Chiefs 2018 Season Win Total Prediction
For the first time in six years, the Kansas City Chiefs will have a new starter under center as the team shifts from Alex Smith to second-year signal-caller Patrick Mahomes. Even with Mahomes likely to suffer some growing pains, will the Chiefs win at least nine games in 2018?
Kansas City Chiefs Betting Odds
According to oddsmakers, the Chiefs' win total for 2018 has been set at 8.5, with the over and under both carrying juicing of 20/23, respectively. Kansas City is also 35/1 to win the 2019 Super Bowl, is 15/1 to win the AFC title, and is 3/1 to win the AFC West Division.
Outside of trading Smith to the Redskins, the biggest move the Chiefs made this offseason was signing receiver Sammy Watkins to a free agent contract. They also brought in linebacker Anthony Hitchens (Dallas), received cornerback Kendall Fuller from Washington in the Smith trade, and also signed David Amerson, formerly of the 49ers.
In April, the Chiefs didn't own a first-round pick this year because of the Mahomes trade the previous year. With their remaining five picks, Kansas City went all defense. The Chiefs took Ole Miss defensive end Breeland Speaks in the second round, Florida State defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and linebacker Dorian O'Daniel (Clemson) in the third, Texas A&M safety Armani Watts in the fourth and cornerback Tremon Smith (Central Arkansas) and defensive tackle Khalil McKenzie (Tennessee) in the sixth.
The Chiefs decided to move on from several defenders from last season, releasing long-time linebacker Tamba Hali, safety Ron Parker, defensive tackle Stefan Charles and cornerback Darrelle Revis (who retired).
The Chiefs also did not renew linebacker Derrick Johnson's contract. He wound up signing with the Raiders in the offseason. Cornerback Phillip Gaines also signed with the Bills while defensive tackle Bennie Logan inked a contract with the Titans.
Of course, the biggest move came when the Chiefs traded Smith to the Redskins, paving the way for Mahomes to start in 2018.
Chiefs Season Win Total Prediction
One thing lost in all the talk about Smith being traded and Mahomes taking over is whether or not the Chiefs did enough to address their defensive issues from a year ago. They did address their front seven with run-stuffing inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens and nose tackle Xavier Williams but overall, I don't think they did enough to fix a defense that finished near the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency in 2017.
There's no question that this Kansas City offense is loaded with weapons. Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce are legit game-breakers and Watkins should make a bigger impact this season than he did in L.A. because he doesn't have to learn a team's offense on the fly. That said, while Mahomes will take Andy Reid's offense to levels that Smith couldn't, it's also very likely due to his playing style and inexperience to turn the ball over more than Smith did, too. If that's the case, the defense isn't good enough to withstand poor field position on a routine basis.
Don't get it twisted: This is a talented team that will be exciting to watch at times but I just don't see the Chiefs winning nine games this season to cash the over. Given the inevitable growing pains of Mahomes, I see the Chiefs finishing at 7-9 or 8-8.
Kansas City Chiefs Season Win Total Prediction: Under 8.5