dangerous.
- Outside of getting competition for Derek Carr under center, Jon Gruden and the Raiders have also improved leaps and bounds from a season ago. Las Vegas aced the 2020 NFL Draft by going after multiple skill-position players. It added depth and talent on defense via free agency. The Raiders’ first season in the Nevada desert will be much better than their final season in Northern California.
Some shortcomings: Despite boasting one of most-talented and deepest rosters in the NFL, there’s certainly some issues the Chiefs must resolve to repeat.
- The recent arrest of top cornerback Bashaud Breeland underscores depth concerns at that position. His arrest coupled with the departure of Kendall Fuller in free agency could loom large moving forward.
- We have absolutely no idea if Pro Bowl defensive lineman Chris Jones is going to report to training camp after the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on their top defender. Heck, there’s a chance he might be traded. That would create a major hole in the defensive front seven.
- On offense, the Chiefs were able to get Sammy Watkins to take a pay cut in order to return for another season. However, the former Buffalo Bills top-five pick has not lived up to expectations in Kansas City. He’s averaging less than 600 receiving yards in two seasons with the team.
- The offensive line could also be a concern with unproven interior linemen Nick Allegretti and Austin Reiter slated to start next season. Reiter has been a full-time starter for just one season while Allegretti was a backup as a rookie last season.
The AFC is tough: Top-end teams in this conference have improved a great deal over the past couple months.
- Fresh off boasting the best record in the NFL last season, the Baltimore Ravens have added to their talent stockpile in a big way. We’re talking about a team that added star veteran defensive linemen Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell to the mix. Let’s not even focus on stud rookie running back J.K. Dobbins, who will team up with reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson in a potent backfield.
- The acquisition of Philip Rivers from the Chargers changes the dynamic big time in Indianapolis. Rivers gives the Colts a legit quarterback after seeing Jacoby Brissett struggle under center last season. Picking up stud rookies, running back Jonathan Taylor and wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., helps here, too. As does the trade for All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. General manager Chris Ballard and Co. are going all in for 2020.
- Fresh off a surprise trip to the AFC Championship Game, the Tennessee Titans return star quarterback Ryan Tannehill and reigning NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry. Tennessee also has a stud young receiver in that of A.J. Brown who is ready to take his game to the next level. Boasting one of the most-talented defenses in the NFL, expect these Titans to be a problem for Kansas City in 2020.
- Are we ready to proclaim the Pittsburgh Steelers conference championship contenders simply because Ben Roethlisberger is back from injury? I wouldn’t go that far. However, any team coached by Mike Tomlin has to be seen as dangerous. Getting Big Ben back is going to help Pittsburgh become relevant once again this coming season.
- What’s not to like about the Buffalo Bills? They are coming off a surprising trip to the playoffs. They added star receiver Stefon Diggs to be the No. 1 target for young quarterback Josh Allen. Defensively, Buffalo might have the most-talented defense in the NFL outside of San Francisco. As the division favorites in the AFC East, these Bills will be heard from when all is said and done.
San Francisco 49ers: Remember, Kyle Shanahan and Co. held a double-digit lead against the Chiefs in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.
- San Francisco has improved a lot this offseason, too. Even after trading DeForest Buckner, the team’s defense is among the best in the game. Rookie first-round pick Javon Kinlaw should be a seamless replacement for Buckner.
- The 49ers also upgraded a long the offensive line by trading for future Hall of Fame left tackle Trent Williams during the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s an upgrade over the recently retired Joe Staley.
- The expectation here is that youngsters will also take their games to the next level. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel is coming off a brilliant rookie season. He’s joined by rookie first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk and record-breaking tight end George Kittle at the skill positions. There’s a reason San Francisco is right up there with Kansas City as the favorite to hoist the Lombardi next February. This team is absolutely loaded.
Kansas City boasts the best quarterback in the NFL in that of Patrick Mahomes. It has a plethora of talent at the skill positions and is well coached.
However, there’s a reason very few end up repeating as champions. That’s no more true than in the current NFL with multiple teams eyeing Kansas City.
It’s going to be tough sledding for head coach Andy Reid and Co. When all is said and done, don’t expect these Chiefs to be hoisting that trophy for a second consecutive year come February.