The Kansas City Chiefs, undeniably the AFC's greatest power in the last four years, face the sternest test of their supremacy going into the 2022 season.
The Tyreek Hill trade leaves quarterback Patrick Mahomes without a key offensive weapon and a couple of important defensive starters were allowed to walk in free agency.
So it will be interesting to see if head coach Andy Reid can keep the offensive juggernaut on track without one of the NFL's most explosive receivers at hand to expand the field.
Opponents thought they had the answer to Mahomes' mercurial abilities at one stage last season, but the Chiefs found a way to help him rediscover his Superman cape for the playoffs.
The quarterback will have to lean on tight end Travis Kelce more than ever this year as Kansas City face easily the hardest schedule in the league based on their opponents' forecasted win totals.
NFL Season 2022/23
All across the U.S.A with three games scheduled for London, one for Munich and one in Mexico City.
8th September 2022 - 12th February 2023
|How to watch:|
The vast majority of games are live and on-demand with NFL Game Pass, while selected games are available via Sky Sports and Sports Live Streaming
BUF Bills +600, TB Buccaneers +700, KC Chiefs +1000, LA Rams +1000, GB Packers +1200
1st AFC West (12-5)
Chiefs Kingdom will be hoping their star-studded roster can earn the right to host a historic fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead and book their return to the Super Bowl in February.
The Chiefs are +500 to win the conference title, whether in front of their own fans or not, and +1000 to clinch a third Super Bowl this season.
Defending the AFC West won't be straightforward at all after all of their rivals strengthened in the offseason with the +225 Los Angeles Chargers rated as the closest challengers to the Chiefs' hegemony.
The Chiefs start their season in the desert with a game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Kansas City, -110 -3.0 on the Spread, is favoured to win at State Farm Stadium, which will also host Super Bowl LVII on 12th February, 2023.
The Chiefs have won seven straight times in Week 1 and Mahomes has been perfect in his last four season openers, totaling 14 touchdowns, 0 interceptions and averaging 295 yards passing per game.
The Cardinals, who are +140 on the Money Line, finished 11-6 last year and made the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
On a daunting schedule that seems to throw up more 'game of the week' matchups than any other franchise's, four immediately stand out - and none of them are against divisional opponents.
The Chiefs' first chance to lay the ghost of their Super Bowl LV defeat to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is slated for Week 4, while the Buffalo Bills' get an early opportunity to avenge last January's overtime Divisional Round loss when they return to Arrowhead in Week 6.
It should be another spectacular chapter in a developing rivalry between the two AFC powers which began when Kansas City ended Buffalo's season in the 2020 AFC Championship Game.
The Bills did have their measure in last season's regular season meeting with a 38-20 win in Missouri.
Two mouthwatering matchups come later on the calendar too with the Chiefs set to welcome the defending Super Bowl champions to Arrowhead in Week 12 for a rematch of one of the greatest regular season games of all time.
The Los Angeles Rams beat Reid's men 54-51 in the third-highest scoring game in NFL history when the teams last faced off in 2018.
A week later, the Chiefs face the team that ended their season in last year's AFC Championship game when they go up against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Reid took the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs in nine out of his 14 seasons as head coach in the City of Brotherly Love and his team won the NFC East six times.
But the Eagles lost four NFC Championship games and an epic battle for the Lombardi Trophy with the New England Patriots at the culmination of the 2005 season.
He finally overcame the Super Bowl hump in Kansas City - where he has taken the Chiefs into the playoffs eight times.
No team has won more regular season games over the past four years than Reid's Chiefs, who have clinched six consecutive division titles and been to the AFC Championship Game in each of the past four postseasons.
RB Ronald Jones II (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Green Bay Packers)
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers)
OT Geron Christian (Houston Texans)
DE Carlos Dunlap (Seattle Seahawks)
LB Jermaine Carter (Carolina Panthers)
LB Elijah Lee (Cleveland Browns)
S Justin Reid (Houston Texans)
S Deon Bush (Chicago Bears)
RB Darrel Williams (Arizona Cardinals)
WR Tyreek Hill (Miami Dolphins)
WR Byron Pringle (Chicago Bears)
WR Demarcus Robinson (Las Vegas Raiders)
OT Mike Remmers
OG Kyle Long
C Austin Blythe (Seattle Seahawks)
DE Melvin Ingram (Miami Dolphins)
LB Anthony Hitchens
LB Ben Niemann (Arizona Cardinals)
CB Charvarius Ward (San Francisco 49ers)
CB Mike Hughes (Detroit LIons)
S Tyrann Mathieu (New Orleans Saints)
S Daniel Sorensen (New Orleans Saints)
CB Trent McDuffie (1st Round)
C Creed Humphrey
Mahomes' play was other-worldly for 10 nearly flawless quarters of football in the 2021 postseason - throwing for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns with a completion rate of 73 per-cent.
But what went before in a scrappy regular season by his high standards was nothing like that.
The 26-year-old will want to clean up one or two aspects such as reducing the total of 13 interceptions thrown - more than twice as many as he had done in either 2019 or 2020.
Despite the offseason losses on offense, the good news for Mahomes is that the five linemen that provided much better protection for him last year will remain at his side.
Humphrey, who was arguably the best center in the NFL last year despite being a rookie, can get even better in 2022 as his chemistry with the quarterback develops further.
Jones earned his third-straight Pro Bowl nod last season, despite playing out of position for much of it. The longest-serving and most productive defensive lineman on the Chiefs roster is back for his seventh season in Kansas City and, after a wrist issue curtailed his 2021 campaign, has a clean bill of health.