The Kansas City Chiefs will be traveling to Arizona Sunday afternoon to face off against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. What should we expect in this Week One matchup against the Cardinals?
The Kansas City Chiefs are getting to face off against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday afternoon at 4:25 EST on CBS. The Chiefs are favored to win this matchup by a spread of 6.5 points on the road against Murray and the Cardinals. The injury report for the Chiefs is clear as they are expected to have everyone healthy for the week one matchup.
Defensive End Frank Clark was the only consistent player on the injury report for Kansas City this week. Clark has been dealing with an illness and dehydration complications that resulted from having Covid after the last preseason game against the Packers.
Arizona on the other hand has a few guys listed out. Wide Receiver Rondale Moore, Cornerback Trayvon Mullen, and Guard Cody Ford are all out with injuries. Also, Deandre Hopkins will be unavailable for this or the next five games due to a suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.
With the stage set, what should we expect from the offense and defense in their first regular season action of the 2022-2023 season?
After having a perfect preseason scoring every drive they have started, the offense is going into this game with confidence and looking to show they have not lost a beat. JuJu Smith-Schuster only played one drive this preseason, but has been a full participant in practice this week, and is ready to go out there and prove he is the number one receiver for this dynamic offense.
After dealing with injuries the past years, Reid and the coaching staff have been cautious with JuJu and he looked ready to step foot on the field for the season opener. Mahomes and Kelce, the veterans on the offense, are still leading the way and they looked like they haven’t missed a beat during the preseason.
A key matchup to watch out for in this game is Cardinals Safety Buddha Baker lining up against Travis Kelce throughout the entire game. Kelce is one of the best in the game and will go against Baker who is one of the most versatile defensive backs in the game. Kelce has handled tough safeties and defensive backs before and has handled them easily, the Cardinals will need to have Baker on Kelce otherwise it will be a rough day for the Cards.
Running back will be by committee, mostly between Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon, however, on those short down and distances expect the veteran Ronald Jones to get the boatload of carries. The Chiefs will also use Isiah Pacheco in certain situations, but it seems like he will be involved in special teams more than the offense to begin the season.
This offense will look different than last year, they won’t have the long explosive plays they had last season, but they will still be a machine. It helps to have Patrick Mahomes throwing the rock around, watch for this offense to be dangerous and methodical.
The starting defense also had a perfect preseason, they didn’t allow a touchdown on any drives during exhibition play. Rookie George Karlaftis had a marvelous preseason getting a couple of sacks and looking like the guy who will eventually become a starting defensive end. The front seven has been revamped with the new faces and the new captains of the defense, Nick Bolton and Chris Jones, the defensive front should be better than last season.
The front seven needs to be better because they are going up against the elusive Kyler Murray. He will be moving the pocket and using his feet a lot to try to extend drives and create separation for his wideouts, so the defensive line needs to be able to contain him.
Frank Clark and Mike Danna are going to be starting at the defensive end spots, expect them to try to get home on pass rush situations. With DeAndre Hopkins out, rookie defensive back Trent McDuffie will not have as much of a load to worry about, however, Arizona still has AJ Green who might have some juice left in the tank. McDuffie has been playing well and look for him to get a couple of pass deflections.
With new starting safety Justin Reid leading the way, and Juan Thornhill playing alongside the former Texan, the defensive back group should be able to cause havoc on the opposing wideouts. Rashad Fenton is ready to go Sunday after dealing with injuries this offseason.
The inexperience of this young defense will show and possibly hurt the Chiefs in this game, however, the athleticism on all three levels will help them keep up with Murray, Green, Ertz, and Connor. The speed and aggression they play with on each down will make it a long day for the Cardinals.
The Chiefs are looking to leave Arizona with a win to start off the season 1-0. They will have a short week because they host the divisional rivals Los Angeles Chargers on the first ever Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime. Mahomes and company are looking to go out on Sunday and gel as soon as possible as they have a long season ahead.
It is a totally new look for the Chiefs on both sides of the ball, however, the culture of winning is still embedded in this franchise and they are ready to go out and try to reach their third Super Bowl in four years.
My prediction for the game is 35-24 Chiefs.