Even though they had maybe the best offense in the league in 2018, the
Chiefs will no doubt struggle next season. They just jettisoned two of the best pass rushers (
Dee Ford and Justin Houston) from an already-subpar defense. Not only that, Kansas City will enter the 2019 campaign with crazy-high expectations -- and I know, from my years with the
Colts, how much of a challenge that kind of hype presents. It's hard to duplicate a season like the one the
Chiefs just had. There's a lot more room to fall than there is to climb.
I have to take the
Baltimore Ravens. The defense, which ranked first in yards allowed and second in points yielded, lost four major players in
Za'Darius Smith and
Eric Weddle. Weddle was the quarterback of the unit; Suggs brought leadership and dominance, even in his 16th season; Smith led Baltimore with 8.5 sacks; and Mosley will no doubt be the toughest defender to replace.
Earl Thomas is a good addition at safety, but without a top-tier D, the
Ravens' offense won't be able to consistently outscore opponents.
The main reason why the
Houston Texans didn't make it far in the postseason was because of their porous offensive line. They have yet to make any
notable improvements to a group that gave up a league-high 62 sacks. The
Texans haven't done nearly enough to address this crucial issue -- and even if they load up in April's draft, the unit could still prove problematic.
We have to remember that rosters will change immensely in the draft, and the possible salary-cap cut could happen. But at this point, I would say Baltimore. The
Ravens need to rebuild their receiver corps after the departures of
John Brown and
Michael Crabtree. On defense, they also lost
C.J. Mosley and
Za'Darius Smith in free agency. The hope is that between
Tyus Bowser and the draft, Baltimore can rebuild the pass rush.
Two bigger factors to consider:
**1)** The improvements the
[Cleveland Browns](/teams/clevelandbrowns/profile?team=CLE) made in the offseason to put them in position to make the playoffs in 2019.
**2)** How will the offense evolve with
[Lamar Jackson](https://www.nfl.com/prospects/lamar-jackson?id=32462018-0002-5600-53b1-0f1a50e94b24)? Defenses -- specifically the
[Chargers](/teams/losangeleschargers/profile?team=LAC), who beat Baltimore in the Wild Card Round -- found a way to control the
[Ravens](/teams/baltimoreravens/profile?team=BAL)' offense with Jackson at the helm. The offense will have to change, and Jackson must improve, for the
[Ravens](/teams/baltimoreravens/profile?team=BAL) to make the playoffs next season.
There are so many questions surrounding the
Chiefs. After exits by
Dee Ford and
Justin Houston, how are they going to rebuild the pass rush? How will they replace
Kareem Hunt's backfield production? What will
Tyreek Hill's status be come Week 1? I'm just not sure what the
Chiefs will be.
Still, regardless of K.C.'s flaws, you can bet that I'll tune in every week to watch