As long as the Chiefs have quarterback Patrick Mahomes at the helm, they will always have a chance to win a championship. But how far should our expectations go for this Kansas City team, which has fixed its biggest issue from last season, i.e. the offensive line?
Well, one NFL insider has set the bar high for the Chiefs this season, projecting that they will not lose a single game.
Chiefs Go Undefeated in 2021
During ESPN’s morning show, “Get Up!” ESPN NFL insider Jeff Darlington projected that Kansas City could be the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to go undefeated.
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“If the Chiefs — and I realize that this is a big if — had won the Super Bowl, basically if they had the offensive line that they have right now, I think we would be talking about the Chiefs, wondering if they would be the first team to go undefeated since 1972. And I don’t think that’s out of line,” Darlington explained. “I don’t know when to project this team loses a game. So honestly, I’m so bullish on the Kansas City Chiefs that, yes, we should be wondering if this team can go undefeated this year.”
Is Darlington Right?
It’s always going to be a hot take to project any team to not lose a single game during an NFL season. There are so many unknowns on a week-to-week basis that it’s extremely difficult to do so, hence why it hasn’t been done since the ’70s. But does that make Darlington wrong in projecting the 2021 Chiefs to do it?
Even with an offensive line that finished the season as middle-of-the-road in the league according to PFF, Kansas City managed to lose just two games during the 2020 regular season and eventually the Super Bowl. It’s also worth noting that one of those regular-season games — a 38-21 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17 — was a throwaway game in which most of the Chiefs’ starters were resting in anticipation of their extended playoff run.
Pair that notion with the fact that Kansas City has five new starters on their offensive line — tackle Orlando Brown Jr., guard Joe Thuney, rookie center Creed Humphrey, rookie guard Trey Smith, and 2020 rookie opt-out Lucas Niang — and this team on paper is better than they were in 2020.
Yes, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are going to attempt to run it back with a team that did not lose a single starter from last season, which could jeopardize an undefeated season for Kansas City. But if there is one person not named Tom Brady that you shouldn’t bet against in the NFL — and he’s proven so with back-to-back Super Bowl appearances and one championship on his resume in a four-year NFL career — it’s Patrick Mahomes.
So, Darlington might not be so crazy after all. But only time will tell if he is right.
Follow Devon Clements on Twitter @DevClemNFL for more news and info regarding the Kansas City Chiefs.