By Fred Liggett
The time has come for the Kansas City Chiefs to take the field for the 2021 regular season and begin another quest for an AFC West Division title on the way to raising the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl 56. The last time the Chiefs took the field it turned out to be a 31-9 loss in Super Bowl 55 on Feb. 7. The goal this time is to end up playing on Feb. 13, 2022 in Super Bowl 56 set for So-Fi Stadium in Los Angeles.
To make a return trip to the Super Bowl a reality the Chiefs must overcome several AFC teams striving to take the mantle as the best in the AFC. Among the teams considered to have a realistic shot to make it is Cleveland, Baltimore and Buffalo. Thanks to the Chiefs schedule they will play all three of these teams in the first five weeks of the season. New this year to the schedule is it’s 17 games in length. The extra game the Chiefs will play is against Green Bay, a favorite by some to win the NFC, but this one will be played in KC. Other schedule concerns finds the Chiefs having three straight division games in December and one of them in LA just four days apart.
To have success as they go through this daunting schedule the Chiefs find a familiar starting line up with the exception of the team’s offensive line. The Chiefs QB, wide receivers and tight ends groups are very talented and are set to go. The team will have to move on from Anthony Sherman at fullback but many believe they have an adequate replacement in Michael Burton. Clyde Edwards-Helaire or CEH leads the rushing attack and benefits from a year in the NFL. The renovated offensive line will be watched closely especially at the start of the season. With two rookies expected to start there is some unknown going into the year. But if the line stays healthy and gels together will be a big positive to a very good year.
Defensively the Chiefs are looking to benefit from the arrival of Jarran Reed allowing Chris Jones to play at the end position more suited to his talents. The linebacker group is young with second year LB Willie Gay, Jr. and rookie Nick Bolton being depended on to make key plays in a game. The secondary led by Tyrann Mathieu look to be in fine shape after a stellar pre-season. L’Jarius Sneed and others round out a solid unit for Coach Andy Reid to depend on.
Like any team in the NFL the now longer regular season lasting 18 weeks to play 17 games a team’s depth will be an issue. The Chiefs have strength in their offensive line thanks to Laurant Duvernay-Tardiff a former starter is now a backup. A question that may need to be answered is what to do with DE Frank Clark’s starting position if he is suspended due to off season issues. At linebacker the Chiefs may have to deal with Willie Gay’s on going turf toe injury but it’s far too early to know if that will linger. A young running back group if tested by injury may be a problem but not for long with the Chiefs experience on that side of the field.
At the end of the regular season the Chiefs will be sitting at 13-4 and getting ready to use all the playoff experience they have gained over the last three years for another run at the Lombardi Trophy. Before then the Chiefs will have provided their fans with the normal amount of exciting plays, highlights to relive and player of the week honors for QB Patrick Mahomes. The kickoff to 2021 is just one week away. That’s What I REID Into It for the 2021 regular season.