A Kansas City Chiefs Mission: Run With The Big Dogs In 2014

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Since this time last week, the NFL’s regular season schedule has been released. We now know the order, dates, and times of the Kansas City Chiefs’ opponents in 2014. I’ve had a few days to dissect the team’s slate of games and it’s painfully apparent that Chiefs will have their work cut out for them if they hope to return to the NFL playoffs. According to research done by NFL Network, Kansas City has the league’s 7th-toughest schedule this year.

  • Sept. 7 Tennessee Titans, Noon
  • Sept. 14 at Denver Broncos, 3:25pm
  • Sept. 21 at Miami Dolphins, 3:25pm
  • Sept. 29 New England Patriots (Mon), 7:30pm
  • Oct. 5 at San Francisco 49ers, 3:25pm
  • Oct. 12 BYE
  • Oct. 19 at San Diego Chargers, 3:05pm
  • Oct. 26 St. Louis Rams, Noon
  • Nov. 2 New York Jets, Noon
  • Nov. 9 at Buffalo Bills, Noon
  • Nov. 16 Seattle Seahawks, Noon
  • Nov. 20 at Oakland Raiders (Thu), 7:25pm
  • Nov. 30 Denver Broncos, 7:30pm
  • Dec. 7 at Arizona Cardinals, 3:05pm
  • Dec. 14 Oakland Raiders, Noon
  • Dec. 21 at Pittsburgh Steelers, Noon
  • Dec. 28 San Diego Chargers, Noon

A few quick observations:

1. Three of the Chiefs’ first five games are on the road.
2. Three of the first five games are against 2013 playoff teams.
3. Kansas City has three primetime games (MNF, SNF, and TNF).
4. Three of the last five games are at home.
5. Four of the last six games are against the AFC West.
6. Kansas City hosts Seattle then plays Oakland four days later in primetime.

NFL: New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs

There’s no cakewalking back to the postseason tournament. Returning to the dance will require this football team to win big games in 2014. By “big games”, I mean matchups with teams that made noise in the playoffs. Can they win games against the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, and San Francisco 49′ers? Those opponents make up roughly 44% of their schedule (seven games). Even if the Chiefs were to sweep the other nine games, I’m not they’d secure another wildcard berth in this division.

Last year, Kansas City lost six games to teams who were in the AFC playoff picture. The Chiefs were on the big stage several times last season and they rarely came out on top. Save the primetime victory over the Eagles, the Chiefs dropped every significant game they played. Will that exposure aid them in winning such games in 2014? Can the sting of one of the greatest playoff collapses in NFL history put them on the road to becoming a viable contender in this league?

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • berttheclock

    GRRRRR!!! RUFF!!!!!

  • Bigchief

    I don’t think it’s that they learned from last year but do they have the talant to make the playoffs?

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I think the talent is there. Several of those losses last year came at the hands of critical mistakes.
      Drops, poor clock management, turnovers in key situations, etc. If this team’s short on anything it’s experience in those situations, not talent.

  • Pealvin

    We are a playoff team too! That means those other team have to deal with us as well. Our team is good. Did we choke!?!? Hell yes, but we have a nice squad in place going into year two with Andy Reid’s and bob suttons scheme. We will be ready to go come training camp and regular season.

  • NicholasAlanClayton

    I think we’ll know very quickly how this season is likely to go — not so much because the team doesn’t have the resilience to fight back, but because it will be very easy to fall into an early hole.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      VERY. Hopefully they won’t. There just aren’t many “gimme” games on the schedule. Even the road games with Miami and Pittsburgh are going to be tough.

  • Patrick Allen

    I feel like we learned last year that the team can score. i think the offense will be able to pick up where it left off so long as the offensive line replacements are decent. The question is whether or not the defense is actually any good under Bob Sutton.

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      I feel like the Chiefs sort of hit the perfect storm of injuries and teams starting to figure them out right in the third quarter of the season. In the second year of installing the scheme, Sutton has to put in some mixed looks, right? I mean, that man monster was great in the first half of the season, but all we needed to win those Broncos and Chargers games was to occasionally drop into zone to take away crossing patterns and pick routes. My greatest hope for the next couple weeks is that Calvin Pryor somehow falls into the Chiefs’ lap. Without that, I’ll be resting my hopes on a healthy Justin Houston — this team just isn’t the same without him at 100%.

      • Patrick Allen

        Looking back, the defense was giving up huge plays all season long. The impact was just mitigated because the Chiefs were playing such rubbish QBs and bad teams. As soon as the Chiefs started playing decent QBs, the defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed. I believe here is plenty of talent on this defense so it is up to the coaches to figure out how to best use them. The collapse in the Indy game, IMO, is all on Sutton. For goodness sake, if they had gone to prevent to start the second half and just allowed underneath passes and tackled well, it would have been damn near impossible for Indy to come back. Giving up those big pass plays was inexcusable. I feel like Sutton has a lot of proving to do this season.

        • NicholasAlanClayton

          Yeah, hard to argue with that. On the other hand, this was also like the top play-making defense in the league during the good time. Part of Sutton’s scheme is to allow the occasional big play as long as you’re turning out an equal number of game-changing plays on defense. I personally prefer this approach big-time over Crennel’s bend-but-don’t-break scheme. I’d prefer the defense to go for the pick rather than simply attempt to slow the opponent down — particularly when the offense took all season to really get going. I think rationally we can expect year two of getting into Reid’s offense will lead to an increase in production no matter what, but if that side of the ball gets off to a slow start again, the defense will have to continue its risky ways.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          IDK… Some of those rubbish quarterbacks played good games against the Chiefs. Coverages changed as the season wore on. We couldn’t play single-high safety because the personnel stunk.

          • Patrick Allen

            Well yeah that is kind of my point. They played pretty good against the Chiefs but they weren’t good enough to actually get the job done and win the game. The Chiefs were surely improved but the signs were there early on that they had issues in coverage.

            Like the offense, you wanted to see the D get better over the course of the season, not worse. Still, I understand that Chiefs need to continue to build the roster, for the long term, to play Sutton’s style of D. So hopefully they can get some more defensive piece in the draft. Looking forward to seeing Comings in action.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I think the defense got further and further away from what Sutton really wants to do defensively as the year wore on. That’s why I’m hoping and praying for either Clinton-Dix or Pryor. Having a guy with range and the athleticism to recover at free safety will be monumental.

          • Calchiefsfan

            I’d even be happy with Brooks in the 3rd round.

          • Calchiefsfan

            I agree about Sutton. I thought that was a questionable hire from the
            start. But in all fairness Lewis was supposed to be covering deep,
            especially in the playoff game. Lewis has always been susceptible to
            pump fakes and was out of position half the time. I’m hoping Commings
            can come in and play that position well. It is an awfully big gamble for
            the Chiefs to rely on Commings and Abdullah.

        • freshmeat62

          I don’t remember the opponent, but I think it was the 8th game (maybe 9th) last year where I noticed a big change in the pressure being applied by Houston. The preceding games Houston was going gangbusters at the QB, and occasionally the QB would get outside and make some yards. But in this game Houston would get past the RT and then box in, stopping his charge. That’s when the sacks stopped coming, and the secondary began getting lit up. It looked to me that Sutton panicked about those few yards made by running QB’s, and those QB’s that could pass, the pressure was off.

        • sidibeke

          I can’t help but feel Sutton could have done SOMEthing. Hell, even giving Abdullah and Parker a go. Anything to try to change or at least slow the momentum.

        • jimfromkcj

          Patrick, don’t put it all on the defence. I place the majority of the blame on Reid. When you are 4 scores up with about a quarter and a half or so to go. You have to make the clock your friend by taking the maximum time off the clock at each play and keep the ball in bounds. And your off line has to step up and move the chains once in awhile. We called too many pass plays which took 3 or 4 seconds off the clock and I believe we had a couple of times wr’s stepped out of bounds stopping the clock. that stuff is on Reid, he has never been noted for good clock management and it showed.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        Calvin Pryor you say? Where do I sign?

    • Stacy D. Smith

      There’s going to be some adjustment time necessary for the offensive line. Three of the starting line positions will have new faces in them this year. Sucks to have such a rough early part of the schedule. It’s going to be trial by fire.

  • mnelson52

    Last year our offense proved they could play with the big dogs. Hopefully we will have some people step up to play good enough to make up for our O-linemen we lost to FA. We need our TEs to stay healthy this year and a good #2 WR. Although we need all of that, we also proved we didn’t have enough talent on defense to play with the big dogs. They also proved that even with the lack of talent our DBs possessed, they could win with a good pass rush. We need more talent on our defense, but the most glaring to me would be finding a way to put pressure on QBs against good O-lines. With a better pass rush last year, I think we would have gone 14-2 and taken the division. With a talented defense, we wouldn’t have to worry about shootouts with Manning, Rivers,Brady, or Wilson. Last year we lost every shootout we were in and it wasn’t because we couldn’t score, it was because we couldn’t stop a team with a good O-line and QB. If we are to compete this year with our schedule, a good pass rush (not just better rush) is a must. Of coarse this is just my opinion.

    • Suzi Conger

      very well said mnelson52 and right-on… our OLine and our D (especially sutton’s lack of adjustments) are my concerns.. Our OLine is the lowest-paid (to my understanding) in NFL and ASmith is #1 rated QB for converting pressures/hits/sacks into plays (per PFF) However, it all starts with the OLine; as Len Dawson said, ” It all starts with the OLine, if they do not protect Alex (the QB), he does not have the time to execute plays, score and injury risk is high”

  • Priest4Prez

    This year will have a 10-6 record to it, but it’ll be a better 10-6 than out last years 11-5. Each game they win this year will be because they must persevere to do so. Lots of mental checks and physical games on the list (NFC WEST). So, what will we be looking for from this years roster? Win some tough games with some edge and grit; take some teams out of their game mentally and show no fear to the opposing sideline. You do this by knocking in the doors in Denver winning, standing tough at the goal line to the Patriots at home on Monday Night, and breaking the Seahawks at Arrowhead! I agree with Bigchief that talent will also be big in this season; something that it feels we’re lacking in a couple key positions. I’m all about the long term but this up and down again seasons are bi-polar and unacceptable by any coaching staff. Stay above .500, no drop off’s. Worst 9-0 team last year?! Okay, I’ll give them that. How about this year we be the toughest 10-6/11-5 team that NO ONE wants to face.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      That’s about what I was thinking, 10 wins.

  • freshmeat62

    Also mentioned in a story a couple weeks ago, Allen and Stephenson were doing extra this off season, and hopefully that will pay off. I think it will take 1 more year for the Chiefs to be considered one of the elites, but I think they can hang w/ the elites now. As has been mentioned it will take a few games for the whole team to come together because of the turnover, but barring a lot of injuries, I think 9-7 is probably about right. Maybe even 10-6.

  • David Norris

    If Mays, Walker, Cooper, and the other pieces come together as a unit and can strike fear into opposing offenses, Alex and Co. Will do their jobs too. Go Chiefs 11-5.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Would help if we had a bonecrusher like Pryor on the back end. Having him and Mays would really give this defense some intimidation factor.

  • Tyler Alexander

    I’m not scared. They played everyone tough last year with the exception of the first Colts game and showed in the playoffs that they aren’t better than us. They lost both games to the Chargers on last second plays, the 2nd against the backups. The Bronco’s can eat a bowl of dick’s with their illegal basketball style offense throwing picks all over place and we were still in both of those games til the end. I’m less worried about the personnel than I am about the small mistakes and injuries that has always seemed to plague our team.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’m not scared either, but this team needs to win more big games this year.

  • freshmeat62

    I haven’t read all of the comments here, so I don’t know if this has been mentioned. I noticed something interesting w/ the schedules.

    The supposed national people are boo-hooing the poor Raiders for having the hardest schedule. Really!?!? Take a comparison between the Raiders and Chiefs schedules. The only difference between them is that they play each other and the Raiders play 2-14 Houston and 4-12 Cleveland, where the Chiefs play 7-9 Tennessee and 8-8 Pittsburgh. Thats 6-26 for Raiders opponents and 15-17 for Chiefs opponents. Now tell me who has the tougher schedule.

    • Stan Colbert

      But we play the Raiders 4-12, they play the Chiefs 11-5, twice!

      • freshmeat62

        Just wondering why they get the sympathy just because they are crude.

        • Stan Colbert

          I think, maybe it is because they have been a poor team, a while. After getting beat all the time even the bully gets sympathy. Also, for any of the teams in the division to be successful they have to beat Oakland.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Half of it is having six games with playoff teams from a year ago (just within the division). That’s why SoS arguments often miss the mark for me.

  • Stan Colbert

    I don’t think our lines are strong enough to compete every week against this schedule. I don’t think our WR can get open or our DB cover.
    This year will be a great test to see how good we are. I hope the draft brings pieces to help negate our challenges.
    I don’t think anybody is real confident of success in our division, prob. not NFC West either!

  • sidibeke

    Winning that home opener is pretty important.

  • jimfromkcj

    Stacy, after looking that schedule over and going over it game by game I think there is a good chance we are looking at a 5 and 11 season. I graded them as a win or loss and toss up, and I came up with 9 losses, 3 wins and 4 toss ups. I f we split the toss ups you have 5 and 11. I gave the Tenn game a toss up because I think the off line will not be ready yet and then it starts getting real tough to predict a win until we get too the Jets.Buffalo is a toss up because it’s an away game and Oakland is another tossup because it’s in the black hole. the next win I see is Oakland at home. There is just too many of our home games against really good teams, so I don’t see a big home field advantage at this time. Hope I am wrong, but I don’t think we can expect good teams to be worse than they were last year.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      11 losses? Wow.

  • Michael Anthony Dine

    I’m honestly worrie about this season but I’m gunna keep my head high and drink a few