The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills don’t play in the same division but you might think they did if you looked at each team’s schedule over recent years.
You’d have to go all the way back to 2007 to find a season in which the Chiefs and Bills didn’t play one another. Though, should any Chiefs fan find themselves in possession of a time machine, I don’t suggest going back to revisit KC’s disastrous 4-12 2007 campaign.
Oh, Damon Huard, wherefore art thou?
To understand why the Chiefs and Bills will meet for the seventh straight year, you need to have a basic understanding of how the NFL’s schedule works.
NFL teams play one another on a rotating basis. There is a big misconception among NFL fans about schedule strength. You will often hear fans bemoaning that a surprise team is playing a “last place schedule.” In actuality, only two games on a team’s schedule are determined by that team’s record the previous year.
To get each team’s 16-game schedule, the NFL uses a very simple formula. Using the Chiefs as an example, we know KC will play each team in the AFC West twice every year. That accounts for six games right out of the gate. Those will always be the same. The Chiefs will then play a rival division from the AFC and one from the NFC. For instance, this year, the Chiefs play the AFC East and the NFC West. That accounts for another eight games, bringing us to a total of 14.
The last two games is where the whole “first place, last place schedule” thing comes into play. Last season, the Chiefs finished in second place in the AFC West. Thus, they will play the two AFC teams that also finished in second place in the two divisions that the Chiefs don’t play this season. Since the Chiefs don’t play the AFC North or AFC South this year, KC will play the Steelers and the Titans to round out their 2014 schedule.
So despite the fact that the Chiefs will only play the AFC East every three years, they can play the same AFC team over and over again in consecutive years, provided that in the teams finish in the same place in their division consistently.
And that is exactly what has happened between the Bills and the Chiefs. Unfortunately for both teams, they have mostly ended up meeting because each team recently made a habit of finishing in its division cellar.
Even more unfortunately for the Chiefs, the Bills have proved to be more than a formidable foe over these past six seasons.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see why the Chiefs should never underestimate the Buffalo Bills.
Next: Thiggy Smalls