The Kansas City Chiefs will be facing off against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field this Saturday at 12:00 CST. With a tumultuous offseason and plenty of roster changes, what should Chiefs fans expect in the first preseason game?
The Chiefs are gearing up to face the Chicago Bears this Saturday at Soldier Field in their first football game since the loss in the AFC Championship game against the Bengals. There are many questions surrounding this Kansas City Chiefs after losing Tyreek Hill, the most explosive wide receiver in the NFL, and also losing defensive captain Tyrann Mathieu. Even though the Chiefs lost those key players, they followed the mantra of “younger and cheaper,” the Chiefs picked up multiple talented players to replace the veterans they lost. As the Chiefs head to Chicago, there are no players on the injury report and the starters are expected to play the entire first quarter. So what will the Chiefs look like with all of the new players on both sides of the ball?
Patrick Mahomes is entering his fifth season as the signal caller of the Chiefs and will be looking to get back to another Super Bowl, but he is coming into this season without a designated number one receiver for the first time. Juju Smith-Schuster has been one of the standouts in camp so far and is looking to get back to the old JuJu who was in Pittsburgh years ago. Juju is also finally fully healthy and is coming into a great situation in Kansas City. Juju will be looking to make himself one of the best receivers in the division, and the preseason games are great to get him comfortable with Mahomes. Another pass-catcher who might need some time to acclimate is Marquez Valdez-Scantling, after leaving Green Bay, he’s coming into Kansas City with a chip on his shoulder. MVS is going to be fun to watch in this offense and look for him to get some big catches. The Bears have always had a tough defense no matter what year, but Mahomes and the offense are ready to put the league back on notice.
There have been a lot of questions surrounding the defense, especially after the Chiefs’ defense struggled throughout the season and lost Tyrann Mathieu and Melvin Ingram in the offseason. The Chiefs went out and signed free agent safety Justin Reid from the Houston Texans and he will try to become a leader on the defensive side of the ball. Since the Chiefs also lost starting corner Charvarius Ward, the Chiefs went out and drafted Trent McDuffie the former All-PAC 12 cornerback. McDuffie has been a stud in camp, he has had great reps against Mecole Hardman, JuJu, and Skyy Moore in one-on-ones making plays on the ball. The rookie will be getting his first NFL action this Saturday against the Bears and Steve Spagnuolo will be able to see how McDuffie has adjusted to the speed of the NFL.
Another key change in the defense is that Nick Bolton is now the defensive captain and will be giving out the defensive signals for Kansas City. After having an impressive rookie campaign even with the limited reps early in the season, the Chiefs had enough faith in him to let go of veteran linebacker Anthony Hitchens. Bolton is a heavy hitter and has been very active in camp, making big plays with his physicality and his smarts. Bolton has been very key to making plays on the ball and moving the defense into positions to slow down the offense. Bolton and Willie Gay have been standouts on the defensive side and it will be fun to see them run the defense on Saturday.
Although it is a preseason game, it is great to see football back and ready to see if the Chiefs can make it to their third Super Bowl in five years. The game will be where we can see what we have with the young guys like Karlaftis and Chenal, and also a training camp star, running back Isiah Pacheco. Offensively, the Chiefs may be more conservative, playing the intermediate game and building trust between the wide receivers and Mahomes. The running backs should see a lot of short passes and screens this game, using their speed and elusiveness to get to the second level. It should be fun to see how they fair behind the best offensive line in the NFL.
Here is my official prediction; the offense will be more impressive than what people will expect, they will have two good possessions and get the starters out earlier than expected. Defensively we will see a lot of flashes of what to expect with the new front four, it should be really fun to see what Karlaftis looks like on the line. Even though it doesn’t matter, it’s going to be an important game for building confidence and the final score will be 23-7 Chiefs.