The Kansas City Chiefs begin their 53rd season tomorrow afternoon with a trip to Phoenix to face the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:25 PM ET.
It’s the first meeting between the two squads since a Week 10 matchup in 2018 where Kansas City won 26-14 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs are 6.5 points favorites and have a 57% chance of victory, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.
Team Rankings: Chiefs Might Struggle
Kansas City holds the NFL’s 3rd-best offense heading into the game along with the league’s 4th best passing and scoring offense. They are exactly in the middle of the rankings for rushing offense. On the other side of the ball, Kansas City still needs some work- they have the 27th best overall defense in the NFL along with the 27th best pass defense. They do at least have the NFL’s 8th best scoring defense.
Arizona’s overall offensive ranking is towards the rear of the top 10 at 8th. The Cards have the NFL’s 10th best rushing and passing offense while they are 11th on scoring offense. Arizona’s defense is also much better than KC’s- 11th overall, 7th in passing, tied for 11th in scoring, and an outlier of 20th in rush defense.
Players To Watch: Banged Up Cardinals
For Kansas City, watch rookie DE George Karlaftis. He should help Kansas City bolster its overall defense, as the Chiefs were ranked 29th in total sacks during the 2021 season. It will also be interesting to see the debut of Kansas City’s new receiver corps of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marques Valdes-Scantling, two free agents WRs Kansas City snagged from the Steelers and the Packers respectively. Add them to the talents of Mecole Hardman plus rookie Skyy Moore, and it might be a Chiefs offense that doesn’t look any different even with Tyreek Hill gone. The Chiefs’ run game will have Clyde-Edwards Helaire and Jerick McKinnon, as it was. And one more thing- Mahomes and Kelce. That’s all.
Arizona has of course Kyler Murray at the starting QB position with preseason starter Trace McSorely in 2nd. RB James Conner and WRs Marquise “Hollywood Brown plus veteran AJ Green make up the remainder of the Cardinals’ offensive attack. However, Arizona is missing one key receiver in Rondale Moore- out with a hamstring pull. Rookie Andre Baccellia from Washington will fill in. Arizona is also shaky at TE- Zach Ertz remains questionable for Sunday. If he’s unavailable, rookie Trey McBride from Colorado State will start. Arizona also has two corners on the ropes- Trayvon Mullen is out with an injured toe while Byron Murphy is questionable with an illness. Veteran DE JJ Watt is also questionable with a calf injury. So in short, Arizona’s not looking too hot for tomorrow’s game. Ironic that they’re in Arizona with the gametime temp projected to be in the lower 90s.
Prediction: A Comfortable KC Victory
Kansas City may face a bit of a challenge with the Cardinals, but they still hold a 57% to 42% advantage in a chance of victory.
Chiefs 34, Cardinals 20
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