The Chiefs enter the 2017 with high expectations with a schedule that on paper ranks as one of the toughest in the league. The schedule also offers an array of quirks, with six primetime games, two trips to MetLife Stadium and only one Sunday noon kickoff in the first 10 weeks of the season.
Here’s one take on how this schedule may play out:
Week 1: at New England Patriots
The toughest game on the slate and it comes right out of the box. All the odds favor New England. The Patriots stand 4-0 in week one at home following Super Bowl championships. But this game feels different. The Chiefs come off a 12-4 season with a bitterly disappointing playoff loss. They have one of the winningest coaches in NFL history. This is the toughest, angriest team the Patriots have faced opening a title defense. The Chiefs pull off the upset and start 1-0.
Week 2: vs Philadelphia Eagles
Here comes the hangover. The Chiefs pull of a win of epic proportions and fly on cloud nine. They feel invincible and throw their helmets on the field. They struggle to move the ball and look just a bit slow on defense. The Eagles win an ugly game and send the Chiefs to 1-1.
Week 3: at Los Angeles Chargers
How many people will cram in the Chargers’ soccer-stadium home? The preseason didn’t look promising, and the Chargers continue looking snake bitten. They don’t have many years with Phillip Rivers left, but they need to take advantage of having Rivers and Joey Bosa while they can. The Chiefs move to 2-1.
Week 4: vs Washington
Monday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium? Consider it done. The Chiefs should win this win easily, and if they don’t, there’s cause for worry. Chiefs stand 3-1 after a big win.
Week 5: at Houston Texans
The house of horrors in Houston for the Chiefs. Except for the playoff route two years ago, nothing good ever happens in Houston for the Chiefs. One thinks last year’s phoned in performance motivates this team to pull its act together. But is this a trap game with the Steelers rematch a week later? Yes, and the Chiefs fall to 3-2.
Week 6: vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Here’s the other game the Chiefs have circled on the calendar. The Steelers no doubt will bring their usual fire, but the Chiefs are on a mission. This is a game they need to win not just in their quest for a title but to prove to themselves they can vanquish this demon. Chiefs move to 4-2.
Week 7: at Oakland Raiders
Have you ever know anything good to happen in Oakland on a Thursday night? Nothing ever good happens visit the Black Hole on a dreary October night. Two predictions for this game: it’s going to rain, and the Chiefs AFC West winning streak comes to an end, sending them to 4-3.
Week 8: vs Denver Broncos
The Broncos are a mess, and even if they were not a mess, the Chiefs could be angry coming off a loss at Oakland. Arrowhead magic gets the team to 5-3.
Week 9: at Dallas Cowboys
Only the lawyers know if Ezekiel Elliot plays in this game but the Cowboys seemed destined for a regression to the mean. Dallas has never been a hospitable place since the Texans moved to Kansas City, and the bye week looming could distract the Chiefs. The Chiefs fall to 5-4.
Week 10: Bye Week
Week 11: at New York Giants
The brutality of the early season schedule suddenly looses up as the Chiefs begin the New York portion of their schedule in which none of the game are actually played in the state of New York. The Giants are up first, and very few people beat Reid following the bye. Chiefs 6-4.
Week 12: vs Buffalo Bills
The Chiefs return to Kansas City for one week only to host the only football that really calls New York home. Chiefs fans excited about the future of Patrick Mahomes can give the Bills a warm round of applause for facilitating the trade. Linebacker Reggie Ragland should be up to speed as well and ready to hit some former teammates. Chiefs move to 7-4.
Week 13: at New York Jets
The Chiefs criss-cross the country back to New York one more time. The team should feel at home at MetLife Stadium by now. The Chiefs also should be in good position to determine whether the Bills or the Jets deserve the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. Kansas City wins again to move to 8-4.
Week 14: vs Oakland Raiders
The Chiefs could be looking for payback here, but they also own Arrowhead Stadium against the AFC West. Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio realizes it doesn’t matter what day of the week or time it is, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has Derek Carr’s number. Chiefs move to 9-4.
Week 15: vs Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers come to town, and if recent history offers any guide this will be a broken team beset with injuries, bad luck and close losses just trying to finish out the season. The Chiefs move to 10-4.
Week 16: vs Miami Dolphins
Kansas City’s on a roll, winning five straight and looking to steam into the playoffs. Reid’s Chiefs always seem to lose an inexplicable game at home. The Tennessee Titans aren’t on the schedule this year, so the Dolphins step up to trip up the Chiefs, 10-5.
Week 17: at Denver Broncos
The Chiefs have a playoff spot locked up but beating Denver will clinch the AFC West and give them the No. 2 seed in the playoffs by virtue of their tie-breaker against the Steelers. The Chiefs finish 11-5.