In 2019, the Kansas City Chiefs made history by winning the Super Bowl. In 2020, the Kansas City Chiefs made history by becoming only the 18th team in NFL history to go to consecutive Super Bowls. In 2021, making the Super Bowl would make them only the fourth team in NFL history to make it to three consecutive Super Bowls, but they could also make history by being the first team to go 17-0 in the regular season.
2021 is the first 18-week regular season in NFL history and will have teams playing seventeen games. There are new records to be had, like 0-17 and 17-0 and they might have a team set to get both of those records off the bat.
The Houston Texans barely have a team at this point, so at full effort, they still are probably going 0-17. Thankfully they actually have a first-round draft pick in 2022, so they may actually be able to benefit themselves after a miserable season and not become the Miami Dolphins.
However, the Kansas City Chiefs have quite a few more reasons to be optimistic in 2021 and could be looking at a 17 win season right off the bat.
The fact that the Kansas City Chiefs’ starters went 14-1 last season is extremely overlooked and deserves more attention. They lost one game in the regular season: a high-scoring shootout against a divisional rival in the Las Vegas Raiders. Sure, the team lost a second game that season, a week 17 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, but all of the skill position starters were on the sidelines, resting up for the playoffs. There was no need for week 17 heroics like what had happened at the end of the 2019 season. At that point, all the Chiefs’ were thinking about was getting to the Super Bowl, not going 15-1.
This 14-1 starters’ record comes despite the fact that the Chiefs had a very difficult schedule. Games against the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans (before the team fell apart), New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were just a few implausible victories that the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs put together during their dominant 2020 campaign. The Chiefs were only projected to win 11.5 games, so 14 wins is already impressive, but against the level of competition they saw in 2020, it is even more impressive.
This was also despite some injuries and opt-outs across the entire team. Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff opted to stay and help fight Covid-19 in Canada, while Damien Williams opted out to protect and take care of the elderly members of his family. This left Clyde Edwards-Helaire to take over the running back position from day one as a rookie and left a hole in the offensive line. Add in season-ending injuries to Mitchell Schwartz and Kelechi Osmele before week 6 and the offensive line became an issue long before the Super Bowl.
However, in 2021, everything that was working against the Kansas City Chiefs shifts into their favor.
The Chiefs general manager Brett Veach spent this offseason making sure the offensive line and depth on the line would never be an issue ever again. Signing Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, and Austin Blythe to come in and make the positions immediately better, trading for Orlando Brown to fill the second most important position in football at left tackle, drafting Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith who could be instant starters, Brett Veach may have just put an extra ten years on Patrick Mahomes’ career. One injury does not derail this line, as the next guy up is still a decent player at every single position and helps keep Mahomes jersey from getting grass stains on it.
That is just the offensive line too. Veach grabbed new pieces for positions across the entire team. Jarran Reed is the new third-down defensive tackle, Kamalei Correa and Nick Bolton are the new linebackers in charge of popping your running back in the mouth if he makes it past the line of scrimmage, Mike Hughes is here to prove he was not a draft bust and he can earn respect as a slot corner, Noah Gray takes Anthony Sherman’s swiss army knife position, Joshua Kaindoh is the heir apparent to Frank Clark’s defensive end position, and Cornell Powell wants to be everything Sammy Watkins was and then some.
The Chiefs roster is almost infinitely better right now then it was at the beginning of the 2020 season.
Then there is the Chiefs’ 2021 schedule, which is much better than their 2020 schedule. Sure, they play seven teams that made the playoffs last year, but upon further inspection, most of those teams can not beat the Chiefs. The Packers will likely be without Rodgers, Washington Football Team is starting Ryan Fitzpatrick who can not properly start, Pittsburgh got worse this offseason on the offensive line which was already their biggest problem (besides QB). Besides that, Lamar Jackson has never beaten the Chiefs, the Browns could not beat a Chiefs team that was without Patrick Mahomes for half the game, the Buffalo Bills were embarrassed by the Chiefs twice last season, and the Titans lost their entire offense this offseason in Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis (If the team has no options for passing the ball, defenses are going to load up the box and attack Derrick Henry every play, keeping him from being able to be who he usually is).
Do you know who the scariest team on the Chiefs’ schedule is this year? The Dallas Cowboys and that team still does not have help in the secondary, which, in case anybody forgot who Patrick Mahomes is, is where the Chiefs excel. Besides that, the only glaring problem is the Broncos in week 18, because I do not know if Chad Henne and the backups for every position can beat Aaron Rodgers, who will be fighting wildly for a wild card spot.
The Chiefs 2021 season is set up so that they can make a third trip to the Super Bowl in three seasons, and likely go play another home team in So-Fi Stadium in Super Bowl 56. No one can stop them besides themselves, and knowing the competitive personalities on that roster, that is not going to happen.