It’s getting to be that time of year again! Yes, I used an exclamation point instead of a regular full-stop because I am excited and you should be too!
Spring is maturing into Summer. This puts preseason football just a couple of short months away. And before you know it, it will be September and the regular season will be kicking off at Arrowhead.
Draft Day Fallout
We all know this, but I’ll say it anyway. The Chiefs are loaded with talent on the offensive side of the ball. So much so, that even with an aging defense that seemed to get run over by the run … we still went on a five-game winning streak and finished the season on top of the AFC West at 10-6.
Stacked with a recently signed Sammy Watson, the explosive Kareem Hunt, Mr. Dependable, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek, we knew that the 2018 draft was going to be oriented around shoring up the Defense.
But there has been some criticism in the world of sports media pundits. And I have to say that I think they did a commendable job. How awesome can you expect the draft to be when you don’t have a 1st-round pick?
Hello, people remember how we moved up in the 2017 Draft, trading the No.27 pick, 3rd-round pick, and the 2018 1st-round pick to get Patrick Mahomes?
I’m still shaking my head at the naysaying … Brett Veach may have taken care of a large chunk of the run-stop and pass-rushing problems that have beleaguered the Chiefs. Breeland Speaks is 283 pounds of EDGE defense that will be able to putt that added pressure on QBs. He is probably only a one-gap guy when it comes to stopping the run —for the time being. But with his talent and athletic ability, he’ll learn quickly.
They doubled up on the defensive line, taking Derrick Nnadi in the 3rd round. Will he have an immediate impact? That remains to be seen, but young talent depth on the line was sorely needed. The 3rd round also saw the Kansas City shoring up the LB position with Dorian O’Daniel. Though it’s likely he’ll be a rover and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him thrust into the role of Safety
In rounds four and six, Veach picked up safety, Armani Watts, Tremon Smith at Corner and Reginald McKenzie Jr, another D-lineman to really round out their attempt at adding defensive toughness to the team. After the draft, the Chiefs really pounded the undrafted free agents market, getting a whole slew of players to add to the competition and motivation at camp.
Probabilities and Odds
The AFC West is going to be a difficult calculus problem over the next couple of seasons. One of the things that I do each year is review Bovada to see what their oddsmakers think.
I must say that this season’s odds to win the AFC West are a surprise to me. The Chargers leading the charge in the AFC is a joke in my book. I know they came in second in the division last year, but Rivers is aging and they have a pair of Geno Smith —who hasn’t been successful anywhere— and an untested Cardale Jones as backups.
The Raiders could completely implode with Gruden coming back. He was a great coach back in the day, but the world has moved on and his rigidity could very well work against him … not to mention all of the rust.
The Broncos will play competitively in the AFC West but I have a feeling they are going to get murdered everywhere else. So, I actually like the fact that the Chiefs are being given the lowest implied probability (22.2%) to win the AFC West. In fact, I think they will enter the playoffs standing on top of the AFC West once again.
1. Los Angeles Chargers +200 (33.3%)
2. Oakland Raiders +250 (28.6%)
3. Denver Broncos +275 (26.7%)
4. Kansas City Chiefs +350 (22.2%)
So, then I study the odds on how many games each team is predicted to win. And the Chiefs are the only team that is heavily favored to surpass their number … this creates a bit of contradiction to those Vegas betting odds boards. Sure, the Raiders are lined out to win one more game than Kansas City, but they are underdogs on that line.
The Broncos are barely favored to win 8 games and the Chargers are at even money to win 10.
• Chiefs OVER/UNDER 7.5 Wins over is -150
• Raiders OVER/UNDER 8.5 Wins over is +110
• Broncos OVER/UNDER 7.5 Wins over is -105
• Chargers OVER/UNDER 9.5 Wins over is +100
All in all, I think the pundits and sportsbooks are banking too heavily on Mahomes having a rocky season as the team leader.
Mahomes is ready to lead the Chiefs. Sure there will be some mistakes, but there was good reason for the organization to move up last year to take him. On his first NFL play, he proved that he has the toughness and mental fortitude to hang in there and deliver a catchable ball to Robinson with an unblocked edge pass rusher bearing down only feet away.
He kept his eyes on his target and took the hit like a man. His first completion came on a 3rd and 10, where he spied the safeties pulling back and wide, and was able to recognize this for a strike downfield against a mismatched safety.
This kid is ready. The Chiefs will win more that 8 games and contend for the AFC West once again.
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