We wrapped up our team previews for the AFC East yesterday so now we’ll start at the top of the AFC West with a look at the Kansas City Chiefs. Andy Reid and his highly explosive offense had a chance to repeat as World Champs in 2020 but Tom Brady and the Bucs dismantled them in last year’s Super Bowl.
Even with that embarrassing loss, the Chiefs are still one of the favorites to lift the Lombardi Trophy this season. All of the Chiefs’ main offensive pieces (Mahomes, Hill, Kelce) return in 2021 so they shouldn’t have any problem winning the AFC West division.
Patrick Mahomes had another splendid season in 2020. The former Texas Tech Red Raider threw 38 touchdowns and only 6 picks. The 25-year old also led the league in passing yards per game with 316. As long as Mahomes stays healthy, the Chiefs’ offense will continue to dominate their opponents in 2021.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a productive rookie season in 2020, and the Chiefs expect him to progress even further this year. The former LSU Tiger rushed for 803 yards and 4 touchdowns. Edwards-Helaire also contributed to the passing game by catching 36 passes for 297 yards and a score.
Kansas City’s receiving corps has an embarrassment of riches. Tyreek Hill is still the fastest man in the NFL and he caught a career-high 15 touchdowns in 2020. Mecole Hardman improved a ton and Travis Kelce is still considered the best overall tight end in the league. The scary thing is that this Chiefs offense could be even better in 2021 because they upgraded their offensive line this offseason.
The Chiefs defense had an above-average season in 2020 by only allowing 22.6 points per game. Kansas City should again be tough against the run with studs like Taco Charlton, Chris Jones, and newcomer Jarran Reed spending plenty of time in the opponent’s backfield (Ourlads.com). The linebacking corps is solid with Anthony Hitchens and Willie Gay, Jr. holding the fort down at those positions. Rookie Nick Bolton, a second-round draft choice from Missouri, should see some playing time as well.
Superstar strong safety Tyrann Mathieu had six interceptions last year to anchor the team’s secondary. The Chiefs hope that corners Charvarius Ward L’Jarius Sneed can build on some of the success they achieved last season.
2021 Special Teams
Tommy Townsend returns at punter this season after averaging 45 yards per punt during his rookie campaign in 2020. Harrison Butker returns at kicker and is coming off another fine season in 2020 by making 25 out of 27 field goal attempts.
The Chiefs’ return game is explosive with Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill returning kicks and punts. Hardman had 176 punt return yards in 2020 as well as one touchdown. The former Georgia Bulldog also had 184 kick return yards last season. Byron Pringle (102 yards, 1 touchdown LY) will also help out in the kick return game this season.