Super Bowl LIV Chiefs vs. 49ers:

They finally did it!   I’ve been a fan of the Chiefs since I started caring about football (early 90’s) and this has been a long time coming.  After a couple of home playoff wins where the old demons seemed to be back only to be vanquished by Mahomes and crew the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl.

If you put fan loyalties aside I think this is one of the best matchups football fans could of asked for.  Both teams have been excellent most of the year and both teams have exciting big play potential.  The Chiefs big plays tend to come on offense where the 49ers defense is usually the ones making big plays.  This game should be a battle and I expect a close high scoring affair.  Look for a key turnover or two to determine the out come.

There are many good story lines for this game.  From Dee Ford, to the new young QBs and even to Andy Reid with another opportunity to cement his claim as one of the all time greats.  I’m not going to get into all of them here.  What follows will be what I see as the keys to the game for each team and a game prediction.

49ers Key to the Game: Run the damn ball. I think we will see the 49ers try to keep up what has been working and that is run the ball.  If they can keep their offense on the field and run through KC like they did the Packers then that’s exactly what they will do.  While the 49ers are better equipped to do some damage through the air than the Titans were the Chiefs defensive strength has been in defending the pass.

On the defensive side the 49ers have to pressure Mahomes (with 4) while containing him inside the pocket.  Don’t give him an escape route and don’t give him too much time to have receivers get open.  There is tons of speed on the 49ers defense and this will be the biggest challenge Mahomes has faced all year.

Chiefs Keys to the Game:  The offensive line needs to hold up against a nasty front 7.  Give Mahomes the time he needs to survey the field and give the receivers the time to find the soft spot in the zone coverage.  49ers play mostly zone and they are very good at it.  Mahomes is also very good passing against zone coverage, strength vs. strength.  I also think screens will be a big part of this game to slow down the 49ers aggressiveness.    

On defense the Chiefs must first prove yet again they can slow down or stop the run.   They need to play as a team to fill the holes in the run game and seal the outside edge. Their goal should be to get to 3rd and 5+ and make Jimmy G beat you. This season the Chiefs have been very good at defending the pass when the can pin their ears back and rush the passer.

It’s a very similar breakdown of the Titans game and that is because I view the Niners as a much better version of the Titans.

Both these teams have tons and tons of talent and this Niners team will be the toughest challenge the Chiefs have faced.  While only 1 point I was personally surprised the Chiefs were the favored team.

In the end I see Mahomes continuing what has been a historically good playoffs.  I see the Chiefs defense stepping up again against the run and forcing more passes than the 49ers would ideally like and I see Jimmy G throwing a key pick.   I can’t wait for this game, this season has been amazing and the Chiefs are one win from their ultimate goal.

Chiefs win: 34-31

AFC Championship Game Take Two

Here we are again.  The Chiefs are one win away from the super bowl, they are at home and coming off a big win in the divisional round.

The big names have been knocked out.  Brady gone.  Lamar gone.  What is left are the Tennessee Titans and Derrick Henry who very well could be the scariest football player in these playoffs.   Teams know the running game is coming and have been completely incapable of stopping it.  Both the Ravens and Patriots had top run defenses this season and both got completely run over.   The Chiefs do not have a top run defense and by many metrics is toward the bottom of the league.  Derrick Henry will get his in this game.

On the other side you have the high flying Chiefs who just scored 51 points in less than 3 full quarters erasing a 24-0 1st quarter hole.  In Kansas City they prefer to keep the ball in the MVP’s hand throwing to their playmakers.  There isn’t much interest in running the ball until the end of the game.  These two teams at least offensively are complete opposites.  Like Henry Mahomes and crew will get theirs.

Titans keys to the game:  Do not fall behind early in this one.   If the Titans find themselves down 14-0 in the early going it will take them out of their game plan and force Tannehill to sling it around the field.  Tannehill has been great this season but he isn’t asked to do too much.  He hasn’t even thrown over 100 yards in either playoff win.   The Titans run game opens up the passing game but if they find themselves in an early hole and their passing game becomes more predictable I think you will see a Tannehill closer to what made him a backup at the start of the year.  Titans need to keep on riding Henry with some play action mixed in for some big plays. As long as this game is close the Titans can keep feeding Henry all day long allowing him to wear out the Chiefs defense.

Chiefs keys to the game:  Tackling and finishing off those tackles will be HUGE.  If someone gets their hands on Henry they need to get him on the turf, he has done tons of damage after first contact. They don’t have to stop Henry but they must slow him down and force Tannehill to pick up more first downs rather than letting them just run for them all day long.  This game is all about the Chiefs defense, Mahomes and crew will score but how many chances they have will be determined by how many stops the Defense will be able to come up with.

Both these teams are hot right now.  Chiefs have won 7 in a row, the Titans have been taking down division winners left and right.   Chiefs want to come out fast and get the early lead.  The Titans want to slow the game down and limit the Chiefs offensive possessions.  Neither team can afford early mental errors or turnovers.

In the end I think Mahomes is too much for the Titans pass defense and the Chiefs defense does enough to slow down the running game of the Titans.

Prediction:  31-24 Chiefs win.

Offseason Review: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs offseason has been one of change. Hopefully this change is for the better and I think it will be. Gone are some of the old Vet’s, gone is Dorsey, gone is the ever-debated Alex Smith and this new era will start with Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and Brett Veach.

This coming year is a transition year and a risk for a regression.  I would not outright predict a regression or call this a rebuild but there are enough unknowns that the Chiefs could be in for a dip in the win column.

I’m not going to go into a deep analysis of each pick for two reasons. First is I don’t follow college football. The second is even the experts are guessing.  What I will do is provide a high-level review of the offseason, what I think the Chiefs are doing, why they are doing it and how it will affect the 2018 season.

Veach saw the playoff games the last two years.  There were two main problems.  First was the inability to stop the run.  The second was the offense sputtering out once a key player like Kelce was out of the game. Pass rush or lack thereof was also an issue.  So, what does Veach do?

Draft – All defensive players: (except for Reggie’s little boy – converting to an OG)

Round 2: Breeland Speaks: Pass rusher, will play inside and out upfront, rotational starter

Round 3: Derrick Nnadi:  Run stuffing NT, rotational starter

Round 3: Dorian O’Daniel: 3rd Safety/Coverage LB on passing downs, cover TE’s ect.

Round 4: Armani Watts: Rotational player with a shot to start

Round 6: Tremon Smith: Athletic small school CB, who could start day one or get cut or anything in between (unknown)

Round 6: Kahlil McKenzie: DL that will make a move to OL, developmental project

Offseason Moves:

Free Agents: Sammy Watkins, Anthony Hitchens, Xavier Williams, Chad Henne, Matt McGloin, David Amerson, Damien Williams and Kerwynn Williams:

Watkins provides another offensive weapon with a knack for getting open. Hitchens and Williams should both be an upgrade over old man DJ and Bennie Logan who had a terrible year.  Amerson will likely be fighting for playing time and looking to recapture his early success.  The RBs are probably competing for the 3rd down receiving back role.

Cut/signed elsewhere:  Revis, DJ, Hali, Parker, A Wilson, R Wilson, Gaines, Acker, Fulton, Mitchell, Logan

Re-signed: Colquitt, Sherman, DAT, Jenkins, Smith, Devey

Traded: Peters & Alex Smith + 6th rounder for Kendall Fuller, 3rd round pick, 4th round pick and a 2019 second round pick.

Back from IR: Berry, Ford, Morse, Ware

Clearly Veach wanted to address the run defense and pass rush and he did that early in the draft. He also addressed this in Free Agency and with the mid-season trade for Reggie Ragland.  Watkins addressed the need for another offensive weapon.

Another theme coming from the team is to have a more attack style defense.  The Chiefs front seven plan to be in attack mode much more than they have been the past two years. I expect a lot of different personnel at various positions attacking the line of scrimmage, lots of versatility.  The addition of Speaks, Williams and Nnadi along with the returning cast makes this possible.  Additionally, the DB’s will play a ton of press coverage (something Peters didn’t do).

While everything above matters, none of it matters more than Patrick Mahomes.  Kelce, Hunt, Hill, Watkins, Conley, DAT– that’s a ton of speed at the skill positions.  Mahomes has shown ridiculous arm strength and the ability to throw anywhere on the field from crazy body positions with accuracy.  Mahomes is in a great position to succeed, now he needs to prove it.

Veach/Reid/Sutton wanted to get younger, wanted another offensive target, wanted a more attack style D, wanted to improve the run defense, wanted to improve the pass rush and wanted high-character players that are all about football.  I think they have done that, but time will tell.

Why all this change when you’re the winner of the past two AFCW championships, with 5 winning seasons in a row and a 16-2 in division record over the past 3 years?  Super Bowl.  That is the goal. Right now, with what the Chiefs believe is a franchise QB on a cheap contract is the best time to achieve that goal.

Mentally prepare yourself now. Because next year you’re all going to get Mahome’d.