Bad news first: The Chiefs lost their season opener/home opener against the Detroit Lions 21-20 after a poor showing in offensive play-calling and catching the football. The Lions are a playoff contender this year and will make a run for the NFC North, yes, but the Chiefs beat themselves by putting themselves in positions that were less than ideal. The defense looked solid, but the offense left a ton to be desired. Overall, not how you want to start your season.
Now for the good news though: It's the first game of the season and you only lost by a single point after putting up the worst showing in a while as well as missing a few key players. Both Travis Kelce and Chris Jones are likely to make their return against Jacksonville, the Chiefs have shown they have excellent ability to rebound, and they'll likely be as full strength as they've been since the Super Bowl with the only potential missing player being Clyde Edwards-Helaire. However, this will be yet another test against a strong Jacksonville Jaguars team. The Jaguars, while they are on a 7-game losing streak against the Chiefs, came extremely close to beating the Chiefs not once, but twice last year, one of those being a Divisional Round game in the playoffs. With Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Evan Engram, Zay Jones, and other weapons at their disposal, the Chiefs defense will once again be tested by a balanced attack that can tear teams apart if they're not careful. The Jaguar offense put up 31 points against an above average Colts defense and are predicted to be one of the better offenses in the AFC. They're equal, if not a little better than, the Detroit Lion offense the Chiefs allowed just 14 points to. If the Chiefs defense can perform as well as they did against Detroit, the Chiefs will be in a good spot. Add Chris Jones back into the mix and you could have a solidified unit that could very well be one of the better units in the AFC. Only time will tell though, as while the Chiefs defense looked solid in their first game, things can certainly change as the season progresses. One performance doesn't define a season.
You could say that also though, about the Chiefs offense, specifically the receivers. "Wide receiver 1" Kadarius Toney accounted for 7 drops in one game this past Thursday, for reference, probable first ballot Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 29 drops in his entire career. That's 24% of Fitzgerald's TOTAL drops in ONE GAME. Not great. Skyy Moore and Rashee Rice also suffered a couple bad drops, and as a whole the wide receivers looked less than spectacular. Travis Kelce being back should help as well as going up against a less star-studded defensive back group, but only time will tell if this receiving corps will be feasible this season. Again, one game doesn't define a season, but it's certainly not how you want to start out. Patrick Mahomes will need to develop trust with this group and he will not be able to do that if these drops continue. Jacksonville's defense may not be as strong as the Lions' defense, they did let a rookie quarterback dismantle them while he was still healthy, but they're still an above average unit. Keeping the ball in hand and being reliable will be the name of the game for the Chiefs.
This week will have to be a major bounce back for the Chiefs. Yes, we are a mere one game into the season, but starting the season 0-2 after winning the Super Bowl isn't ideal. The Bears, Jets, and Vikings ahead certainly isn't the worst schedule you could have upcoming, but it isn't exactly a cupcake schedule. Going into it 0-2 with morale being low and tension high could send this team into a spiral given all the drama surrounding it, let's not forget what's happened to teams that seem to be drama magnets (2017 Steelers, 2008 Cowboys, 2020 Texans, etc.) Now that the Chris Jones fiasco is over (for now) hopefully some of that tension and pressure to perform will be alleviated, but it's important not to get complacent. You're still 0-1 and have to recover quick in this league, this game is a great game to do that. When you have Patrick Mahomes, you have a chance to win, but this team has to trust him and this team has to show his trust can be put into them.
Burn Notice: 9/10 Smoke is coming, no fire yet...