Nov 25, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers (24) and safety Eric Berry (29) tackle Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (21) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won the game 17-9. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs at the First Quarter Mark

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Knowing what we now know from the Draft, coaching changes, offseason moves and minicamp, let’s take a shot at a realistic prediction of the Chiefs’ record after the first quarter of games this year.

First, here’s the schedule, with last year’s records in parenthesis:

Quarter 1

  1. @ Jaguars (2-14)

  2. Cowboys (8-8)

  3. @ Eagles (4-12)

  4. Giants (9-7)

Quarter 2

  1. @ Titans (6-10)

  2. Raiders (4-12)

  3. Texans (12-4)

  4. Browns (5-11)

Quarter 3

  1. @ Bills (6-10)

  2. Bye week

  3. @ Broncos (13-3)

  4. Chargers (7-9)

  5. Broncos (13-3)

Quarter 4

  1. @ Redskins (10-6)

  2. @ Raiders (4-12)

  3. Colts (11-5)

  4. @ Chargers (7-9)

Here are a couple of big picture observations to set the context:

  • Five of our first eight games are at home; only three of our last eight are at home.

  • Only one of our six divisional games is scheduled before the bye.

  • The combined record from last year of our first eight opponents was 50-78, for a winning percentage of just 39%. The combined record of our final eight opponents was 71-57, or a winning percentage of 55%.

Needless to say, the Chiefs need to win big in the first half of the season. And I think they will produce, surging to a 3-1 record in the first quarter of the season. Here are my predictions, in chronological order:

Week 1: @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Like the Chiefs, the Jaguars stumbled to a 2-14 record last year, tied for worst in the NFL. Like the Chiefs, they also picked a stud left tackle in the first round, getting Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M. And like the Chiefs, the Jaguars had horrible quarterback play in 2012. But unlike Kansas City, Jacksonville didn’t do much to improve their position. In fact, it’s possible that the Jags actually got worse at quarterback. They are the only team in the NFL with five quarterbacks on the roster: last year’s starter Blaine Gabbert; perennial backup Chad Henne; undrafted rookie Matt Scott; Jordan Rodgers – who played at Vanderbilt but more notably, is Aaron Rodgers’ little brother; and recently acquired Mike Kafka, who was claimed off waivers from New England last week when the Patriots signed Tim Tebow. General Manager David Caldwell said last week that Kafka has “just as good an opportunity” to win the starting position as does Gabbert. If your quarterback has just as many NFL starts as his German, existential namesake, then you’ve got a problem. To make matters worse, Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid drafted Kafka when he was with the Eagles, so Reid knows all of Kafka’s tendencies. Even though the Chiefs will be the Jaguars’ home opener opponent, the Chiefs win, 24-10.

Week 2: Dallas Cowboys: This game is for Texas bragging rights between Chiefs owner and Texas resident Clark Hunt and Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones. The Cowboys have a new play caller in Offensive Coordinator Bill Callahan, which seemed to surprise Head Coach Jason Garrett when it was announced two weeks ago. Chalk up another thoughtful, team-building move for Jones. The Cowboys’ chemistry will be worse than ever this year, with Garrett on the hot seat, a new play caller and Jones calling audibles from the owner’s box every ten minutes. Jones seems determined to wholly own the Most Disruptive Owner in the NFL Award, now that Al Davis has passed. Get ready for Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo getting a case of nervous feet, being chased all day by Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. I’m anticipating a three-interception day for Romo, and a lockdown special for Brandon Flowers on Dez Bryant. The Chiefs win the Arrowhead season opener, 35-14.

Week 3: @ Philadelphia Eagles: The immortal Frank Sinatra said, “the best revenge is massive success.” When Andy Reid travels back to the Eagles, the Chiefs will be extremely motivated to win one for their new head coach, especially with two straight wins and a chance to go 3-0. Reid knows almost every single Eagle player – their strengths, their weaknesses and probably what they had for lunch on game day. I’m guessing the normally vengeful Philly fans will give Reid a big round of applause. But those cheers will turn to boos for their home team as the Chiefs smack down the Eagles in their own crib, 27-17.

Week 4: New York Giants: The Giants come to Arrowhead in Week 4, just two years removed from winning the Super Bowl. But wide receiver Hakeem Nicks sat out Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) this summer and reciever Victor Cruz is currently holding out for a better contract.  Former Raider Louis Murphy is in town now, hoping to add some depth and speed to their now-uncertain receiver corps. The Giants’ linebackers are weak as well, so much so that they have brought in former Seahawk and Raider cast-off Aaron Curry. When a team has two released Raiders potentially starting, you know they are in trouble. But Head Coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning are still at the top of their game. Eli pulls it out late with a long TD pass that sets up a last second field goal, and the Giants win in a squeaker, 20-17.

So there you have it – the Chiefs finish Quarter 1 with a 3-1 record. By way of comparison, my predictions for our divisional rivals are for the first quarter are:

Team

Opponents

Predicted Record

Denver Broncos

Ravens (lose)

@ Giants (lose)

Raiders (win)

Eagles (win)

2-2

San Diego Chargers

Texans (lose)

@ Eagles (win)

Titans (win)

Cowboys (win)

3-1

Oakland Raiders

@ Indianapolis (lose)

Jacksonville (win)

@ Denver (lose)

Washington (lose)

1-3

With a little luck, we should be tied for first entering the second quarter of the season! Addicts, what’s your prediction for the first quarter of season play?!

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