There are no easy games in the NFL. There are also no guarantees. Teams can drastically alter their record from year to year. Nearly every season, at least one team goes from league doormat to playoff contender. Last year, it was the Bengals. We’re hoping this year, it will be the Chiefs.
The NFL’s parity is a reminder that the line between winning teams and losing teams can sometimes be very thin. To make the jump, a team needs a combination of lucky bounces, improved play and good coaching. A favorable schedule also never hurts. As it stands right now, the Chiefs look as though they will have a favorable schedule in 2010.
While we don’t know what order these games will be played, take a look at the chiefs opponents for next season:
Home:Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers
Away:Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks
The Chiefs 2010 home opponents had a combined record of 65-63 in 2009.
Their 2010 road opponents had a combined record of 60-68!
The Chiefs opponents next season, counting the other AFC West teams only once, had a combined record of 99-109 in 2009.
As I said earlier, anything can happen. The fact that a Chiefs opponent was bad in 2009 does not mean they will be an easy win in 2010. Still, the fact that so many of the Chiefs opponents did poorly or only average in 2009 should mean that the Chiefs have a better chance against those teams if they are able to improve this offseason.
Every year, when I look at the schedule, I see one game I am sure the Chiefs are going to win and one game I am sure they will lose. For instance, when the 2009 opponent list came out, I was sure that the Chiefs would beat the Raiders at Arrowhead and lose to the Steelers.
The season is unpredictable but I am going to take a look at the Chiefs chances anyway.
The way I see it, the following are all winnable games for KC:
Broncos (8-8) X2
Raiders (5-11) X2
Wild Card: Cardinals (10-6)
That is 11/12 winnable games for the Chiefs. The Cardinals are a wild card for obvious reasons. You know Haley is going to have that one circled on his calendar. Also, the Cards aren’t the same team without Kurt Warner, so they could take a major tumble next season. I think they will be beatable without good QB play.
The games I am pretty sure the Chiefs won’t have a chance in are:
You could argue that Texans are also beatable, but the poor souls suffer 2 losses every year because they have to play Manning. They are a pretty good team with a good QB and could be tough for the Chiefs.
Still, the Chiefs are playing only 5 games against teams with winning records in 2009. (Chargers twice, Colts, Cards and Texans)
If the Chiefs improve this offseason and continue to improve throughout the year, this list of opponents should enable them to make a late season playoff push. At the very worst, they should be able to win 8 games. That is only 4 more games than last season with a much easier schedule.
For Todd Haley’s crew that means taking care of business at home against teams that are beatable, like the Raiders, Bills and Jags and on the road against the likes of the Browns, Rams and Seahawks.
The Chiefs won’t likely get a schedule this easy for a while. Now is the time for the team to make their move before a culture of losing ala the Detroit Lions settles in for good. There is still a chance for KC to turn it around. Let’s hope they can get it done.
What do you think, Addicts? Is this the perfect list of opponents for the Chiefs to surprise some folks?