Even just a cursory glance at the club’s depth chart suggests that last season’s 2-14 mark won’t be repeated this year. After all, Kansas City had six Pro Bowlers in 2012, and the roster was strengthened this spring via free agency and the draft.
For new Chiefs coach Andy Reid, Kansas City represents a fresh start after two sour seasons to finish a Philadelphia tenure filled with more good moments than bad. The Chiefs’ new starting quarterback, Alex Smith, also gets to the turn the page after being forced out by Colin Kaepernick’s emergence in San Francisco.
There’s little doubt Reid and Smith will help lead a turnaround of some sort relative to 2012. If nothing else, the Chiefs are likely to move out of the AFC West basement. But are the Chiefs capable of quintupling their win total from a season ago? That’s probably what it will take to contend for a playoff spot.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (Strength of Schedule: .473, Opp. Win/Loss: 121-135)
Along with a new quarterback (Alex Smith) and a new coach (Andy Reid), the Chiefs get an apparently cushy schedule to use for a fresh start in 2013.
Of course, not all the teams on the slate will be as bad as they were in 2012—in fact, the AFC West (which is represented here by all four teams) is likely to be better than it was last season.
The Chiefs schedule has some favorable matchups to look forward to, but they aren’t strung together. Rather, they are scattered among harder games. For example, Kansas City opens the year at Jacksonville—by all indications a team that will continue to struggle—and will likely win.
However, the Chiefs then have games against Dallas at home, against Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field and against the New York Giants.
Given where we’ve placed the Chiefs in our preseason power rankings — 21st among NFL clubs and ninth in the AFC — a .500 record could be viewed as a success. The ranking suggests there’s still plenty of work for new coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey to do.
That said, the Chiefs do not lack for intrigue. We’ve placed them second among the teams of the AFC West, one spot ahead of San Diego and 11 in front of Oakland. Well, one-fourth of Kansas City’s games are against these foes, and there are other favorable matchups in the AFC, too, as detailed in our Chiefs’ preseason preview.