Best and worst case for 2022

Welcome to FanSided’s 2022 NFL preview! It’s time to look into our crystal football and take a glimpse at the Kansas City Chiefs season prediction.

In some ways, the Kansas City Chiefs are one of the most unpredictable teams heading into the 2022 season. From Tyreek to Tyrann, the Chiefs waved goodbye to loads of experience this spring while ushering in a youth movement on the defensive side, creating questions and excitement in equal measure.

At the same time, the Chiefs are also one of the NFL’s few sure things, an annual Super Bowl contender with a strong organizational culture rooted in rare coaching continuity under Andy Reid and God’s gift to the QB position in Patrick Mahomes. When some pillars are in place, you can afford to renovate a few rooms.

Kansas City Chiefs 2021 season in review

  • 12-5 record
  • 1st place in AFC West
  • Lost in AFC Conference Championship to Cincinnati Bengals

It took the 2021 edition of the Chiefs several weeks to get moving, especially on the defensive, side, which cost them home-field advantage after early losses to fellow contenders like the Ravens, Chargers, Bills, and Titans. The defense was atrocious yet slow to change and fans were ready to riot as the Chiefs were below .500 in late October.

Fortunately, the Chiefs took advantage of a soft schedule at mid-season (including a Packers team without Aaron Rodgers) and put together their first real win streak of the year. A subsequent trade for Melvin Ingram provided an anemic pass rush with some teeth and younger players developed enough to really turn Steve Spagnuolo’s unit around by year’s end.

The postseason began memorably enough with a thumping of the Steelers in the Wild Card round before a historic duel between Mahomes and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills captivated the league in the Divisional Round and made “13 seconds” another catchphrase in the Kingdom. Unfortunately for K.C., an unexplainable second-half meltdown in the AFC Championship (the fourth consecutive game hosted at Arrowhead) against the Bengals cost the Chiefs a trip to the Super Bowl.

Kansas City Chiefs NFL Draft class 2022

  • Rd 1: Trent McDuffie, CB/Washington
  • Rd 1: George Karlaftis, DE/Purdue
  • Rd 2: Skyy Moore, WR/Western Michigan
  • Rd 2: Bryan Cook, S/Cincinnati
  • Rd 3: Leo Chenal, LB/Wisconsin
  • Rd 4: Joshua Williams, CB/Fayetteville State
  • Rd 5: Darian Kinnard, OT/Kentucky
  • Rd 7: Jaylen Watson, DB/Washington State
  • Rd 7: Isaiah Pacheco, RB/Rutgers
  • Rd 7: Nazeeh Johnson, DB/Marshall

Thanks to the surprise blockbuster trade that sent Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, the Chiefs’ focus on getting younger on defense turned into an accelerated plan. Every single draft class from Brett Veach to date has consisted of six total players, but this year, he kept 10 of 12 scheduled picks and went defense with the majority of them.

Five defensive backs were added in the draft class to help remake a secondary that lost numerous contributors to free agency. In addition, George Karlaftis was the team’s first major investment at edge rusher since trading for Frank Clark. In addition, Skyy Moore gives the Chiefs an exciting new weapon with pro-ready separation skills and incredible hands.

Previewing Kansas City Chiefs offense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason addition
    • JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR
    • Marquez Valdez-Scantling, WR
  • Biggest X-Factor: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB
  • Squeakiest Wheel: Lucas Niang, OL

Mahomes’ presence should make everyone look good within this offense, and that reality is going to make someone a lot of money among this wide receiver lot—most of whom are scheduled to hit free agency a year from now.

While Travis Kelce remains the All-Pro go-to target for Mahomes in the middle of the field, the wide receiver corps has been remade with the hyphenated newcomers and the drafting of Skyy Moore. Together with holdover Mecole Hardman, who was once drafted as Tyreek Hill insurance, the Chiefs have plenty of productive mouths to feed, each with the ability to create a mismatch in his own way. Smith-Schuster in particular is a good bet to return to form and break the 1K-yard barrier.

For the first offseason in his career, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is healthy and could turn into a greater weapon on offense with Hill in Miami. If the Chiefs find ways to include Edwards-Helaire as a dynamic pass catcher out of the backfield, this unit could look more dominant than ever.

As for the offensive line, what was a complete rebuild only a year ago is now easily among the league’s best. The only variable is right tackle where the preseason competition will sort through options like Andrew Wylie, Darian Kinnard, Geron Christian, and an oft-injured Lucas Niang.

Previewing Kansas City Chiefs defense for 2022 season

  • Key offseason additions:
    • Justin Reid, S
    • Trent McDuffie, CB
    • George Karlaftis, DE
  • Biggest X-Factor: Frank Clark, DE
  • Squeakiest Wheel: Juan Thornhill, CB

The Chiefs lost key veterans from each level of the defense, including Melvin Ingram up front, Anthony Hitchens in the middle, and Tyrann Mathieu and Charvarius Ward in the backfield. But after a year of watching slower defenders like Ben Niemann and Dan Sorensen play significant snaps in a slower veteran unit, the Chiefs ushered in an abundance of young talent to compete in 2022.

Justin Reid was the marquee signing at the start of free agency and he slides in for the Honey Badger. Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. officially take over the second level with the linebacker unit’s highest ceiling in several years. Trent McDuffie is the greatest investment at cornerback since Marcus Peters heard his name called on draft day, while Karlaftis should provide a reliable floor on one side of the defensive front.

There are a lot of questions here upon entering the season: Frank Clark came into training camp as a changed man but will it make a difference? Can Chris Jones put this pass rush unit on his back for a full season? Can Juan Thornhill make good on his All-Pro claims? Can L’Jarius bounce back after an unsteady sophomore season?

Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff overview

  • Head Coach: Andy Reid
  • Off. Coordinator: Eric Bieniemy
  • Def. Coordinator: Steve Spagnuolo
  • 2023 Head Coach Candidate: Eric Bieniemy

For a team with such sustained success, it’s amazing how much coaching continuity they have for another year. Somehow the bypassing of Eric BIeniemy for head coaching gigs has become an annual tradition in the NFL. Steve Spagnuolo has head coach experience but looks set to run K.C’s defense for the foreseeable future. The team also welcomed back former Bears head coach Matt Nagy to give them even more experience under future Hall of Fame coach Andy Reid.

Kansas City Chiefs Awards Watch

Talk briefly about the team’s top players and where they fit into the awards watch this season.

Patrick Mahomes, MVP

Patrick Mahomes has one regular-season MVP trophy to his name and he’s come close in a couple of other seasons. This year’s chances will come down to how quickly he can establish chemistry with a new cadre of pass catchers, but a deeper room than he’s ever had might allow him to flourish in unexpected ways.

Trent McDuffie, Defensive Rookie of the Year

The Chiefs have a couple of potential candidates here with their two first-round picks in McDuffie and defensive end George Karlaftis. However, we’d back McDuffie here as an impact corner who could turn heads for DROY given the Chiefs’ tough schedule and number of games in the spotlight. The Chiefs’ secondary lost some big names, but McDuffie’s instincts are second-to-none and he could make a name for himself very quickly.

Skyy Moore, Offensive Rookie of the Year

There were 12 wide receivers drafted before the Chiefs took Skyy Moore in the second round at No. 54 overall, but few players have the clear path to production that he does. Moore will be catching passes from Mahomes in the league’s most dynamic offense for a unit trying to make up for Tyreek Hill’s absence. Moore is not going to be a crutch, so he’s gotta earn whatever targets he gets, but if he proves he’s ready, he can expect a steady diet of receptions in primetime.

Biggest game on Kansas City Chiefs schedule

Is there a more anticipated regular-season matchup in the entire league than Week 6 when the Buffalo Bills visit the Chiefs in Week 6. After last season’s thrilling postseason matchup, the stakes for a rematch were already high but the Bills reloaded this offseason with Von Miller and company and are hoping to finally put the Chiefs in the rearview mirror in the AFC.

Kansas City Chiefs season prediction: Best case scenario

If the Chiefs can avoid major injuries and the young players can develop as hoped, there’s every reason to project the Chiefs for yet another Super Bowl appearance this early in Patrick Mahomes’ career. In fact, any season in which the Chiefs are not in the Super Bowl with Mahomes at quarterback should be considered a down year.

Kansas City Chiefs season prediction: Worst-case scenario

The worst-case scenario is a season-ending or serious injury to Mahomes or another major player. Even if they stay healthy, however, it’s possible for new faces to fall short of expectations—young and old—and for departing veterans to be missed considerably. Even then, a worst-case scenario is likely one-and-done in the postseason.

Kansas City Chiefs season prediction for 2022

  • 11-6 record
  • 1st place in AFC West
  • Playoff Prediction: At least reach the AFC Championship Game

There’s every reason to believe these Chiefs will be just as competitive as ever with a solid mix of productive veterans and exciting developmental players. The Chiefs look especially strong in the trenches on offense and that will carry them far on that side of the ball. However, there are too many questions to project the Chiefs ahead of other competitive teams with lesser concerns (Bills, Rams, Bucs, Chargers).

That doesn’t mean the Chiefs can’t make their championship dreams happen, but it means they will have answered positively more questions than most along the way.

Read more from FanSided’s 2022 NFL Preview here. For more Kansas City Chiefs coverage, check out Arrowhead Addict

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