The most opposed pass rush groups on the 2022 Chiefs schedule
Winning NFL games can be determined by a few different factors. One of the most prevalent, especially in today’s happy passing league, is matchups. Who will come out on top in head-to-head battles when the Xs and O’s go head-to-head?
When looking at the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2022 schedule, there are plenty of exciting opponents on the roster. Some star players have been dominating as veterans for quite some time. While in recent seasons some young players have stepped in and taken off early in their professional careers.
Last week, we listed the toughest opposing running backs on the Chiefs’ schedule. You can read it here. We’ve also looked at the toughest opposition pass-catching groups. To read this article, click here. Finally, we will also individually rank opposing quarterbacks on the Kansas City schedule.
Today, we’ll be looking at opposing defenses on the Chiefs’ roster of games. What are the toughest opposing passing groups Kansas City will face in 2022? Patrick Mahomes enjoyed a much stronger offensive line last season. Can they handle testing these teams? Here are the top five passing rush groups on the 2022 Chiefs schedule.
5) Los Angeles Rams
Much of the Los Angeles Rams capable of cracking that top five is carried by Aaron Donald’s massive weight. One of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, Donald was recently rewarded with a deserved pay raise. He’s been on a blistering pace sack-wise since entering the league in 2014. The Pitt Panthers product has racked up at least eight sacks every season of his career. And for the past five years, Donald has recorded at least 11 sacks every season. His 98 career sacks over eight years are great for any player. Still, the fact that he produces so consistently from the defensive tackle position, and not the defensive end, makes him all the more impressive. Its ability to crash and push the pocket from the inside is rare.
However, there isn’t much depth outside of Donald. Thus, the Rams couldn’t climb higher on this list. Most notable of Los Angeles’ other passers? That would be Leonard Floyd. After a tough run in Chicago, he really found a niche role within the Rams defense. Used primarily on wide lineouts and wide angles, Floyd tapped into his quickness when rushing the passer. With a steady output of other depth options, the Rams may be one of the most stingy passing rushes for opposing offenses to contend with. This includes seeing the results of secondary plays like A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines, Justin Hollins or Terrell Lewis.
4) San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are a passing rush that uses multiple blitz packages and lineups to eliminate offenses. Their mix of speed and power is not common in every NFL rush. Although some faces have changed throughout their build, this defensive line is still quite deep. And, the best pass rush leaders are capable of exploding for monster numbers at all times.
The leading duo of Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead are the most reliable. Not only have they proven themselves time and time again, but the 49ers have not been shy about giving them freedom in specific games. If they think they have a chance to cut toe angles faster by cutting the inside, Bosa or Armstead will gladly take it.
The depth of this group is also quite strong. Javon Kinlaw hopes for better health, like others. Still, for Kinlaw, he has the lateral agility and foot quickness to consistently win as a 1-tech. Apart from that, names like Kemoko Turay, Kerry Hyder, Maurice Hurst, Jordan Willis and Charles Omenihu are all above average rotation plays. San Francisco relies primarily on Samson Ebukam from the LEO spot. Its length and short burst zone allow it to establish a firm edge. Meanwhile, the 49ers are also not shy about letting their linebackers receive blitz opportunities. There are often too many blocking assignments for the offense to handle.
3) Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers already had a top flight rusher entering the 2022 offseason, Joey Bosa. All of a sudden, LA came out and traded for star Khalil Mack, while giving up virtually nothing to the Bears. Frankly, the Chargers may have brought a more complete passing thrower to Mack, compared to Bosa. Nevertheless, Bosa is undoubtedly a versatile chess piece for the Chargers. With just these two alone, Los Angeles can win many outside battles in the trenches.
The rest of the passing rush boasts solid strength and superb instincts. Projected defensive tackles Jerry Tillery and Sebastian Joseph-Day can both squeeze through tight areas and win with a nasty first pitch. For one of those players, Tillery, this is an ultra-important final year of his rookie contract.
Finally, there are a few other depth pieces that can handle the dirty work. They will not always receive the best recognition. But at the same time, the Chargers can be counted on to wear different hats within the defense. This includes names like Austin Johnson, Christian Covington, Breiden Fehoko and Morgan Fox. They can just pull any club out of their bag and win with it, so to speak. It will also be interesting to see what kind of role is in store for newly signed linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
2) Buffalo Notes
Already one of the best rosters in the entire NFL, the Buffalo Bills have somewhat improved their defense in free agency in 2022. Defensive end Von Miller was moved away from the Los Angeles Rams defense and received a new massive Bills contract. Signing a player of this caliber is a bonus for any team. But for a team with expectations like Buffalo, it was a boon to an already dominant defense. To boot, Buffalo didn’t appear to be in the Miller toss.
He joins an extremely powerful and long passing rush group. The Bills have seen rapid developments from top draft picks like Ed Oliver, Gregory Rousseau and AJ Epenesa in recent years. On the other hand, Shaq Lawson is back in town. Buffalo knows they will receive a fierce effort from him as a rotational piece. The rest of the depth is pretty wide for the Bills. With names like DaQuan Jones, Jordan Phillips and Tim Settle, this pass rush has incredible beef right off the bat. Buffalo really involves everyone within this pass rush group. All know their specific roles and have continued to improve.
1) Adventurers of Las Vegas
We go from a team that made an exciting addition to their passing rush in the Bills, to another in the Las Vegas Raiders. Unlike Von Miller’s move, the Raiders added a player who has always been severely underrated in NFL circles. That would be Chandler Jones, who decided to leave the Arizona Cardinals. With its constant production, Vegas now has two very combative edge runners who know how to win one-on-one battles and come home steadily. Opposite Jones, Maxx Crosby was one of the steals in his draft class, coming out of eastern Michigan. He has also just been rewarded with a new contract extension this offseason.
Beyond those two, there were other minor free agent additions that could prove to be good business for the Raiders. Guys like Vernon Butler, Bilal Nichols and Tyler Lancaster can all bring great physicality to the point of attack. Additionally, defensive tackle picks like Matthew Bulter and Neil Farrell Jr. were also strong late-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Be on the lookout for more articles on FPC leaders in the coming days. For more sports and NFL content, stay tuned for full press coverage.