The Kansas City Chiefs have brought their season back from the dead by rattling off four straight wins after an 0-3 start. At 4-3, the Chiefs are tied for the division lead with 10 games to play.
Despite the team’s recent success, winning the AFC West is still going to be a tough task. Looking ahead at KC’s schedule and the schedules of the rest of the teams in the division, I believe 10 wins will likely be enough to snag the AFC West crown. If that is the case, we can easily break down what the Chiefs must do the rest of the way to repeat as division champs.
And we’ll do just that, after the jump.
While it is great that the Chiefs are 4-3 and officially back in the race, their early season failures haven’t left them much room for error the rest of the way. Anything can happen in the NFL but I think to be safe, the Chiefs have to get to 10 wins.
That means they absolutely must win their next two home games at Arrowhead. There are no ifs, ands or buts, about it this. Good teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat, and the Chiefs are supposed to beat the Dolphins and Broncos at Arrowhead. If KC loses either of those two games they are going to need a lot of help along the way to reach the playoffs.
If the Chiefs take care of business, they should be 6-3 when they travel to New England for a Monday Night clash with the New England Patriots. This will clearly be the biggest game of the season for the Chiefs. If they go into Foxboro and beat the Patriots on MNF, they’ll go from legit playoff contender to legit Super Bowl contender. How amazing would that be?
Unfortunately, I’m not sure the Chiefs can be a legit Super Bowl contender this season. They have some major holes left by Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles, and while they’ve done a great job of filling those holes, I don’t know how they’ll hold up against the league’s elite. Then again, I didn’t think the Chiefs would rattle off four straight wins after their 0-3 start, so what do I know? If I’ve learned anything this year, it is that the NFL season is a long one and nothing is a sure thing. The Chiefs are young and talented and who knows what kind of team they will be come playoff time?
Still, we all know this contest against the Pats is going to be extremely difficult for the Chiefs. In fact, the Patriots game begins the most crucial stretch of the season for the Chiefs. KC enters a really tough stretch of the schedule and they are going to have to pull off a few upsets in order to get to the postseason.
If KC makes it to 6-3, things will come down to a pretty simple formula. They will have seven games left. They’ll need to win four of those seven games to get to ten wins and give themselves a really good shot at the division crown.
Here are the seven games. The Chiefs must win four.
@ New England
@ New York Jets
vs. Green Bay
This is a brutal stretch that can either eliminate the Chiefs or aptly prepare and battle test them for a deep playoff run.
The first two games that jump out as winnable for KC are the last two of the season vs. the Raiders and the Broncos. Oakland will be looking to come to KC and get revenge but the Chiefs can’t allow that to happen. They beat the Raiders in Oakland, and they can do it at home. They hopefully learned a lesson from last year’s regular season finale in which the Raiders wiped the floor with the Chiefs at Arrowhead.
The following week at Denver, the Broncos will be looking to play spoiler. Mile High is always a tough place to play for the Chiefs, but as long as Tim Tebow is still starting, the Chiefs should come out on top. The Broncos will be finished, it will be cold and the fans will likely choose to stay home. The Chiefs need to take care of business.
That gets us to eight wins. That means KC will need to serve up two upset specials in these games:
@ New England, vs. Pittsburgh, @Chicago, @New York, vs Green Bay
I am circling the three games in the middle as the best shot for the Chiefs to get this done. The Steelers at Arrowhead, @ Chicago and @ New York.
All of those teams are tough, but all of them are beatable.
If they do it, here is my way too early prediction for how things shake out:
@ New England – loss
vs. Pittsburgh – loss
@ Chicago – win
@ New York Jets – win
vs. Green Bay – loss
vs. Oakland -win
@ Denver – win
Now that I put that out there, let me just say that I understand there is no way things will shake out like I’ve guessed here. The Chiefs are sure to lose a game they are supposed to win and win a game they are supposed to lose along the way. Leave it to the Chiefs to upset the Packers and then lay in egg in Denver. Who knows?
The important thing is that after the disaster that was the beginning of the season, the Chiefs have given themselves a shot and that is really all we can ask of them.
What’s more, if the Chiefs do navigate this schedule and make the playoffs, they are going to beat some playoff caliber teams along the way.
And that will mean they have a shot at doing some damage in the postseason.