Playing the “What If” game with the Chiefs’ remaining schedule

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The Kansas City Chiefs won a game on Sunday. It was their first win since the regular season opener with the Houston Texans. Don’t go booking a flight for Santa Clara though. It’s one game, against a team who was down to their third-string quarterback. One has to take Sunday’s game with a grain of salt, lest any man should boast of Kansas City “righting the ship.” The Chiefs caught the Steelers at the right time, sans Ben Roethlisberger AND Michael Vick.

While I’ve added some much-needed perspective to the conversation about the Chiefs, it should be noted that their remaining opponents have a combined record of 23-36. In fact, as it currently stands, only one team with a winning record remains on the schedule (the Denver Broncos). Here are the seven teams the Chiefs will face over the next 10 weeks of the NFL season:

  1. Lions: 1-6
  2. Broncos: 6-0
  3. Chargers: 2-5
  4. Bills: 3-4
  5. Raiders: 3-3
  6. Chargers: 2-5
  7. Ravens: 1-5
  8. Browns: 2-5
  9. Raiders: 3-3

Almost gives you hope that the Chiefs can get things turned around. Well, that’s until you realize they’d have to win seven of those nine games to even put themselves in a position to qualify for a playoff berth. Put simply, the 2015 postseason tournament is an utter pipe dream until Kansas City can at least get back to .500.

However unreasonable, how might the Chiefs go about clawing their way back to respectability? I’m glad you asked.

1. Continued success by young offensive players

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Without Maclin in the lineup, the Chiefs were still able to produce offensively on Sunday. Kansas City had success due largely to contributions from Travis Kelce, Albert Wilson, and Chris Conley. The trio combined for 14 catches, 207 receiving yards, and a touchdown in the game. Couple that with another touchdown and his first career 100-yard rushing day from undrafted free agent Charcandrick West, and you come away with a competent, albeit unspectacular, offensive performance. In order for them to mount a miraculous comeback campaign the rest of the way, they’ll need all of them to continue to be viable offensive options.