Winning Super Bowl LIII was a grind for the New England Patriots. Repeating as champions of the NFL will be even more difficult.
Aside from their own turnover, the Patriots will have to overcome a number of championship-caliber teams that improved in the offseason. In short, the Super Bowl LIV field is wide open.
NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” panel on Tuesday was tasked with determining which team poses the biggest threat of dethroning the Patriots as champions. For Peter Schrager, it’s the team New England barely squeaked by on its way to Super Sunday: the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I know Tyreek Hill might not be on the field, I know they lost Dee Ford, I know they lost a lot of things,” Schrager said. “But they did bring in Fred Clark, and I think (Patrick) Mahomes could be that good where he says ‘I spent the whole offseason knowing I didn’t get the ball in overtime. I didn’t get the opportunity.’ What a crazy story it would be if they beat them in Arrowhead and got over the hump and brought that fanbase to the Super Bowl that’s gonna be in Miami next year. I like the Chiefs. They’re young, they’re hungry and I think they actually got better on defense despite what you might be reading elsewhere.”
It will be very interesting to see how Mahomes fares in the 2019 campaign. The versatile signal-caller wasn’t a rookie last season, but it was his first go-around as a starter. He’s not going to surprise anyone in the upcoming season, and teams will be more equipped in their preparation now with ample tape at their disposal. And while Kansas City’s defense might have gotten better, there are some question marks surrounding the offense. Assuming Hill will be out of the picture, Mahomes’ No. 1 wideout would be Sammy Watkins, whose play and availability is rather inconsistent.
The Chiefs also own one of the tougher schedules in 2019, which includes matchups against a competitive NFC North. They’ll visit Gillette Stadium in Week 14 for a matchup against the Patriots, which very well could have major playoff implications. The motivation will be there for Mahomes and Co. in the new season, but reaching the championship stage will be no easy task.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images