3 reasons why the Chiefs will miss the playoffs in 2022 NFL season

The Chiefs are no lock to make the playoffs after the upcoming 2022 NFL season.
The Chiefs are no lock to make the playoffs after the upcoming 2022 NFL season.

Things may not be as rosy for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022 as they have been the past several seasons. Gone is Patrick Mahomes' top weapon, Tyreek Hill. It was a shock to the NFL 2018 MVP, even though he worked hand-in-hand with the franchise on the deal:

“It more surprised me whenever it got to the point where we were really considering trading him,” Mahomes told Breer. “They kept me updated the entire time; I knew the extension talks were going on. And then I knew when he got the permission to seek to get traded. But I mean, still, I played my entire career with Tyreek, so definitely, there was a little bit of shock when he got traded." - Patrick Mahomes

Now, Kansas City is set to pick up the pieces after falling short the past two seasons...progressively falling shorter each year the past two after a Super Bowl LIV victory in 2020.

The Chiefs have a lot to worry about, given the improvements of the teams around them and lack of their own progression.

Here's 3 reasons why the Chiefs will miss the playoffs in the 2022 NFL season:

#1 - The AFC West is now the toughest division in the league

With Russell Wilson now in Denver, the AFC West has four legitimate threats to win the division in 2022. Kansas City's candidacy may be reliant upon their past success moreso than the present for the other three squads.

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The Denver Broncos now have a dual-threat former Super Bowl-winning champion who is ready for a second act that, if similar to his first, could result in a title with the team he destroyed en route to winning his first.

Let's also not forget about the continued development of the Los Angeles Chargers' wunderkind Justin Herbert coupled with the superstar addition of J.C. Jackson from New England. Or the Las Vegas Raiders' improvements in the secondary (Rock Ya-Sin), defensive front (Jayon Brown), and in the WR room (Mack Hollins).

The Chiefs may no longer have a cakewalk to the AFC West crown. Their six divisional games are looking pretty tough to navigate in 2022.

#2 - Kansas City's non-division games are also tough

Three games could be considered cakewalks given what we know now about how the rosters are going to shake up ahead of the 2022 season. The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Seattle Seahawks at home should be gimme's, while the Davis Mills show in Houston doesn't figure to be too threatening...assuming he's still QB1 when the Chiefs visit the Houston Texans this upcoming campaign.

Visiting Tampa to take on the team that halted their dynastic ambitions will be especially tough considering this season could be Tom Brady's final ride running "Tompa Bay."

An AFC Championship rematch with Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals is a tough test on the road as well. Who knows how well Matt Ryan is set to mesh in Indy. Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals have a lot to prove in 2022, too.

The point is, the non-divisional schedule could be just as much of a challenge for the Chiefs in 2022 as the AFC West will be.

#3 - A downgraded supporting cast

We touched on Tyreek Hill's loss before, but it cannot be overstated how detrimental to the offense it will be to no longer have a WR1 at the level of Tyreek Hill.

Travis Kelce will now be dealing with more pressure in coverage, and the replacements for Hill's production in the WR room could be "more sizzle than steak" in a foreign offense.

Both Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster were established within a singular offense (with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, respectively) and now provide more depth than explosive playmaking in Kansas City. Consider Hill's quality not replaced with quanity.

Mahomes, however, appears to be taking it well:

“I think that’ll be something that will help me a ton this next year because more than having that one guy that we had with Tyreek that’s so dynamic, that can even if he’s double-covered make something happen, I’ll be able to spread the ball around more this year and let these other guys make plays happen… I think it’ll help our offense in a sense where they can’t just focus on Travis and Tyreek, Travis and Tyreek.”

He continued, saying that, by the start of the season, he expected to have a tight-knit group ready to play some football:

“I actually have a lot of guys coming in the end of this week and we’re going to continue the rest of the offseason and OTAs,” Mahomes said. “We will be together and working. We have a whole new receiving room, so I’m gonna get these guys together as much as possible just to build those relationships, as much as me getting to work with them. So I think by the time we get to the season, we’ll have a tight-knit group with a lot of great playmakers.”

Reality could be a different story come this fall, though. Most pundits are high on Kansas City as long as Andy Reid is around, but losses will eventually pile up. Let's not pretend that "easy money" Las Vegas total wins over bet tickets don't get torched at the end of every NFL season.

The Chiefs have been so good for so long that a tipping point seems inevitable. It doesn't have to be dramatic enough to prematurely note the end of winning times at Arrowhead Stadium with Mahomes under center.

But the AFC could have finally caught up to a Chiefs franchise that has gone to the last four conference championship games.

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