Kansas City Chiefs 2023 Season Preview & Win Total Prediction

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Retired football player Terry Bradshaw stands next to Kansas City Chiefs' tight end Travis Kelce (C) and Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes hold the trophy as they celebrate their team's winning Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles on February 12, 2023. Timothy A. Clary / AFP

NFL Pick: 2023 Kansas City Chiefs Over 11.5 Wins (-145) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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2023 Kansas City Chiefs Over 11.5 Wins (-145)
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After winning another Super Bowl, expectations are so high for the Kansas City Chiefs that winning 12 games for the 6th season in a row is far down the list of important achievements. As last year proved, when you have Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and Travis Kelce, anything is possible. 

The Chiefs are favored to repeat as Super Bowl champions (+650 at BetOnline), which has not been done in the NFL since the 2003-04 Patriots. It would also be the team’s 4th Super Bowl in the last 5 seasons, a run only surpassed in NFL history by the 1990-93 Bills, who lost 4 Super Bowls in a row.  

Patrick Mahomes is a co-favorite to win his 3rd MVP award after winning it in 2022. The Chiefs are looking to win the AFC West for the 8th year in a row, which would be the 2nd-longest streak in NFL history. The Chiefs’ over/under of 11.5 wins is tied for the highest total in the league at top-rated offshore sportsbooks this year. 

Unlike the other recent teams to win a Super Bowl, the Chiefs are built for more. Their run is far from over, but we could see the other teams in the AFC close the gap more this year. The AFC West in particular has loaded up again after last year’s miserable failure to challenge Kansas City, but what if we were just a year too early in predicting it would be close? 

Close enough to knock the Chiefs under 11.5 wins? Let’s look at the Super Bowl favorites in 2023.  

The Changes That Matter 

As the rest of the league likes to poach talent from the latest champion, Super Bowl teams tend to lose more key pieces than they gain, and the Chiefs are no exception in 2023.  

Bieniemy Is Not the Enemy 

A change that is going to draw attention before the season is Matt Nagy replacing Eric Bieniemy at offensive coordinator. Bieniemy has wanted a head coach job but continues getting passed over, so he joined Washington to run that offense and prove he can do the job without the presence of Reid and Mahomes. 

Fair enough, but this is unlikely to make an impact on the offense this year. First, Nagy has plenty of experience with Reid and the Chiefs. He was the offensive coordinator and calling plays late in the season when rookie Mahomes started his first game. Nagy was also the quarterbacks coach last season when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl and Mahomes had such an impressive year.  

Reid is still the brains of the operation here, and the talent with Mahomes and Kelce is off the charts. The Chiefs are not going to miss Bieniemy, who did not call plays anyway, as most coordinators do. This should quickly become a non-story before September is over. 

Offensive Tackle Reclamation Project

Maybe the changes on the field will be more noticeable. Left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is off to Cincinnati to protect Joe Burrow, making him the Benedict Arnold of this rivalry between the teams. But jokes aside, if Brown was as good as he thinks he is, the Ravens and Chiefs would have found a way to keep him in town longer than a couple of seasons. 

The Chiefs are downgrading with Donovan Smith from Tampa Bay, but he is at least a veteran with 124 career starts, including multiple seasons where the Buccaneers were a high-volume passing attack. He should bounce back after joining an elite offense again. 

The Chiefs also should have a new right tackle in Jawaan Taylor, who had a forgettable 4-year run in Jacksonville. Again, he is a player with 66 starts, so the Chiefs should be able to teach a vet some new things to get more out of him. This still beats trying to replace multiple linemen on the fly like the team faced in Super Bowl 55. 

We Need to Talk About Kelce and the Fear This Season

An easy way to annoy Kansas City fans online is to tell them the Chiefs are a Travis Kelce injury away from having the worst receiving corps in the NFL. It is not nice to think about, but it is also hard to argue with. Kelce does not even have to get injured, because at 34 years old this season, he is in that range where the decline can happen any year.  

Pete Retzlaff is the only tight end, age 34 or older, to have a 1,000-yard receiving season in NFL history. Even he was more of a vertical receiver converting to what was the new tight end position at the time. Kelce is incredible, but Father Time will catch up with every player eventually.

The Chiefs made a laughingstock out of anyone who said they would miss Tyreek Hill last year, but this season it may actually come true if Kelce is no longer All-Pro level. At least last year, there was more potential and hope for Marquez Valdes-Scantling and rookie Skyy Moore. But after watching them play with Mahomes, the deep connection was just not there for much of the year with MVS, and it is no guarantee they do better in 2023. Moore’s playing time felt like a disaster waiting to happen, but maybe he’ll do a better job. 

JuJu Smith-Schuster at least put up 933 yards and the appearance of a No. 1 wide receiver. He is gone. Mecole Hardman is also gone as someone who knew the offense. 

Handle With Care

This would not have to be such a dramatic warning about the Chiefs if Kadarius Toney was not one of the most fragile wide receivers in NFL history, and that appears to be the guy this offense is hitching its wagon to as the new WR1 after they traded for him during the 2022 season.  

When healthy, Toney can be used in a variety of fun ways for this team and definitely become a huge weapon for Mahomes. But he is almost never healthy. Toney has already missed 15 games since 2021, and he has only exceeded 60 receiving yards in 3-of-19 games played.  

Sure enough, on the first day of training camp Toney was injured on a punt return and needed knee surgery. His Week 1 status is already in doubt. Get used to this being his status, Chiefs fans. Toney makes Sammy Watkins look indestructible.  

Question Marks

The Chiefs signed 5’9” receiver Richie James from the Giants after a career-high 57 catches. You would still trust Mahomes with Kelce, MVS, Moore, and James, but that may not be good enough to get over the best opponents on the schedule this year. 

Maybe the saving grace will be Rashee Rice, the 2nd-round rookie out of SMU. If Toney cannot stay on the field, then maybe Rice is the unorthodox solution to WR1. But this receiver situation is far more interesting to follow than any other position group for the Chiefs this year. 

It could be what makes or breaks this title defense.  

Don’t Forget About the Defense

As for the defense, the Chiefs will continue relying on Chris Jones up front and a lot of home-grown talent they drafted, including 4 starters from the 2022 draft. Maybe some of those starters have a big growth spurt in their 2nd season.  

The Chiefs used their 1st-round pick on defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who should be part of the pass-rush rotation this year after the team saw Frank Clark join the rival Broncos. Clark had 10.5 sacks in the playoffs for the Chiefs since 2019, but his regular-season production never lived up to the expectations. 

Still, the Chiefs have one of the youngest defenses in the league, but it did get a lot of experience last year in winning the Super Bowl. Things can get better on this side of the ball despite few additions.  

2023 Schedule Analysis and Pick

What if the prognosticators were just a year early on the Chiefs taking a step back due to missing Tyreek Hill and a much stronger AFC West? Relying on Kadarius Toney to fill a huge role in the offense could be the fatal flaw, and maybe Sean Payton’s arrival in Denver instead of a putz like Nathaniel Hackett is what will really help Russell Wilson take off.  

It would also be nice if Justin Herbert’s ribs are left unscathed this season, and if his receivers can stay healthy. The Raiders should not blow 6 fourth-quarter leads again either. 

The Chiefs have always won at least 12 games under Mahomes since 2018, but let’s check the schedule to see what stands out this year: 

  • Kansas City gets both of its top rivals, Buffalo (Week 14) and Cincinnati (Week 17), at home in December, but those teams are both capable of winning in that building. For example, the Chiefs are an early 3-point favorite against the Bengals, per the latest NFL odds.
  • The Chiefs get some good early tests from Detroit (Week 1) and Jacksonville (Week 2) teams that are favored to win their divisions and score a lot of points this year. 
  • The Chiefs face 9 games against teams who had a winning record last year, and that does not include what could be the improved Broncos (twice) and the Jets. 
  • Aaron Rodgers and the Jets could be playing well by Week 4 when they get to host the Chiefs. 
  • The Chiefs close in Los Angeles against the Chargers in Week 18, and that has always been a tough battle with Justin Herbert. 

Almost half of Kansas City’s 14 wins last year came against the division (6-0), but the first 5 of those division wins were all coin-flip games decided by 1-to-6 points.  

The Chiefs came out on top every time, but who is to say the Raiders and Broncos won’t combine to blow 11 fourth-quarter leads this year now that Denver has a successful coach and the Raiders have a quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo) that McDaniels can manage better? Also, are the Chargers doomed to blow every fourth-quarter lead against the Chiefs? 

But if 2022 taught us anything, it is that you do not bet against Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs have gone 33 straight games without losing by more than 4 points, one game shy of tying the all-time record shared by the 1940-42 Bears and 1965-67 Packers.  

Even with a rookie-filled defense and no Tyreek Hill, Mahomes limped through a high-ankle sprain and won MVP and Super Bowl MVP while taking up over 17% of his team’s salary cap. These things just do not happen in the NFL, but it is possible with someone this historically great.  

Over or Under?

Even if the Chiefs split with every team in the division and lost in the regular season again (both at home nonetheless) to the Bills and Bengals, that would be enough for 12-5 if they beat everyone else. Dropping a game to the Jets or Dolphins (Week 9) is probably more likely than coming away without an AFC West sweep this year. The Chiefs are 42-6 in division games since 2015. 

Only two teams in NFL history have ever won 14 games in back-to-back seasons, so it is unlikely the Chiefs finish 14-3 (or better) this year. But 12-5 to hit this over with the best player in the world? Yes, give me the Chiefs to hit the over for your NFL picks this season. 

NFL Pick: 2023 Kansas City Chiefs Over 11.5 Wins (-145) at BetOnline

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2023 Kansas City Chiefs Over 11.5 Wins (-145)
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2022 Recap: Chiefs Beat the Odds to Claim Another Super Bowl Title 

History should define the 2022 Chiefs as one of the most interesting Super Bowl champions. While they had the best record (14-3), the No. 1 offense, and the league’s MVP and best player at quarterback, they were still an anomaly to win a championship in a season not many believed they were supposed to finish on top. 

Other Contenders

How would the offense fare without the unique speed and big-play ability of Tyreek Hill after trading him to Miami? Buffalo was the Super Bowl favorite for much of 2022 thanks in large part to how great Josh Allen and the offense looked in the postseason, and how they were a brain fart and 13 seconds away from knocking out the Chiefs in Kansas City in that 42-36 classic that would change the league’s overtime rules for the postseason. 

The Bengals were still chirping too after sweeping the Chiefs in 2021, and there was remarkable hype about the competitiveness in the AFC West thanks to the Raiders hiring Josh McDaniels, the Chargers adding defensive players for Justin Herbert to have a complete team, and the Broncos traded for quarterback Russell Wilson. 

Massive Fraud

Of course, the AFC West race proved to be a massive fraud as the Chiefs swept the division and all but locked it up by Thanksgiving. Despite losing to both the Bills and Bengals as their chief rivals in the AFC, the Chiefs still held on to finish 14-3 and claim the No. 1 seed. It also helped that the Bengals vs. Bills game was canceled after the Damar Hamlin scare in January, so those teams finished with 16 games played. 

The Chiefs have still never had to play a true road playoff game in the Mahomes era, and they were still the No. 1 offense last year because of how well Mahomes has developed his game since 2018. The Chiefs missed a lot of the home-run balls without Hill, but they were as methodical as ever, Travis Kelce continues to be the best tight end in the game, and Andy Reid always has new wrinkles up his sleeve.  

Better Than Expected

The concern was the defense, which did not finish well at points allowed, did very poor work in the red zone, did not generate many turnovers, and the Chiefs were relying on a lot of rookies. How would this team fare in the playoffs with its minus-3 turnover differential and so many games that came down to the wire? 

But in the playoffs, the Chiefs got 5 takeaways from the defense and only turned the ball over once. The defense made timely stops too, including a 3rd-down sack of Joe Burrow in the AFC Championship Game before getting Mahomes the ball back for the win, and of course the big break on returning Jalen Hurts’ fumble for a touchdown in the Super Bowl when the Chiefs were trailing.  

This Is What He Does

The offense did a fine job in the playoffs considering Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain in the first quarter of the first game against Jacksonville, then aggravated the injury in each of the next two games. But he toughed it out and made the key scrambles late in the championship games, getting pushed out of bounds for a 15-yard penalty by the Bengals to set up a game-winning field goal, and a 26-yard run against the Eagles to set up the game-winning field goal in the Super Bowl to win game MVP honors.  

Mahomes became the first quarterback to win MVP and the Super Bowl in the same season since Kurt Warner (1999 Rams). He is the first quarterback ever to lead the league in passing yards and win a Super Bowl in the same season.  

While people rushed at different times to hype the Bills, Bengals, 49ers, and Eagles as the new team to beat, it ended up being the team with the best player in the game. Now we see if the Chiefs can field a better team in 2023 than they did last year.