Dec 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; A Kansas City Chiefs fan and Denver Broncos fan show their support after the game at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs Have 7th Hardest Schedule


We’ve had a night to digest the schedule and now some of the quirks are starting to be revealed. Most notably, the Chiefs enter the 2014 season facing the 7th hardest schedule based on their opponents’ winning percentage in 2013. This would seem to signal a strong step back for the Chiefs in 2014, but there is reason to believe that may not be the case.

Kansas City’s schedule is incredibly top heavy. The Chiefs will play three of the four teams who participated in the AFC and NFC championship games from a season ago in the first five weeks of the season. Add in a week 11 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks and the extra game against the Broncos and five of their games are played against the four best teams in the NFL. This can be viewed as a very scary situation for the Chiefs.

However, if you take the five games agains the conference championship game participants, the schedule falls back down to earth. San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and New England combined to go 50-14 last season, 63-17 when you double-count Denver. The combine record of the 11 remaining games is a reasonable 80-96 (counts Oakland and San Diego twice). This helps show how top-heavy the schedule is when it comes to strength of opponents.

Even the Chiefs schedule structure is top-heavy. As stated earlier, the three of the first five games are against Denver, San Francisco, and New England. Two of those three are on the road. The winning percentage of the teams in those first five games is .650 (52-28).

The rest of the season? .517 (91-85). That’s a pretty significant fall off. Then consider Denver and Seattle make up 26 of the wins, which means the winning percentage of nine of the remaining 11 games will be .451 (65-79).

The obvious key here is to survive the five games between Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, and New England. Coming out with at least two wins would be huge, and put the Chiefs where they would only need to go 8-3 against the chunk of their schedule that is beatable. Ten wins should be enough to make the playoffs. And considering how hard Denver schedule is – significantly harder than the Chiefs’ – 10 wins could be enough to win the division.

Of course, this is all easier said than done, but the path is not quite as daunting as one would think.

***

There are two key stretches to the Chiefs’ season: The first being the opening five weeks of the season and the second being between weeks 11 and 13.

The first five week of the season are crucial for them to not dig themselves a big hole. This means no lapses against Tennessee and Miami, and finding a way to pick off a game against San Francisco (road), New England (home on Monday Night), and Denver (road). Two wins is survivable, but three wins would be absolutely huge.

Beating excellent teams on the road is an incredibly difficult thing to do, so there would be no shame in losing to San Francisco and Denver in weeks two and five. The New England game is huge. A home game, a team that’s aging at key positions, and a team the Chiefs matchup well with. If you’re circling the most important games of the season, this would be one you circle multiple times and draw a star next to.

Weeks 11 through 13 are also huge. The stretch includes a home game against Seattle, a Thursday night game on the road against Oakland, home to Denver on Sunday night, and a road game in Arizona.

The Seattle-Oakland-Denver stretch will be the defining part of the second half of the season for the Chiefs. How the Chiefs deal with the short week and travel to Oakland and the undoubtedly hyped games against Seattle and Denver will either make or break the Chiefs’ playoff chances.

The Oakland game is scary. Short week (Thursday night game), cross-country travel, a team that’s had a history of giving the Chiefs fits with their style of play (Kansas City was 3-8 against Oakland prior to KC’s two wins last season).  Oakland is still a team trying to get better, but they’re recent history of awful play hasn’t stopped them from beating up on the Chiefs before. Include the road and short week elements and this game should be terrifying.

There is an incredibly good chance the Chiefs could go 0-3 during this stretch. A bad open to the season plus three losses here would almost assuredly knock the Chiefs out of playoff contention.

The flip side of this is a 3-0 swing here plus a three or four win opening to the season means the Chiefs should be in tremendous position to win the division and compete for the top seed in the AFC. If Kansas City is beating Denver, Seattle and New England then they are legit Super Bowl contenders. That resume should do wonders for the Chiefs confidence, which could be key considering they will be such a young team.

***

If you are someone who believe in Vegas odds, the over/under on wins for the Chiefs was set at 8.5, which ties them for the 10th highest win odds in the NFL. Breaking it down to the AFC, Kansas City has the fifth highest wins over/under total. This would seem to indicate the Chiefs are going to be wild card contenders in Vegas’ eyes.

Now, Vegas’ purpose is to make money and not predict the actual win total. Whatever they can do to earn some cash, they’ll do it. For instance, the Broncos’ win total is set at 11. This is mostly because everyone is so high on Denver. But when you consider the history of quarterbacks at age 38 and the assumed regression from an historic season, plus having the second hardest schedule in the NFL, and 11 seems to be the max number of wins they’ll earn in 2014.

No matter where you stand on Vegas numbers it is still better to have the high win total attached to you as opposed to Oakland’s 5-win number. So seeing the Chiefs in the realm of the AFC playoff contenders is a good thing.

Tags: 2014 Chiefs Schedule Featured Kansas City Chiefs Popular

  • John Gabbard

    Its a bit cliche, but to be the best, you have to beat the best and if the defense can come together like they did at the beginning of last year and the offense plays like they did down the stretch, we will be a dangerous team. I think we can be in any game we play this year and this will be a great measuring stick for this team to see where we really are as far as being contenders for division, playoffs and sb.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Hopefully this team is ready to run with the big dogs. If not, they could seriously be behind the 8-ball by the time the bye week rolls around.

  • berttheclock

    It is what it is, so, just play it. The reason the schedule is so much harder is the AFC West must play the NFC West this season. Last season, there was a major change in the powers to be in the NFL and the NFC West replaced the old power of the NFC East. Funny thing about last season is so many kept harping on the fact the Chiefs had an easy schedule. That was only due to the sudden loss of power in that NFCE.

    However, pity for those Seahawks fans that Scott McCloughan has had to step aside due to family issues. That is the same reason he had to leave the Niners in 2009. While, Trent Baalke is a fine GM, it was McCloughan who built this current Niners power house. His 2007 draft was one of the best in NFL history. With Seattle, it was McCloughan who found both Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman for John Schneider. He will be sorely missed in the 2014 draft room, but, the word is he is going to form his own scouting service. Should that happen, KC should try to put him on retainer.

    • DieHard_ChiefsFan

      A couple of items that makes me feel good about this schedule. Our guys will be Fresh and ready to go. I think Manning will see a different 7 from the last 2 games we played as most were injured/worn out. If we can sneak a few right out of the gate with a strong defense again, I feel we will be good to go as the season progresses. If our Defense is aggressive and our secondary Im thinking we should go 3-2 these first 5.

  • berttheclock

    Hey, Ben, completely off thread, but, I checked with a very good friend who is the beer and wine guy at a local Portland market. They stock a great selection of ales from the PNW. He told me that Deschutes Brewery of Bend leads the way in what he sells. Deschutes has a brew pub in both Bend and Portland. When, I could drink on a regular basis, I loved their seasonal brews, especially, Jubal Ale at Christmas.

    Now, one small caveat. He is a diehard Browns fan as well as Ohio State. To really get him going, just mention you think Art Rooney was the greatest.

    • Ben Nielsen

      I’ll keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    The Chiefs are going to have a rough time this year and I think they will go 8-8. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. After the off season kind of desimated parts of our team and we lost depth, unless we pull out some crazy magic in the draft with our 6 picks, I don’t see us making a run like last year.

    Saying that, as many “fans” as the team had last year, we are going to have that many “fans” harping on the Chiefs. If Smith doesn’t go off and become an All-Star again I bet people are going to say let him walk. This year is going to have a lot of emotion, and people who don’t pay attention to the games and just the W/L section are going to make a huge stink this year. I think 8-8 is a successful season. If we make the playoffs I would be surprised.

  • tm1946

    Hope we kick so much rear, the NFL has to pass a rule about the Chiefs not doing physical harm to other teams.

    Jamie Dukes, yesterday, said the Chiefs made a big jump from worst to first. “now let’s see what they do with a big boy schedule”. He was laughing at our expense. Plenty of bulletin board junk for Andy.

    Bring on the draft, preseason and start the season, we need the red meat.

    • berttheclock

      Jamie Dukes, in my very NON humble opinion, falls into the “I learned absolutely nothing from playing football” category of over hyped so-called pundit blowhards.

      • berttheclock

        However, Dukes did say one thing about Manning. While saying he thought Manning represented everything good in football, he went on to add that to call him the greatest has to take into consideration Manning has lost 12 play off games.

        In addition, in July of 2012, he picked the Niners to meet the Ravens in the 2013 SB. He picked the Niners because of Alex Smith. So, there are times he wakes up in a sane world of thought.

        • tm1946

          Let’s not pick and chose, guy. I would say his stage is bigger on tv than our at Arrowhead Addict.

          • berttheclock

            I was so fed up with him, last season, I stopped watching the NFL Network. I, included ESPN as well and my life has become much less complicated. The only reason I did my pick and choose was because I googled to find out how his last selection for the Super Bowl. BTW, he was astounded that the Seahawks had won and he went on to say Denver had only been there due to Manning. BTW, I could care less how “Big” is his stage as I do not idolize anyone, whether on sports shows or on any entertainment venue. Learned a long time ago to make up my own mind. I take any comment from so-called TV stars with the same amount of grains of salt as I view anything at Wiki

            Pete Prisco has a “bigger stage” than we, but, do you really follow his dribbles of “expert wisdom”? BTW, Dukes did not like the work of Matt Ryan and bashed him regularly. However, that did not stop Tom Condon from getting Ryan a huge contract.

  • Larry Devore

    Raiders haven’t been scary since forever

  • Roger Mihalko

    11-5, 10-6, or 9-7 ….. many variables still to play out…..the draft….who we acquire…..undrafted free agents after the draft….going to be a lot…

    O-line……has to come together fast and imho be better than expected out the gates……

    defense…we need at least two linebackers….two safeties….two D-line…..

  • michael mckee

    So if the defense can get some 3rd string qbs on the field maybe it wont be the worst in the nfl like it was over our final 8 games….6-10,8-8 maybe with a few miracles.bob sutton is the biggest glaring hole on this team