Despite tougher AFC, the Chiefs are still the team to beat

The 2021 NFL season is upon us, folks!

And the 2021 AFC Champion, and 2020 Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs are looking to make their third straight trip to the Super Bowl. But this time around, the Chiefs are looking for payback after an embarrassing 31-9 rout in Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While Tom Brady continued to show why he’s among the greatest (if not, THE greatest) of all-time, Mahomes was running for dear life. With an injured offensive line, there was little-to-no time for Mahomes to make the throws he usually would make with ease. And for the first time in his career, he did not throw a touchdown pass in a game.

But this off-season, the Chiefs rectified the issues on the offensive line, and did so in a big way.

Left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. was a trade acquisition from the Baltimore Ravens. Left guard Joe Thuney, who had spent the last five years with the New England Patriots, was acquired via free agency. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the CHiefs selected Oklahoma center Creed Humphrey and Tennessee right guard Trey Smith, in the second and sixth rounds, respectively.

Defensively, stars Chris Jones and Frank Clark return, but need to make a bigger impact this season, especially Clark, given his high cap hit this season ($25.8 million hit). Secondary-wise, star safety Tyrann Mathieu returns, as well as Daniel Sorensen and Juan Thornhill. But with an other-wise inexperienced defensive back group, it remains to be seen how the defense will hold up.

According to the Chiefs, remains on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list. Mathieu was first reported to be in the COVID protocol on September 1, and it remains to be seen if he will be available week one against the Cleveland Browns.

Speaking of teams such as the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills, both have provided massive upgrades on sides of the ball that they struggled on last year. Cleveland still possesses the best RB tandem in football, and the best offensive line, while the Buffalo Bills have MVP candidate Josh Allen, who is looking for redemption after last season’s embarrassment in the AFC Title Game.

Despite these upgrades, there’s no doubt about it: the Chiefs are the team to beat in the AFC. And until they get bested by an AFC team in the playoffs, that won’t change.

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