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Chiefs have pieces in place to defend Super Bowl title

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) runs with teammates during an NFL football training camp Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) runs with teammates during an NFL football training camp Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo.(Charlie Riedel | AP Photo)
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 3:50 PM CDT
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After winning first Super Bowl in 50 years last season, the Kansas City Chiefs hope to make it a short wait for a third title in franchise history. They returned 20 of 22 starters before offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and running back Damien Williams opted out. Those two positions happen to be the deepest on the roster. All of that, combined with the return of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, has confidence running high in Kansas City.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (15-4)

New faces: DE Taco Charlton, CB Antonio Hamilton, LB Darius Harris, P Tyler Newsome, OG Kelechi Osemele, OT Mike Remmers, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, FS Tedric Thompson, RB DeAndre Washington.

Key losses: TE Blake Bell, CBs Kendall Fuller and Morris Claiborne, RBs LeSean McCoy and Spencer Ware, LBs Darron Lee and Reggie Ragland, DEs Emmanuel Ogbah and Terrell Suggs, DT Xavier Williams, FS Jordan Lucas, OG Stefen Wisniewski, P Dustin Colquitt.

Strengths: Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, armed with 10-year contract extension, leads one of NFL’s most dynamic offenses. He returns plenty of weapons in TE Travis Kelce and WRs Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, but Chiefs also used first-round draft pick on RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opted out due to COVID-19 and Wisniewski left in free agency, but Chiefs have depth to replace them along offensive line.

Weaknesses: Defensive backfield has been question mark for Chiefs for years. SS Tyrann Mathieu is elite playmaker and FS Juan Thornhill should return after excellent rookie season was cut short by ACL injury. But CB depth is untested after losing Fuller to free agency and with Bashaud Breeland facing potential suspension for start of season. Thompson and rookie DBs L’Jarius Sneed and Bopete Keyes could be pressed into service early.

Pandemic Development: Chiefs were set to return 20 of 22 starters from Super Bowl championship team, and that meant missing summer workouts probably affected them less than other teams. Duvernay-Tardif opted out along with rookie OL Lucas Niang and Damien Williams, but Chiefs are deep at those positions.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Just about anybody on offense with the ball in hands. Mahomes should push Ravens QB Lamar Jackson for best numbers at his position, and Hill and Kelce should be among top receivers in fantasy football. Keep eye on Edwards-Helaire, who should get heavy load as rookie.

Vegas Says: Win Super Bowl: 6-1. Over/under wins: 11 1/2.

Expectations: After winning first Super Bowl in 50 years last season, Chiefs hope to make it short wait for third title in franchise history. All returning pieces combined with Edwards-Helaire and free-agent acquisitions mean Kansas City could have deeper and more talented roster than championship bunch. Mahomes must stay healthy and avoid any regression after signing 10-year extension that could pay him close to half-billion dollars, and playmakers around him also must stay on field. But with defense that should be improved in Year 2 of coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system, confidence is high that Chiefs can defend their championship.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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