Continuing our series of offseason opponent breakdowns following the 2022 schedule release, theRams.com examines Los Angeles' Week 12 road opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs (Nov. 27, 1:25 p.m. PT, FOX).
Early-season struggles produced a 3-4 record, but it wasn't for a lack of scoring for the Chiefs in most of those games. They produced 30 or more points in four of those first six contests, but their defense also gave up 30 or more the same number of times during that span. In the seventh game of that stretch, Kansas City managed just a field goal in a 27-3 blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Whatever ailed the Chiefs in that loss to the Titans and those first seven weeks overall was seemingly addressed, as they mounted an impressive eight-game win streak; in fact, they went 9-1 overall the rest of the season to finish 12-5 and earn the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff picture.
That momentum carried over into the postseason with a 42-21 win over the Steelers in the Wild Card Round, then a thrilling 42-36 overtime win over the Bills in the Divisional Round. However, the Chiefs' playoff run would also end in dramatic fashion the following week, falling to the Bengals 27-24 in overtime on rookie kicker Evan McPherson's game-winning, 31-yard field goal.
In an offseason that lacked no shortage of drama over its first 30 days, the Chiefs' contribution was trading star wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins for five draft picks, including the No. 29 overall pick in this year's draft.
Though it lost Hill, Kansas City still made sure to reload the passing attack with plenty of targets for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, signing former Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to a one-year deal and former Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to a three-year deal. In the draft, they selected Central Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore in the second round (No. 54 overall).
Andy Reid enters his 10th season as head coach of the Chiefs, compiling a 103-42 regular season record and 9-7 playoff record through his first nine seasons. Kansas City won Super Bowl LIV in Reid's seventh season and has also won two AFC Championships, with three AFC Championship appearances over the last three seasons.
What to watch for
Rams secondary vs. (somewhat) new look Chiefs passing attack
Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce – who has notched six-straight 1,000-yard seasons – are still in the fold, but beyond them, this will likely be a much different passing attack than the one they faced in 2018 given the turnover at wide receiver.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Hill's speed not only made him a downfield threat to take the top off of opposing secondaries, but also a receiver who could do damage underneath and after the catch. However, after trading Hill, the Chiefs went out and signed three players who are both big and fast in the 6-1, 215 Schuster and the 6-4, 206 Valdes-Scantling – perhaps signaling a shift to a more hybrid approach.
Hill's departure will vacate 159 of the team's 637 passing targets from the 2021 season. Will one of those new additions step up and command the majority of those opportunities, or will it be spread evenly? Either way, for the Rams secondary, it's going to be a fascinating late-season challenge, especially when it comes to figuring out the best way to deploy defensive back Jalen Ramsey and the rest of the secondary, depending on how that hybrid philosophy expresses itself by Week 12.