Expectations for a dazzling encore to last season do not seem to faze the Kansas City Chiefs.
Nor does the overtime loss in the AFC Championship Game, where the New England Patriots won the coin toss, scored a touchdown and kept the NFL's MVP, Patrick Mahomes, from touching the football in the extra frame.
"There's no hangover from that. Every year is a different year in this league," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
If different is eventually defined as more explosive for Kansas City, it should again contend for a berth in the Super Bowl, a game the Chiefs last played in 50 seasons ago when they downed the Minnesota Vikings.
That quest begins Sunday when Kansas City visits Jacksonville. The Jaguars could present a stiff defensive challenge after adding rookie Josh Allen as an edge rusher to add to a talented defensive front.
Nonetheless, Mahomes, who begins his second year as a starter, is surrounded by his favorite targets in tight end Travis Kelce (103 receptions for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns) and wide receiver Tyreek Hill (87 for 1,479 and 12 scores).
The Chiefs, who reported no new injuries going into the opener, boosted their offensive talent with the acquisition of LeSean McCoy after the veteran running back was recently released by the Buffalo Bills.
McCoy could play sparingly against the Jaguars, however, so he is not put in a "bad spot," Reid said. That leaves Damien Williams to get the bulk of the carries after the journeyman excelled late last season as both a rusher and receiver.
"At every single position, I feel like we're three to four deep," said Mahomes.
Except quarterback, of course, where Matt Moore was signed as a backup after it was determined Chad Henne needed ankle surgery.
During Mahomes' record-setting debut as a starter, the No. 10 overall selection in the 2017 draft joined Peyton Manning (2013) as the only players in NFL history to pass for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season.
"Some of the things that went on were historical things," said Reid, "but some great defensive coordinators in this league have had an opportunity to study him this offseason. That's where the challenge comes in."
Some adjustments surfaced when the Chiefs split their last six games last season but still earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
In addition to preparing for the NFL's most productive offense of a year ago, the Jaguars are confronted with other issues. Hurricane Dorian curtailed their practice schedule and obviously disrupted the lives of everyone in the Jacksonville area. Temperatures in the 90s are expected during the game on Sunday.
"There's been a lot of discussions about a lot of different things," Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. "The priority was to make sure everyone is safe and has a plan, and once we know that everyone is safe and has a plan with what they're doing, then I think we just take things as they come."
Nick Foles left Philadelphia and takes over as the Jacksonville quarterback. He is dealing with oblique soreness but is expected to play.
An unproven receiving corps could prompt the Jaguars to rely on running back Leonard Fournette, especially to limit opportunities for Kansas City's potent attack. A year ago, Jacksonville lost 10 of its last 12, finishing 5-11 after reaching the AFC Championship Game during its 2017 run.
--Field Level Media