The Kansas City Chiefs benefited from a favorable schedule in 2010 and as we have been talking about for the last few days, they will face a much more difficult road in 2011.
But what about the rest of the AFC West?
We know that the Chiefs have to play a “first place schedule” but many folks aren’t exactly clear on what that means. Let’s run down the specifics and take a look at the schedules for the rest of the AFC West after the jump.
The Chiefs will face a tougher road next season but make no mistake, it won’t be a cakewalk for the rest of the AFC West either. As we learned this year, the Chiefs just need to do better than the other 3 teams in their division to return to the playoffs.
The fact of the matter is, that all the AFC West teams will play the exact same schedule with the exception of 2 games.
The AFC West will play the AFC East.+4 games
The AFC West will play the NFC North +4 games
The AFC West will play itself. +6 games
That is 14 games. Here is where the “first place schedule” comes into play. To make up the remaining two games, the Chiefs will play the 2010 first place team from the two AFC West divisions they are not playing int heir regular rotation. Since the AFC West plays the AFC East next year, the Chiefs will make up their remaining two games from the AFC North and the AFC South or in this case, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts.
Chiefs: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos, Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Packers, Bears, Lions, Vikings, Steelers, Colts
Chargers: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos, Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Packers, Bears, Lions, Vikings, Ravens, Jaguars
Raiders: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos, Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Packers, Bears, Lions, Vikings, Browns, Texans
Broncos: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos, Patriots, Jets, Dolphins, Bills, Packers, Bears, Lions, Vikings, Bengals, Titans
Looking at the above, you can see that the teams in red are the only difference in the AFC West schedules.
So while the Chiefs face a daunting task next season, their mates in the AFC West proved this year that no schedule is so easy. The might Chargers and the undefeated in the division Raiders still couldn’t get the job done outside the AFC West with a cupcake schedule so there is no reason for us to believe that they will all coast through a much tougher schedule next season.
More than any other season in recent memory, next year’s AFC West race could come down to which team performs the best in divisional games. If that is the case, the Chiefs will have to do better than their 2-4 AFC West record from 2010.
What do you think Addicts? Which AFC West team has the most favorable schedule?