The Kansas City Chiefs‘ 2011 campaign was a major disappointment, after entering the season with big expectations following their surprise 10-6 record in 10-6. However, the Chiefs were plagued with a flurry of devastating injuries and it quickly was realized that another first-place finish was not in the cards.
Early in the season, the Chiefs lost arguably their best offensive player and defensive player due to ACL injuries — Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry, respectively. They also lost rising tight end Tony Moeaki and quarterback Matt Cassell to the injured reserve list. The team is now hoping to rebound.
But what can the Chiefs expect in 2012? If you listen to Sports Illustrated’s Tom Mantzouranis, the Chiefs can expect big things. Mantzouranis wrote:
“This is a very talented team, there’s no doubt about that. That talent alone should get it to the playoffs easily, even in an AFC West that has a reloading Chargers and a Peyton Manning-led Broncos team.
But how far the Chiefs go in the postseason is up to Cassel and Crennel. Both are good enough to not get in the way. But can they be even better? If so, I dare say that the Chiefs have a chance to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.”
Obviously, if the Chiefs would hope to become a serious contender, they would need to prove that their star players are fully healthy and ready to contribute this season. It is crucial for Charles and Berry to be in top form if the team is going to move forward. Cassell will also have to prove that he is just more than an average quarterback. He could be the key to the team’s success.
In the offseason, Kansas City brought in some excellent talent to help the team build on their 2-1 finish in 2011. The team added Peyton Hillis, Kevin Boss, Eric Winston, Stanford Routt and Dontari Poe. All of the players should be contributors this season.
I’m not sold on the Super Bowl contender status for Kansas City, but they should definitely be a playoff team in 2012.