The Kansas City Chiefs set the NFL on fire with their prolific offense led by Patrick Mahomes in 2018. The Chiefs would boast the number one offense in terms of total yards and points per game.
Mahomes had a historic season, throwing for 5,097 yards, 50 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Although, his season ended before the Chiefs could reach the Super Bowl. Kansas City would see their season end to the hands of the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship.
As everyone knows, Tom Brady defeated the Chiefs, then the Patriots took home their sixth Super Bowl trophy in franchise history. Despite a tough loss in the AFC Championship, the Chiefs have plenty to look forward to.
The Chiefs will want to continue their dominance on the offensive side of the ball but their defense was the main issue in 2018. Since last season, Kansas City fired Bob Sutton as their defensive coordinator and hired Steve Spagnuolo.
The Chiefs will be without Dee Ford and Justin Houston this season as both will be sporting new jerseys in 2019. Seeing how the defense improves this season will be interesting to watch. Kansas City is hoping to improve upon an impressive 2018 season by reaching the Super Bowl in 2019.
Here are three X-factors that are vital to the Chiefs being able to go even further in the playoffs in 2019.
3. The Play of Damien Williams
Everyone knows how dangerous the Chiefs are through the air but their ability to be balanced makes them nearly unstoppable. At the beginning of last season, Kansas City was rolling through teams by throwing it and running the ball with Kareem Hunt.
Then, Hunt was cut by the team after a video surfaced of him kicking a woman at a hotel later in the season. The Chiefs turned to Damien Williams to assume Hunt’s role as the starting running back.
Williams would flourish in the offense by rushing for 203 yards and three touchdowns in his only three starts in the regular season. He also was crucial to the Chiefs beating the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round by rushing for 129 yards and a score.
The Chiefs are going to need Williams to continue thriving in his role as the starter if they hope to make it back to the AFC Championship game in 2019.
2. The Health of Sammy Watkins
Before the 2018 season, Kansas City decided to sign Sammy Watkins to a three-year, $48 million deal. That’s a ton of money to pay a guy who hasn’t started in all 16 games in the regular season since his rookie season in 2014.
Since then, a multitude of injuries has caused him to miss 20 games in the past four seasons. With the Tyreek Hill situation being up in the air, the Chiefs may need to rely upon Watkins more often in the offense.
Therefore, Watkins will need to maintain his health throughout the 2019 season if the Chiefs want to continue obliterating opposing defenses. Watkins is a very talented wideout but injuries have slowed him down the last few years.
Kansas City needs Watkins to show why they paid a hefty price tag to bring him on to the team.
Staying healthy is a good start for Watkins and if he stays healthy he could be in for a huge season in 2019.
1. Improved Defense
It’s no secret that the Chiefs defense was dreadful during the 2018 season. Their pass defense ranked second to last in the NFL while they were 27th against the run.
As a result, Kansas City fired Bob Sutton after he spent six seasons as the defensive coordinator. In his place will be Steve Spagnuolo—who is reuniting with Andy Reid during his Philadelphia Eagles days.
Spagnuolo was on Reid’s staff on the Eagles from 2001-2006. Now, he gets a daunting task to fix the Chiefs defense that failed to have much success in 2018.
Judging by the Chiefs offseason moves, they realize wholeheartedly what needs to be done to improve the defense. Kansas City has signed or traded for Tyrann Mathieu, Frank Clark, Emmanuel Ogbah, Alex Okafor, and Darron Lee among others.
The Chiefs can put up points with ease, scoring 51 points in a game but they lost because they allowed 54 points.
If the Chiefs want to be able to win a Super Bowl they must improve on the defensive side of the ball in 2019.