Season Predictions: Slight chance the Chiefs will make it to AFC Championship Game

Well, football season is rapidly coming upon us. It’s funny how it seems to creep up on us when the Kansas City Royals are competing towards the goal of making the post-season. With that being said, we all know what time it is – BLT time. Yes, my annual football branches, limbs and twigs predictions for the KC Chiefs.

I didn’t do too bad last year, but 2017 may be a bit more difficult to break down the season for our Chiefs – but here it goes:

BRANCHES: Solid predictions that I feel have a better than 75 percent chance.

1. No Chiefs running back will amass more than 1,000 yards in 2017. Spencer Ware accumulated 921 yards last year, but he will out for the season after a knee injury in the third exhibition game. Rookie Kareem Hunt will start in Ware’s absence. Charcandrick West will get his share of carries. Coach Andy Reid may go with the hot hand during the season or parcel out the carries to several backs, but the loss of Ware hurts. Look for KC to run for more than 1,500 yards this year without a 1,000-yard rusher unless Hunt emerges as a real threat.

2. Pat Mahomes will not start unless Alex Smith has an injury. Some of us want to start the rookie Mahomes now, but that won’t happen. Reid will stick with No. 11 this year. Many feel Mahomes is ready to hit the ground running (or should I say passing), but he will have to watch, wait and learn from Smith this year.

3. Our defense will once again be in the top five in turnovers and the team in the top five in turnover ratio. The Chiefs led in interceptions and fumble recoveries last year and look for much of the same this year.

4. We will finish above .500. Las Vegas has 9 to 9.5 wins as the over/under. Once again Kansas City does not get the respect that it should. Last year I played the over. It is time to put some chips on the Chiefs over in 2017 as well.

LIMBS: 50 percent or less chance.

1. Tyreek Hill will have more than 1,000 yards receiving. Hill caught 61 passes for 593 yards as a rookie and I look for him to be the man this year. Look for the Jeremy Maclin release to make Hill a major target for Smith. Double-digit TDs receptions could be in the forecast as well.

2. Travis Kelce will also hit quadruple digits in receiving yards. Last year, he had 85 receptions for 1,125 yards and I see him repeating once again. Barring any injury, Kelce will be a 2017 top tier tight end.

3. Obviously if 1 & 2 come true, this one should too: Alex Smith will have another career year. Last year I predicted this and he arguably had one of his better seasons with more than 3,500 yards through the air. This year he will set highs for passing yardage and touchdowns thrown. Look for 3,600-yards and 25+ touchdowns.

4. The Chiefs will make the playoffs again. Despite having one of the toughest schedules this year, Kansas City looks to have what it takes to make it to the post-season. I like their chances this year.

TWIGS: A slight chance to come true.

1. Marcus Peters will haul in 10 or more interceptions this year. The standout defensive back has 14 career picks in his first two seasons and I look for him to step it up this year. I missed this last year, but I feel it happening in 2017.

2. Justin Houston will sack opposing quarterbacks 15 or more times this year. We are a few years removed from his 22 sack-attack in 2014. With Derrick Johnson coming back and our defense set, look for Houston to cause problems for the opposition this year.

3. Look for a 10-6 record. I’ve seen this prediction all over the place when you look at the “experts.” I see road losses to New England, Houston and Dallas, all division winners last year. The Pittsburgh Steelers come to Arrowhead and that may be tough too. The Raiders are strong, yet we tend to have their number, but they are a trendy pick to win the division. I think 10 wins will be an accomplishment with their rugged schedule.

4. The Chiefs make it to the AFC Championship Game. I may be climbing beyond a twig on this one. We all know history tells us that this is a long-shot, but why not? The Chiefs are long overdue to go farther in the post-season. Even if we don’t win the division, I see playoff victories in our future this year.

Well, there you have it – my picks are in.

For some reason my crystal ball became cloudy and didn’t show me the outcome of the AFC Championship game, but maybe it’s going to be a pleasant surprise for Kansas City fans ending in the Super Bowl.

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Article by James “JP” Peuster. JP can be reached at jpegsports.com. Listen to JPEG Sports 24/7 at jpegsports.com or on Wednesdays 3 to 4 p.m. on ESPN 1510 AM and 99.3 FM on the radio dial.

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