Since this time last week, the NFL's regular season schedule has been released. We ..."/> Since this time last week, the NFL's regular season schedule has been released. We ..."/>

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

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It appears that some Chiefs players still haven’t quite put the loss to the Indianapolis Colts behind them. Here’s what defensive end Mike DeVito had to say last week when the team returned for the start of the off-season program:

"I’m still not over it. Of all the games I’ve played, losing two AFC championship games, I don’t know if I hurt more than after that game. Being so mad about that last game, I started thinking, ‘How can I fix this so I can get out there and be able to help my team?’"

DeVito has now committed himself to a new diet and conditioning program, Dwayne Bowe hired a personal trainer and nutritionist, and Eric Berry, despite three trips to the Pro Bowl, is striving to be better in coverage. Berry also talked about the work he’s done to get ready for the new season:

"Anything that helps my coverage and stuff like that (is good). I feel like that’s a big part (of what) they put on me, to cover guys. I’ve got to make sure I’m on point with that stuff. It’s getting to that point, that age where I’m getting that grown-man strength that guys talk about. So my thing is just working a little bit smarter, focusing more on my technique."

It appears this football team still has a bad taste in its mouth, but only time can tell what that will ultimately mean when the real bullets start flying this fall. One thing is clear — there simply aren’t enough middling teams on the schedule to make for another trip to the playoffs. On paper, it looks like the AFC West will also be tougher. The margin for error in 2014 will be paper thin.

Week 2 is as good a time as any for this team to prove it can win a high-stakes game. Kansas City will return to the Centennial State to face the defending division champs. The Chiefs lost by two scores the last time the two teams faced each other in Denver. This contest comes early in the year and has significant implications.

The Chiefs open the season with the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead. Let’s assume for a moment that the Chiefs lose the home opener. Kansas City would be 0-1 and headed for a five-game stretch where they’ll travel to Denver, Miami, San Francisco, and San Diego. The only break from that tour is a Monday night matchup with the New England Patriots. This team needs to grow up, and do it quickly.

The silver lining in all of this is that four of the dreadful seven games the Chiefs will play against last year’s playoff teams will be in Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won five of eight there last season. It appears the magic of Arrowhead may have returned for the foreseeable future. In 2013, the team allowed 17 or fewer points 5 times at One Arrowhead Drive. They’ll need another strong campaign at home to take another step forward this season.

What say you? Are the Chiefs ready to compete with the best teams in the NFL? Have they learned enough from the 2013 losses to know how to close a game? Are games against the prior year’s playoff teams a good litmus test for Kansas City’s viability as a contender? Use the comment section below to weigh in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!