Super Bowl or bust -- that's the culture the Kansas City Chiefs have created over the last several seasons. Thanks to Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, the Chiefs have emerged as the most successful team in the NFL.
Kansas City has reached the conference championship game three straight years, winning the AFC in back-to-back seasons. The Chiefs are 38-10 during the stretch, tied with the New Orleans Saints for the most wins in the NFL. Kansas City has averaged 31.0 points per game since the start of the 2018 season (Mahomes' first as the starting quarterback), 406.9 yards per game and 6.4 yards per play -- all first in the league.
The Chiefs aren't only an offensive juggernaut, but they consistently win games and championships as a result. In addition to the Super Bowl LIV title during the 2019 season, the Chiefs have won 12-plus games in each of the last three seasons and have secured five consecutive AFC West championships. That run of success is expected to continue in 2021, as the Chiefs are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl again.
And despite their Super Bowl defeat loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, the Chiefs have these three ingredients that will propel them to their second championship in three years.
1. Patrick Mahomes will be better
Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL -- and the biggest reason why Kansas City is perennially a championship contender. The Chiefs quarterback continues to set records every time he touches the field, having the most pass yards (14,152), pass touchdowns (114), and highest passer rating (108.7) through a player's first 46 starts in league history. The Chiefs have made the conference championship game in each of Mahomes' three years as a starting quarterback and reached back-to-back Super Bowls.
Already an excellent quarterback, Mahomes had a bitter taste in his mouth after last year's 31-9 defeat to the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. The Chiefs quarterback was pressured a record 29 times in that game, forcing him to try and make anything happen behind an offensive line that gave him no time to throw (more on that later). Mahomes discussed the improvements he's made to his game this offseason to overcome this flaw -- giving himself more time in the pocket before flushing out.
"For me, I'll always try to stay within the pocket, especially during training camp," Mahomes said last month. "I always feel like I can scramble, and that stuff can happen. We work on it, what can happen throughout a game, but working within the pocket and going through the reads and see how the play is working."
Mahomes has strived on improving the fundamentals the last two years and found ways to be an even better quarterback since his MVP season in 2018. The Chiefs will be playing in Los Angeles come February because Mahomes continues to work on his game.
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2. Andy Reid
If the Chiefs are going to win their second Super Bowl title in three years, Reid is going to play a huge factor -- just like he has since he arrived in Kansas City. Reid has never recorded a losing season there, winning 10-plus games in seven of his eight seasons. The Chiefs have won 12-plus games in three consecutive seasons and four of the last five years, which is no accident considering how Reid prepares his team.
The Chiefs have one of the best offensive schemes in the NFL, with Reid always finding ways to add new wrinkles to his attack. Since Kansas City's No. 2 wide receiver isn't as strong as in years past, Reid will find alternative ways to create big plays with the offensive weapons he has. Don't be shocked if Clyde Edwards-Helaire becomes more of a pass-catching threat out of the backfield this year as a result.
Reid has always been an excellent coach in November and December, going 20-4 over the last three seasons. He's carrying that success into January and February, too, as the Chiefs are 6-2 in that span. The success Reid has had the second half of the season is tough to ignore, especially with him coaching a roster as strong as Kansas City's.
The Chiefs are always a well-prepared team, and Reid will have them battle-tested and playing their best football by the time the playoffs start.
3. Revamped offensive line
The Bucs exposed the Chiefs' most-glaring weakness in the Super Bowl, and general manager Brett Veach did everything he could to improve the offensive line this offseason. This unit went from a battered bunch with depth issues to one of the best in the league.
Orlando Brown is ready to prove himself as one of the best left tackles in the game. While Brown primarily played right tackle in Baltimore, he didn't allow a single sack or quarterback hit in 389 pass-blocking snaps at left tackle with the Baltimore Ravens last season filling in for Ronnie Stanley. Joe Thuney is one of the most durable offensive linemen in the game, playing the second-most snaps in the league over the last five years (5,474). He also allowed just three sacks in 1,897 pass-blocking snaps with the New England Patriots.
Rookie Creed Humphrey is expected to start at center. Humphrey didn't allow a sack in in his 39 career games at Oklahoma (1,230 snaps). Fellow rookie Trey Smith is expected to start at right guard, and he allowed only one sack in his final two seasons at Tennessee in over 2,500 snaps. Lucas Niang, a 2020 third-round pick who sat out the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is projected to start at right tackle. Niang didn't allow a sack during his final two seasons at TCU.
Kansas City also has good veteran depth in Mike Remmers (left tackle), Austin Blythe (center), Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (guard), Kyle Long (guard/tackle) and Andrew Wylie (guard/tackle). If any injuries occur in the trenches, the Chiefs are covered.
Mahomes is going to have plenty of time to throw this year, which is trouble for the NFL. If Mahomes had this offensive line in Super Bowl LV, the Chiefs may be going for their third consecutive title.