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How the Chiefs have changed heading into the 2018 season

One of the AFC’s better teams has a new quarterback, but expectations are still high.

Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs are, year-after-year, one of the few bright spots in an AFC that boasts only a handful of contenders. They’ve been a model of stability, too, with the Alex Smith-Andy Reid pairing lasting for a long time, especially for the NFL.

Chance comes for everyone, though. The Chiefs decided to move on from Smith and start rocket-armed second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who carries a ton of upside. They still have a deep, loaded roster and should be one of the conference’s better teams yet again, assuming Mahomes doesn’t struggle in his first full season as a starter. They’ve added at least one legitimate weapon who is part of a cult in Sammy Watkins, which should help.

To tell us how the team has changed this offseason and what expectations are, here’s Arrowhead Pride.

How the Chiefs have changed

Notable free agent additions: WR Sammy Watkins, ILB Anthony Hitchens, NT Xavier Williams, CB David Amerson

Over / under: 8.5 wins: Over 8.5. Despite a new quarterback and fresh faces on defense, you can’t bet against Andy Reid here. Reid’s Chiefs (since 2013) have never had less than nine wins in a season, and I expect that trend to continue in 2018 even with a brutal schedule.

Rookie I’m most excited about: Breeland Speaks. The Chiefs didn’t have a first-rounder in 2018 due to the trade a year earlier for Patrick Mahomes, so you have to go with the next best thing, right? That is the Chiefs’ second-rounder, Ole Miss defensive end Breeland Speaks. Speaks will be playing outside linebacker in the Chiefs’ 3-4, and I’m eager to see how much pressure he puts on Dee Ford, who has been underwhelming for the Chiefs since they drafted him with the No. 23 overall pick in 2014.