As the Chiefs prepare to play 17 games this season, there are a few teams that are preparing for one, against the Chiefs. The target on the Chiefs back has only gotten bigger this off-season as teams have had another year to prepare to shut down Mahomes and company. The Super Bowl debacle has prompted a “Revenge Tour” mantra, but there are a few teams looking for revenge of their own after heartbreaking losses to KC.
Saddled with one of the tougher schedules in the NFL, the Chiefs are in for a battle to remain at the top of the AFC and head to a 3rd consecutive Super Bowl. The Ravens and Bills have had back-to-back seasons nipping at the heels of the Chiefs. At some point, are they going to do just enough to squeeze out a last-second field goal win?
Will the Chiefs repeat some of those sleep-walking, no offensive quarters from last season? The Chiefs were playing with fire with several close wins in games in which they played down to their opponents, the 2021 season will not afford them wins when they supposedly become bored. This season, that attitude will cost them against teams who spent their off-season building rosters with the Chiefs in mind.
The first two teams who are seeking retribution this season would be the Browns and Bills. Both teams will be looking to avenge playoff losses to the Chiefs. Cleveland had it all laid out for them, a perfect script to move on to the AFC Championship Game. The feel-good story was writing itself, the dragon was ripe to be slain. A team who was kicked around at the bottom of the NFL for what seemed like an eternity was about to take a big step to undeniable respectability. Mahomes on the sideline, Baker Mayfield ready to write his name in Cleveland lore.
Alas, the legend on that day would be an unlikely hero named Chad Henne and that must still really sting. A Browns victory week one would serve to ease that sting a bit and give a Cleveland team some confidence heading into the season. They will be coming into Arrowhead looking for an upset to ease an off-season replaying those Chad Henne heroics that ushered him into a Chiefs historical moment highlight reel.
The Bills would be next on our list of those teams screaming for vengeance. Although, Buffalo has the extra grudge of exiting the playoffs via the Chiefs just one game away from the Super Bowl. Remember how we all felt about the Patriots after the overtime loss?
As Chiefs fans, we can all relate to being so close to a Super Bowl appearance only to have it ripped away. In week 5 Buffalo will return to the scene of a less than admirable outing in the AFC Championship game last season. Again, the Chiefs will face another team looking to vanquish the class of their conference and prove themselves worthy of being the new top dog in the AFC.
A full Arrowhead Stadium should serve as an advantage to the Chiefs in these first two match-ups on our list, but the Chiefs better be prepared to handle all these teams can throw at them in an effort to unseat the kings and steal their AFC crown.
The third team on our list will be a road game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have not posted a victory against the Chiefs since a 9-6 win at Arrowhead in 2012. Baltimore gave the Chiefs all they could handle in ’18 and ’19 sending the game to overtime and losing by five, respectively.
However, last season’s two touchdown loss in a game that was billed as a battle of two AFC heavyweights left many questioning Lamar’s abilities. The Ravens responded with three consecutive wins, which has to give Baltimore extra motivation to prove themselves against the Chiefs at M&T Bank Stadium week 2.
The Chiefs have been living rent-free in Lamar Jackson’s head, the Ravens want nothing more to exercise that demon and will have former Chiefs Sammy Watkins to help. If he plays 17 games I will be really pissed.
Honorable mention: The Los Angeles Chargers are desperate to return to relevance in the AFC West and prove themselves worthy of their yearly preseason prediction of AFC West Champs. Has any team been derailed more by injuries in the last two seasons? Regardless, last season has given them a reason to be confident that they could give the Chiefs a run in the AFC West.
A slow start or taking the 3rd quarter off in a division game will eventually lead to a loss, the Chiefs should not be caught off guard by the Chargers young QB this season. Justin Herbert will have the full off-season to prepare for his starting role and unless they meet the same fate with a slew of injuries, this team will have the confidence to step in the ring against Mahomes and give them two good division games. The Chargers will be a hungry team looking to capitalize on any Chiefs mistakes that could open the door to their long-missing AFC West Championship.
All of the teams on their own “Vengeance Tours” against the team looking for revenge will meet the Chiefs in the first 5 weeks of the 2021 season. Not unlike last season, when the Chiefs were defending Super Bowl Champions, teams will be trying everything they can from every corner of the playbook in an effort to hand KC the upset loss.
With a tough slate of games against teams with this extra motivation early on the schedule, breaking camp healthy and ready to start the season will be critical. A fast start early in the season is paramount if the Chiefs are seeking another #1 seed in the AFC come January.
The revamped and heralded offensive line will not have the luxury of gelling the first few weeks of the regular season and will not have as many pre-season games to become a cohesive unit either. This will be the most important training camp the Chiefs will have had in a long time, with the sting of the Super Bowl still fresh in their minds, let’s hope they are ready to exact their revenge and escape the vengeance of others.