The Kansas City Chiefs are looking to become the first team in NFL history to host four straight conference championship games. The Andy Reid-led Philadelphia Eagles hosted the NFC Championship in the 2002, 2003, and 2004 seasons. Of course, the Chiefs have hosted the AFC Championship three straight times dating back to 2018.
Just getting back to the AFC Championship game would be an incredible feat, whether the Chiefs host in Kansas City or not. However, the team’s goals go beyond making it back to championship weekend. They want to get back to a third straight Super Bowl and win it for the second time in three years.
The Chiefs’ offense, behind the mastermind of coach Reid and driven by superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, should be one of the top offenses in the NFL again. The defense, though, continues to be questioned by many in Chiefs Kingdom — as well as nationally.
The defense will be playing with a chip on its shoulder all season. These players know when people think of the Chiefs, they think of Mahomes and the offensive firepower. However, the unit on the opposite side of the ball could be ready to make a stamp on their legacy of this era of Chiefs football as well.
The pass-rush-by-committee of Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Mike Danna, Joshua Kaindoh, Jarran Reed, and Tershawn Wharton could be among one of the most underrated groups in the NFL. Frank Clark will need to play up to his potential in order for this group to reach an elite level, but Jones is one of the best pass rushers in the league and will only be helped by those surrounding him.
The linebackers look much improved this season. Throughout the preseason, Willie Gay Jr. was starting to look like the prospect the team was hoping to see last year. Unfortunately, a toe injury landed him on the IR to start the season. If things fall in his favor, he could be back as early as Week 4.
Anthony Hitchens is looking faster than ever, as evident with his sack in Week 3 of the preseason. Rookie Nick Bolton has looked pretty solid throughout the preseason and has the skills to step in and cover for Gay until his return. Ben Niemann is a veteran presence in the room.
The secondary continues to look like a strength despite never using high draft capital on the position. The additions of former first-round picks Mike Hughes and Deandre Baker give the Chiefs even more depth heading into this season. Second-year standout L’Jarius Sneed continues to look like a rising star in the league. Charvarius Ward is playing in a contract year, so he will be looking to make that next big paycheck.
Armani Watts and Rashad Fenton continued to impress throughout the preseason. Daniel "Dirty Dan" Sorensen will be a veteran presence who is known for leading by example. Juan Thornhill is looking to bounce back in year three and had an impressive final preseason game against the Vikings. Tyrann Mathieu is the leader of the bunch and will continue to get the best out of this group from the start of the season through the end. He's a superstar.
The Chiefs' defense may not grab the headlines like the offense, but this group of competitors will be out to wreak havoc on opponents all season long. If it can play up to its potential, this could very well be a top-10 defense and the key to another Super Bowl title in Kansas City.