NFL season preview: Chiefs look to repeat

Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are both looking for another Super Bowl

written BY WILL PEMBROKE, associate multimedia editor
Photo courtesy of USA Today
The NFL season is set to kick off on Thursday with plenty of intriguing storylines. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are looking to repeat as NFL champions, but will face tough competition from Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccanneers and Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens.

With the NFL season kicking off this week with the Chiefs playing the Texans on Thursday evening,there are a lot of questions to be answered. How will Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs defend their Super Bowl win from last year? What will the NFL look like this year playing amidst a pandemic? Will Tom Brady capitalize on his new opportunity with the Buccaneers and win the NFC? The new season marks new beginnings for a number of teams such as our hometown Cincinnati Bengals and rookie first overall pick Joe Burrow. Familiar faces such as Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Dak Prescott in Dallas and Lamar Jackson in Baltimore are hungry to prove they can be better than their playoff shortcomings last season. With these storylines in mind, let’s jump right in.

Coming off of a brilliant Super Bowl victory, the Kansas City Chiefs are looking to replicate their success in the new season. Patrick Mahomes entered himself into the discussion as one of the most talented quarterbacks the league has ever seen with his magical performance in the playoffs last year, winning a Super Bowl in only his third season. Along with his receivers Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Sammy Watkins, as well as tight end Travis Kelce, Mahomes and the Chiefs seemed absolutely unstoppable last year. With that said, NFL fans are well aware of the Super Bowl hangover phenomenon that has seemed to plague so many teams in their seasons following a win on the game’s biggest stage. For the Chiefs, having arguably one of the greatest throwers of the football the game has ever seen in Mahomes and an extremely gifted offensive mind in head coach Andy Reid should help offset any possible hangover. However, the Chiefs’ questionable defense was no stranger to allowing big plays time and again last year and could prohibit this team from repeating as Super Bowl champions.

The big question on everybody’s mind this year is how playing football amidst a pandemic will affect both the quality of play and player availability for teams across the league. The NFL opted not to play any preseason games this past year due to complications from the coronavirus, and while that was overwhelmingly the right decision, the lack of live game action heading into the regular season could prove to be an issue especially for the younger players who rely on those preseason games to find their footing. Team travel has also been a hot topic issue. It would be nearly impossible for the NFL to have its own version of the NBA regular season and playoff bubble given the sheer number of people who are needed for an NFL team to function even outside of the players. With that said, it will be interesting to see how many teams could be wiped out simply by one player on the team contracting the coronavirus and being forced to shut down in the middle of the season to quarantine. Even without fans in most stadiums across the league, it will still be difficult for teams to keep the virus out of their locker rooms given the amount of travel which is required in order to play the games.

Arguably the top story of this offseason, non-virus related, was the move from Tom Brady to leave the New England Patriots, with whom he has won six Super Bowl titles, in favor of going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to play under mastermind offensive head coach Bruce Arians. The Buccaneers are not short on offensive talent by any stretch. Brady will get to play with Pro Bowlers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. Tampa Bay’s roster, at least on paper, could compete with nearly any team in the league. The catch for Brady and the Bucs, however, similar to the Mahomes and the Chiefs, will be their unproven defense. On top of that, with this being Brady’s first year on the team, chemistry and a lack of cohesion could be an issue for the 43-year-old quarterback who is having to learn a new system for the first time since he entered the league almost 20 years ago. If anybody has proven themselves to be up to the challenge though, it is Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time.

This weekend, sit back, grab some popcorn and watch some NFL games with your favorite people because this season is already full of fascinating storylines destined to create some uniquely special outcomes.