Many said this was the year the Kansas City Chiefs would look different, no longer that explosive offense that we've come to expect with Andy Reid running it and Patrick Mahomes slinging it.
Tyreek Hill, the fastest man in the NFL, was traded to the Miami Dolphins in the offseason, which surely would change the dynamic of the offense. They would lean more on the run, right? They would rely more on the short passing game, right? Mahomes would be less of a gunslinger, right?
Wrong, wrong and wrong again.
The Chiefs are the same team they've been the past few seasons. Mahomes is on pace to throw 48 touchdown passes, which would be second-best of his career to his high of 50 in 2018. He is also on pace to throw for 5,551 yards, which would be his best. He also has a passer rating of 107.3.
Mahomes has 47 pass plays of 20 yards or more after having 58 all of last season. He has nine plays of 40-plus yards or more after having 11 all of last year. So much for the idea that Mahomes would be different without Hill.
The Chiefs are the same Chiefs and Mahomes is the leader in the MVP race. He took the Chiefs on a game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes to beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night, showing off his playmaking skills, and basically sewing up the AFC West title.
As 8-2, the Chiefs sit atop my Power Rankings and have that Super Bowl look again. Reid is a great coach, Mahomes is a great quarterback and tight end Travis Kelce might be the best to ever play the position. He had three touchdown catches against the Chargers, including the game-winner in the final minute.
Since becoming the Chiefs full-time starter in 2018, Mahomes has shown how great he can be at throwing the football. But he's grown by a ton as a passer. Early in his career, he was the fun, gunslinging passer who would hit the big shots and sometimes could be frustrated by off-coverage because of a lack of patience.
Now he's grown into a patient passer who can still hit the big shots down the field. Mahomes is averaging 8.2 yards per attempt, which is significantly better thanks to the 7.4 he averaged last year with Hill.
The Chiefs still have flaws on defense, such as a young secondary and a pass defense that is down near the bottom of the league, but Mahomes can cure those ills with his arm. That's why he's the leader in the MVP race. That's why the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL right now. And that's why the notion that Mahomes would be different this season is so misguided as we head to December and the real playoff push.
|If there is anything to worry about, it's the pass rush at times and the coverage on the back end. They have to improve in those areas.||--||14-3-0|
|They made it interesting against the Colts, but the sign of a good team is rallying from behind to win on the road. They still have some issues to work out.||--||14-3-0|
|They come off their bye in first place with a winnable game at home against the Texans. The defense was much better in the game before the bye, so they need that to carry over.||1||9-8-0|
|They put all the snow issues behind them and looked like the team we expected to see before the season. Now they play the hot Lions on the road on Thanksgiving, which won't be easy.||1||13-3-0|
|Winning at Green Bay on a short week was impressive. What really was important from that game is how well Ryan Tannehill played. Now they the Bengals in a big game.||2||7-10-0|
|They went to Minnesota and blew out the Vikings. The defense simply dominated. Now they have the Giants on a short week at home, which is a big division game.||2||12-5-0|
|The bubble burst in a big way against the Cowboys. They better hope that's an aberration, rather than closer to the norm.||4||13-4-0|
|They continue to struggle on offense, which is a concern. But the defense now has played two good games in a row. That's big for them.||2||10-7-0|
|Nobody will want to play this team come playoff time. They are getting it right at the right time. Jimmy Garoppolo is playing well.||--||13-4-0|
|Winning at Pittsburgh might not seem like much, but they came out of the bye and the offense continued to roll. They face a tough one with the Titans this week.||--||12-4-0|
|The defense was huge against the Jets. They dominated and are now second in the league. The offense has a ways to go.||2||8-9-0|
|What the heck happened against the Lions? Does that loss send them back into reality? Or was it just a one-week aberration?||1||9-7-1|
|They come off their bye with a home game against the Raiders. This young team can really push for a playoff spot down the stretch.||1||9-8-0|
|The offense is way too limited. They can't move the football. Zach Wilson could be heading to the bench, and probably should be.||--||7-10-0|
|They are playing for a wild card spot now with the loss to the Chiefs Sunday night. They just have had way too many injuries this season.||--||10-7-0|
|They are in the playoff chase after beating the Bears. They face a playoff-like game this week at Washington against the Commanders.||3||7-10-0|
|They come off their bye with a road game at Cleveland. They lead the NFC South and seemed to find something in the game before the bye against Seattle.||1||8-9-0|
|They have won five of six to get into the playoff race. The defense has really come on in recent weeks and Taylor Heinecke is managing things at quarterback.||1||8-8-1|
|They kept their slim playoff hopes alive by beating the Rams. The offense actually showed some life with Andy Dalton.||5||7-10-0|
|They have won three straight games to actually get into the playoff conversation. Dan Campbell is doing a nice job.||6||9-8-0|
|Stick a fork in them. They are done. They face a tough road game this week at Philadelphia, too. See ya.||3||8-9-0|
|The loss to the 49ers makes any playoff talk look foolish now. The next question is whether Kliff Kingsbury is in trouble or not.||2||4-13-0|
|Jeff Saturday has this team 1-1, but they are basically done in terms of the playoffs. They are playing better for him.||2||4-12-1|
|Kenny Pickett did some good things against the Bengals, but the defense let them down. Pickett's play is encouraging for the future.||2||9-8-0|
|Deshaun Watson is back. So what? They are done. They are playing for next season.||2||7-10-0|
|They found a way to win in overtime at Denver, but it wasn't pretty. At least they broke their losing streak, which was important for Josh McDaniels.||3||6-11-0|
|They changed who would call the plays on offense, but it didn't matter. Russell Wilson isn't doing enough and the offense is bad as they keep on losing.||--||5-12-0|
|They come off their bye just trying to build for next year. They have to get more out of their pass rush going forward.||--||9-8-0|
|They are done. With Matt Stafford hurting and Cooper Kupp gone, they have no chance on offense. What a hangover from the Super Bowl this season has been||4||5-12-0|
|They are competing, which is a good thing. The Justin Fields injury is concerning, as is the play of the defense.||--||3-14-0|
|The defense showed up against the Ravens, but Baker Mayfield and the offense did nothing. They have quarterback issues in a big way.||--||7-10-0|
|It looked like rock bottom against Washington. They were lifeless for most of that game, which is not a good sign.||--||3-13-1|