Three Games On The Chiefs’ 2014 Schedule With Big Implications


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We’re less than 100 days from the start of the 2014 season, Phase III of the Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason program is underway, and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around the Kingdom. Fans are currently experiencing withdrawals trudging through the summer sans America’s favorite pasttime. The staff here at AA has pored over every ounce of information on the draft class, Alex Smith’s contract situation has been debated ad nauseum, and if you’re a faithful reader of the site, you’re up to speed on organized team activities. What’s left to do but look ahead to Kansas City’s regular season schedule? Good question.

The sophomore season for the new regime at 1 Arrowhead Drive is intriguing to say the least. The Chiefs appear to have a bigger hill to climb this year. There are real questions about how much the strength of their 2013 schedule is responsible for their 11-5 record. The answer to that question is coming. Kansas City has the league’s 7th-toughest schedule in 2014. Today, I’d like to take a look at a few of the biggest games (in my humble opinion) on the docket.

Week 2: Kansas City @ Denver

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The Chiefs won’t have to wait long to get to their divisional opponents. They’re slated for a trip to meet the AFC West-winning Denver Broncos in mid-September. Last year, Sports Authority Field at Mile High was the site of the Chiefs’ first regular season loss. After a 9-0 start, Kansas City fell to Denver 27-17 the week following the bye. The Broncos swept the Chiefs in 2014 and after the Emmanuel Sanders debacle in March, there could be even more bad blood between the two teams.

In the two meetings last season, the Chiefs’ passrush was completely unable to get to quarterback Peyton Manning. That proved to be the differencemaker. The Chiefs won the turnover battle and were more effective at running the football, but the lack of pressure aided Manning in posting a 109 passer rating over those two contests. If the Chiefs expect a different outcome in 2014, their front seven will have to be more effective in disrupting Manning.

Facing the Broncos so early in the season will be a good way for the Chiefs to gauge their year-over-year progress. Winning this game, on the road, will be a positive sign of Kansas City’s coming of age. The ability to compete with the NFL’s best teams will be vital to their return to the postseason. This matchup will be one of seven games with a team that qualified for the playoffs in 2013. I’m not prepared to make any hard predictions about the season yet, but I’ve penciled Game 1 (with the Titans) in as a win. How big would it be for the Chiefs to start the season 2-0? I’ll answer that for you. Since 1978, two-thirds of the teams that win their opening two games make the NFL postseason.

Week 4: New England @ Kansas City

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For my money (I’ll be in attendance), the Monday Night Football matchup with the New England Patriots, is the most intriguing game on the Chiefs’ 2014 schedule. It’ll be the first of three primetime games Kansas City will play this season and should be another early season test of the team’s mettle. The Pats made the NFL’s version of the “Final Four” before falling to the eventual AFC Champion Broncos. They’re consistently one of the conference’s best teams and barring injury, should be again this year.

Kansas City’s biggest critics in 2013 cited a lack of quarterback talent as the sole contributor to their defensive success through the first nine games. Even the Chiefs’ most loyal fans have to concede that the Jeff Tuel’s of the world make road wins easier to come by. Tom Brady will be 37 years old when this game rolls around, but he’s still spry and productive. For what it’s worth, he earned his fifth-straight trip to the Pro Bowl last season.

New England made the AFC Championship game, but all five of their losses were on the road last season. The road games they won, save the matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, were all close. With help from the “Sea of Red”, the Chiefs regained a bit of their homefield magic in 2013. Kansas City won 5 of 8 in the cozy confines of Arrowhead Stadium. This could very well be one of the best games they play in 2014. The Chiefs are typically a tough out in night games at Arrowhead.

Week 10: Kansas City @ Buffalo

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You read that right. It’s not as odd as it might sound. The timing of this game is important to note. It’s sandwiched between the Rams, Jets, a matchup with the defending-Super Bowl champs, and a road trip to Oakland (in a truncated week). EJ Manuel is reportedly back to full-strength and Sammy Watkins is now a member of the Bills. I think it’s reasonable to expect a tougher game this time around.

Last year’s meeting with the Bills was hotly contested. The Chiefs were trailing the Bills and on the verge of falling behind by two scores when Sean Smith stepped in front of a Jeff Tuel pass in the end zone and took it 100 yards in the other direction for the score. The rest of the third quarter producing two more scoring opportunities for both teams. Kansas City didn’t pull ahead for good until the final frame when Tamba Hali returned a fumble 11 yards for a touchdown and Ryan Succop nailed the coffin shut with a 39-yard field goal.

This matchup could potentially have wildcard implications in the AFC playoff picture. If season predictions this time of the year are to be trusted, 9 or 10 wins are about what most of the league’s talking heads expect in Kansas City. The Bills were without Manuel for six games last year. They managed to win two of those contests. If Manuel can stay healthy for the full season, they could find themselves in the hunt for one of two wildcard spots come January. Winning this game is likely to help the Chiefs stay off of the AFC playoff bubble.

What say you? Which games are you most looking forward to in 2014? Are you excited about the aforementioned contests? How many of these games do you expect Kansas City to win? Use the comment section below to weigh in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • Tyler Alexander

    I’m most interested in the 49′s and Seahawks. If you can’t play with them, you’re fooling yourself to think making the playoffs matter that much… and Denver if course.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      No argument there. Those are three of the league’s ten best teams. Kansas City had better show up and steal a couple of those games.

      • freshmeat62

        I don’t like the implication of the word ‘steal’. It sounds like they don’t deserve the win. Instead of ‘steal’ I prefer ‘beat the snot’

        • Stacy D. Smith

          That’d be awesome, but honestly a win’s a win.

  • Montez K.

    the Seahawks game is missing from this list….I just bought my plane tickets from that weekend to make it up from Dallas–that game has serious implications. That weekend we will determine where we stand in terms of toughness AND to show the Seahawks how much louder we are in Arrowhead…excited would be an understatement.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Fans are going to be out of their minds for that one. All behind that “12th Man” business.

      • Deadmeat

        Wish they would go for the record that day.

        • KCMikeG

          Reid already called our shot to take back the decibel record that game. I will be there loud & proud!

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I’d like to go to that one too. Hopefully it’s still fairly warm.

  • Montez K.

    Seriously debating buying tix to the MNF game against the Brady Bunch as well….should be a good one!

    • Stacy D. Smith

      If I only go to the stadium once this season, it will be for that game.

      • Michael Shaw

        You mean the game isn’t already sold out?? LOL!!!

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I certainly hope not.

  • Reggie Flenory

    Really every game on this schedule is important there are no gimmie games even jets,titans, and dolphins will be competitive and the writer of this post is right our lack of pass rush hurt us against denver WHICH IS WHY DRAFTING DEE FORD IS HUGE Getting to peyton is gonna be tough and you need fresh rushers not to mention a deep defensive back field sea,sf,den,pit,sd and oak are all gomna be tough games hope we can stay healthy

    • Stacy D. Smith

      There are never any “gimme” games, but some do wind up being more important than others.

      • Reggie Flenory

        My point is compared to last yr the schedule is gonna be epic no jacksonvilles on the schedule

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I tend to agree with that.

      • mnelson52

        I don’t think there are any more important than your divisional games

        • Stacy D. Smith

          I think conference games can be every bit as important. Especially since are fewer divisional games now. The 2013 Bengals are a great example. They were just .500 in the division, but they won 8 of their conference games and went on to win the division. Same thing with the Packers. Won only 3 of their divisional games, but 6 in the conference, and still won the division.

    • mnelson52

      Reggie. I don’t think Ford will be able to keep them very fresh in this game, because we need all three rushers on the field at the same time. Last year Hali and Houston didn’t do a bad job rushing Manning from the outside, but when we hit the second half of the season where all the good offenses were, the D-line could no longer collapse the pocket, which allowed Manning, Rivers and other QBs to step up to avoid them. I don’t know if our D-line has improved or not, but if not, I don’t see much difference in the out come of our defense compared to last year. The first half of last year, when we played weaker O-lines, we didn’t know how weak or secondaries were till we couldn’t collapse the pocket any more. I don’t think it was because Hali and/or Houston got tired or injured, every team got tired. We were just facing stronger teams. DeVito and Jackson could hold their ground for the run, but can’t move the line back and Poe is always double teamed. If the line could collapse the pocket on these QBs and force them to our outside rushers, This team would compete against the best constantly..Just my opinion of coarse.

      • Reggie Flenory

        U have to remember bob suttons 3-4 is a hybrid system meaning it has a lotta 4-3 concepts so best believe there are gonna be numerous packages where alll three are on the field other wise they wouldnt have drafted him ford is not gonna be just a thrid down player i put real money on that secondly dont over look the signimg of walker outta oakland and cujo outta stl especially cujo the only reason the cut em is cuz stl is loaded up front kinda like how sf cut cooper cuz they were loaded in the def backfield walker applied alot more pressure than tyson did last yr per his stat line and alsokeepimg our pass rush fresh is gonna be the result of the dee ford pick just because of the plethroa of differenr looks bob sutton gives and the flexability ofnthe personail

        • mnelson52

          I wasn’t saying our D-line wouldn’t be good, I was just saying it needs to be significantly better to compete in our schedule this year. I’m not big on Walker as in 2012, he had 3 sacks and Jackson had 3 sacks. In 2013, Walker had 3 sacks and Jackson had 4 without being in on obvious passing downs. Walker may have had more pressures, I’m not sure. I will have to recheck that. I liked what I saw out of Catapano in his limited time. I agree some of the players we picked up could help but I would rather see our draft pick Catapano, step up to win the starting job and save us some money. Cudjo may be one of our best pickups. Rams just didn’t have room for him.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Walker generated pressure about three times as often as Jackson by the overall passrushing numbers. Jackson got pressure at a ratio of 63/1. Walker got pressure at a ratio of 24/1. In fairness, he did play a lot more snaps though.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        I think fresher legs will help the pass rush. Neither Houston or Hali had anyone to spell them. Another problem was having to play softer coverages. Ford’s going to be important to this defense in year one.

        There are other players with the ability to rush the passer. Flowers has always been pretty good at getting home. Berry can contribute there as well.

        The biggest issue will be whether or not Commings or Abdullah can be the man that Lewis wasn’t. If they can and Sutton can stick with aggressive coverages, we’ll be alright.

        • mnelson52

          I agree fresh legs help. The point I was making was when playing Denver or teams like them, we need all pass rushers out there at the same time. Otherwise you’re going out there and trying to do like you did last year. That didn’t work. I think we are better off as a whole this year offensively and defensively, but Sutton finding a way, or the right people to collapse the pocket will be key to an effective pass rush, therefore, key to beating Denver and teams like them. Remember, the Eagles were the only team over 500 that we beat last year and we caught them early before they starting playing good. We were not good enough on defense to beat any other good team. I’m still not saying we won’t have a good defense, we may have a top 5 defense. I’m just saying our defense will have to be significantly better to win one game against a playoff team much less 7, plus Cardinals and Steelers are on the bubble. Of coarse again, this is just my opinion. ( as far as Flowers and Berry, they do have a lot of ability, but they were also there last year when we couldn’t even touch Manning, much less sack him)

          • Stacy D. Smith

            How often were they sent after the quarterback?

        • freshmeat62

          Agree 100% that FS is going to be huge.

        • Nick the Kick

          Stacy, did you see that Berry is playing single high in practice? If he can hang we will be one ugly D!

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Hadn’t heard that, but that’s awesome!

        • KCMikeG

          As important as spelling them and fresher legs will be the fear, uncertainty and doubt for opposing QB’s caused by having all three on the field at the same time will be the difference maker.

      • Andy

        We also have to be more physical with their receivers (off the line). It is hard to put pressure on a QB who throws it in less than 3 seconds.

  • Edmond Dantes

    Stacy how could you not put the 49ers Alex Smith revenge game on there? I thought for sure you would. But I agree with your list nonetheless. That Denver game is huge. If this team is for real I think thats a W for sure but like you saud its the playoff teams you know qe have to beat.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      That’s a big game, but more for personal reasons and what it says about our overall ability to contend in the postseason. It’s also a game I think most people have us losing.

  • freshmeat62

    I don’t disagree w/ any of those, but I think there are 2 more that may have playoff implications, and those are Miami and Pittsburgh. Both could be in the wildcard mix, and a win over them would be big.

    • mnelson52

      Also the Cardinals

  • Nick the Kick

    An early season night game against the Patriots @ Arrowhead with the wind rushing through the tunnels and the air is almost electric with the power radiating from 82,000 faithful throats chanting D FENSE on 3rd and a mile for Brady. Damn, it makes you feel more alive than just about anything in the world. Throw in some over priced Gates and a few Boulevard Wheats and i’ll see you there.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I’ll pass on the beers, but I’m always up for some Gates sausage!

  • sidibeke

    You’re a talented writer, Stacy. Always enjoyable to read you.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Very kind of you! Thanks for reading!

  • sidibeke

    It’d be great to get a W at Denver. Was it just me, or did it seem like we could have thrown a couple more blitzes at Manning than we did?

    As for Buf, I’m tired of playing the Bills. Even when we win, it’s not pretty. And any team should be excited to have Buf on its schedule (maybe not this next year as you point out, but still).