Kansas City Chiefs projected to go 11-5 by Sports Illustrated

Oct 23, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) gets the hypes up the crowd during the second half against the New Orleans Saints at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters (22) gets the hypes up the crowd during the second half against the New Orleans Saints at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the NFL’s deepest rosters but also a tough schedule. However, SI has them going 11-5 on the year.

The Kansas City Chiefs face one of the toughest schedules during the 2017 regular season, with six games on primetime television against a slew of tough opponents including the New England Patriots, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and, of course, the typical AFC West slate that includes the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos twice each. Despite having one of the NFL’s deepest rosters, some NFL analysts have predicted the Chiefs will return to earth after a great 12-win season in 2016. Fortunately, Jonathan Jones of Sports Illustrated is not one such person.

Jones recently released his predictions for the entire 2017 season, which includes a look at every team’s record. He has the Chiefs going 11-5 in the AFC West and writes:

"The Chiefs’ opponents will spend all off-season trying to figure out a way to stop Tyreek Hill, and two things will happen: either the team won’t stop him, or it will but it won’t matter. Andy Reid has a team that can score on offense, defense and special teams—even after losing Dontari Poe (and with a healthy Justin Houston, Eric Berry and Marcus Peters), Kansas City can be a top-five scoring defense."

Indeed, the Chiefs will feature all kinds of players returning from injuries, especially in the front seven, as well as continued growth from several promising young players. Justin Houston, Allen Bailey and Derrick Johnson will return to the heart of the defense to help aid the Chiefs pass rush, which ranked No. 28 overall in total sacks last season. In addition, another year of growth and development for elite talents like Chris Jones and Marcus Peters should help take the defense to the next level.

What’s interesting in this scenario is that Jones also has the Denver Broncos going 11-5 as well as the Oakland Raiders. A three-way tie at the top of the division? It certainly could happen. If so, it would be another winning yet memorable season in the books and a wild finish down the stretch in 2017.