NFL 2018 power rankings countdown No. 16: Kansas City Chiefs

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 31: Running back Kareem Hunt #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs breaks away for a first quarter touchdown run against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 31, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 31: Running back Kareem Hunt #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs breaks away for a first quarter touchdown run against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 31, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

A preview of the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the 2018 season.

Check back every day for a new 2018 team preview in this year’s NFL power rankings countdown.

Today’s team is the Kansas City Chiefs.

16. Kansas City Chiefs

Keegan’s highest rated player: Travis Kelce, tight end and Eric Berry, safety

Biggest strength: Backfield

Biggest weakness: Left guard

Best offseason move: Signing Sammy Watkins

Worst offseason move: Not improving at left guard

Game to circle on calendar: Week 4, at Denver

Breakout candidate: Byron Pringle, wide receiver/returner

Key players in contract years: Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware, Anthony Sherman, Chris Conley, Demetrius Harris, Cameron Erving, Mitch Morse, Allen Bailey, Dee Ford, Steven Nelson, David Amerson, Keith Reaser, Harrison Butker

Offensive preview

The change at quarterback from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes will be huge. Smith is more of a short-yardage and conservative thrower, while Mahomes is a gunslinger. The Chiefs’ offense will have more turnovers this season with Mahomes at the helm, but at the same time there will be more big-play potential.

A big question mark with this offense is what version of Kareem Hunt will we get? Hunt was football’s Jekyll and Hyde last season. If you only watched Hunt over the first few games last year, you would see an All-Pro caliber player, but if you watched him in the middle part of the season he looked like a backup running back.

Luckily for this Chiefs team, they are deep at running back, even if Hunt struggles. They also have a good fullback to turn to with Anthony Sherman.

The Chiefs’ receiving corps is improved thanks to the Sammy Watkins signing. Don’t be surprised if you see bigger plays from Tyreek Hill as well. Hill was already a big-play receiver, and could improve in this area with Patrick Mahomes slinging the ball to him. The Chiefs also have a top-three tight end in Travis Kelce. This receiving corps warrants more attention headed into the season.

Mitchell Schwartz is the only stellar player on the offensive line, but it is still well-rounded. The offensive tackles are sneaky good, and the Chiefs also have two good interior linemen with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Mitch Morse. The only problem with this offensive line lies at left guard, which is a position with an uncertain future.

Defensive preview

This Chiefs’ front seven is strong, but not what it once was. The leader will be Justin Houston, who is still an intimidating presence for opposing offensive lines. The defensive line will be a bit more of a question mark, it hasn’t been the same since Dontari Poe left.

Dee Ford and Houston will make for a great pass-rushing tandem.

Anthony Hitchens is a decent starter, but it may take time for him to adjust to a new team. The other starting linebacker is Reggie Ragland, who is strong in run support but useless against the pass. The lack of talent at linebacker could pose some problems in their division.

The Chiefs’ secondary will benefit from having Eric Berry back, but they also traded away star cornerback Marcus Peters this offseason. Granted, Peters’ personality was concerning, and having new blood in this locker room could reenergize this secondary. Kendall Fuller will be a nice addition, but the Chiefs won’t be as strong at cornerback this season.

Berry and Leon McQuay III should make for a decent safety tandem this season. Berry, when healthy, is a top-three safety, and this position group has a lot of established veterans.

Coaching staff/front office preview

Anthony Reid is one of the best football coaches in the NFL, and his experience will greatly benefit Patrick Mahomes this season. Andy Reid turned this team around (with a little help from John Dorsey), and I don’t know where this franchise would be without him.

It’s not fair to have a huge opinion on GM Brett Veach at this point. Veach’s first draft class has some players I like in it, but it’s way too early to know how they will perform in the NFL. The one opinion I will give here is that the Chiefs’ decision to fire John Dorsey was absurd.

Overall outlook for 2018

There are a few reasons to like this Chiefs team this season, but you have to remember that Patrick Mahomes is basically a rookie when it comes to in-game experience. This team’s ceiling is an early playoff exit.

Next. Packers 53-man roster predictions. dark

Previous teams:

17. Seattle Seahawks
18. New York Giants
19. San Francisco 49ers
20. Indianapolis Colts
21. Detroit Lions
22. Arizona Cardinals
23. Chicago Bears
24. Oakland Raiders
25. Baltimore Ravens
26. Washington Redskins
27. Cleveland Browns
28. Buffalo Bills
29. New York Jets
30. Cincinnati Bengals
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers