The NFL season is less than a week from kickoff. With that said, let’s make some bold predictions for the Chiefs’ week one matchup versus the Cardinals.
At long last, the preseason is finally over, and the Chiefs have their first real game in over half a year. While there are no real “easy” games on the schedule, week one against the Cardinals may be one of the easier matchups the Chiefs get. That’s not because the Cardinals aren’t talented either.
Call it what you will, but the Chiefs won’t have to worry about facing one of the best receivers in the NFL next Sunday after Deandre Hopkins was suspended for PEDs for six games. On top of that, the Cardinals seem to have been in a state of dysfunction all offseason after another abysmal second half of the season last year.
With all that being said, the Cardinals are still a team with talented players who can easily give the Chiefs trouble in the opening matchup. So, let’s make some bold predictions for the first official Chiefs game of the season.
Patrick Mahomes First TD Goes To Unexpected Chiefs Receiver
This offseason we saw the Chiefs add Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Justin Watson, and Skyy Moore to the receiver room. The tight end room remains identical to last year, but there is a significant player returning from injury. We got to see a preview in the preseason of what Jody Fortson is capable of.
JODY FORTSON AGAIN! TOUCHDOWN, KANSAS CITY! #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/RsQ3BIJ5Nl — Monarch Media (@MonarchMediaKC) August 20, 2022
That’s why I’m predicting that the first touchdown of the year doesn’t go to any of the new receivers, or even Travis Kelce. Rather, Fortson will bring in the first Chiefs receiving touchdown of the season. It would be a great moment to see an undrafted player who fought his way up the depth chart, and fought through a season-ending injury, come out on top. Before his injury last season Fortson looked like he was on the verge of a breakout, so let’s hope he can pick up right where he left off.
A New Chiefs Wide Receiver One Emerges In Week One
Perhaps this is the least bold prediction of the three, but it seems like throughout the course of the offseason one of the Chiefs’ biggest additions has been forgotten about. After the draft, everyone was focused on Skyy Moore and what he could do for the offense. MVS and Justin Watson stole the preseason with great plays. All while Juju Smith-Schuster patiently watched, waiting for his time in the spotlight.
Smith-Schuster undeniably has the highest ceiling of any receiver currently on the roster, already having a 1,400-yard season under his belt. It all comes down to health, and if Juju can be a reliable target for Patrick Mahomes. If he can, then Juju might just be the steal of the offseason.
So, even though I predicted Fortson to score first, I think Juju gets on the board as well. I’ll predict a stat line of eight receptions for 111 yards, and one touchdown. No one expects Smith-Schuster, or anyone for that matter to replace Tyreek Hill. However, Juju has the capability to be a WR1, and could put himself in the conversation to earn a big paycheck next offseason.
Chiefs Defense Gives Up Massive Play In Their First Test
Overall I have to say I’m higher on the Chiefs’ defense this year than I have been in the past several years. Despite that, I expect some headaches from this defense early on in the year. While the defense is younger, faster, and stronger they are also less experienced. What Tyran Mathieu lost in physical ability he made up for with his instincts and in-game knowledge. While there are still seasoned vets on the defensive line in Chris Jones and Frank Clark, the secondary will be relying on Juan Thornhill and Justin Reid to take on leadership roles.
Steve Spagnuolo’s defenses are infamous for struggling early in the season, only to become elite mid to late season. That can only be amplified this year by throwing in a bunch of rookie and second-year players into the mix. If this defense hits the ground running, then the rest of the league needs to watch out, but I don’t think that’s likely.
So, with my final prediction, I’m going to say that the Cardinals will score a 70+ yard touchdown at some point in this game. Even though they will be missing Deandre Hopkins, the Cardinals do have a set of extremely fast skill players. Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, Andy Isabella, and even Kyler Murray all have the capability of burning the defense and making a big play happen. While I think the defense will hold up well overall, I think there will be at least one lapse that will be exposed for a big play that will have us all yelling at our TVs.
What do you think? Give me your bold prediction for week one down in the comments below.