A Chiefs fan doesn’t have to look far to find praise for the team’s offense and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The team’s offensive arsenal has been ranked No. 1 in the NFL by an ESPN writer. NFL Network host Peter Schrager is driving the Mahomes bandwagon. The Chiefs’ pass catchers were ranked in the top 10 by The Ringer.
But there is not universal love for the Chiefs or Mahomes. In fact, there is quite a bit of skepticism about the Chiefs, who ranked in the top six in total offense and scoring in 2017.
When “Good Morning Football” talked about the AFC West, Schrager said the Chiefs would win the division. His three co-hosts all picked them last. Why? Mahomes.
“Is Patrick Mahomes not going to throw a ton of interceptions in his first year starting?” Kay Adams asked.
Kyle Brandt added: “This Pat Mahomes thing could go badly. It could go badly. We can pull up freezing hot takes from us, from you at this table about Texas Tech quarterbacks and offense. ... It could blow up.”
NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling ranked the top 10 offenses in the NFL in May, and the Chiefs were not one of them. However, the Chiefs were listed as one of the teams knocking on the door behind the Texans ... and Buccaneers. Tampa Bay was 18th in scoring a year ago.
Earlier this month, CBS Sports’ Will Brinson listed five teams that could take a step back and miss the playoffs. The Chiefs made that list.
Brinson wrote: “The Chiefs added Sammy Watkins this offseason to a group of players that features Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce. It’s hard not to get excited about what this offense can do when it’s clicking. But the reality is Patrick Mahomes might struggle to acclimate to life as a starter. Making matters more difficult for that transition is the schedule: the Chiefs get the Chargers (road), Steelers (road), 49ers (home) and Broncos (road) to start off Mahomes’ career as a starter. Woof. The next four games aren’t much easier: Jaguars (home), Patriots (road), Bengals (home), Broncos (home). They’re not going to go 1-7 in that stretch, but 4-4 isn’t off the table.”
USA Today’s Steven Ruiz wrote in June about four NFL teams that won’t make it back to the playoffs. The Chiefs made that list, too.
“(M)oving on from Smith was 100% the correct move for Kansas City. That doesn’t mean it will make the Chiefs a better football team in 2018. They are going from one of the smarter QBs in the league to one with only a year of experience in a pro-style offense. So even if the Chiefs offense is more stacked on paper after the acquisition of Sammy Watkins, it’s unlikely that this offense produces at the level it did a year ago. ...
“Andy Reid is too good of a coach to completely count out, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Kansas City playing in January; but it looks like the team will take a step back this season in order to take leap forward in the future. Not a bad trade-off.”
ESPN’s Mike Clay doesn’t expect big things for the Chiefs.
Clay projects Mahomes will complete 63 percent of his passes for 4,401 yards, 21 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, which is good news. But Clay’s projected wins for the Chiefs was just 7.4, and his breakdown by game shows just six victories.
In May, Jason McIntyre of USA Today’s Big Lead ranked the Top 25 NFL players under the age of 25, and Mahomes didn’t make the cut.
Players on the list include Sam Darnold, who was drafted this year by the Jets, and Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt were among the top 25.
McIntyre listed 10 players who just missed the cut, and Mahomes, 22, wasn’t listed there either (but Watkins was).
On the magazine racks at your local store is Lindy’s Sports’ NFL preseason publication, which rated each team’s quarterbacks. The Chiefs’ quarterbacks were tied for last in the AFC West with the Broncos, and only the Bills and Jets scored lower in the AFC. After noting Alex Smith’s stats, Lindy’s wrote: “It’s hard to imagine replacement Patrick Mahomes doing better.”