The regular season schedule is out for 2019 for the Kansas City Chiefs and the rest of the NFL. There’s a lot to unpack, but here are some random thoughts scanning the slate.
The official schedule is out for the Kansas City Chiefs and the early returns are that it’s going to be tough sledding, once again, for Andy Reid and his staff.
While the defending AFC West champs are among the teams most favored to make a Super Bowl appearance this year, the team will face stiff competition from a lot of hungry young teams on the schedule who hope to upset Patrick Mahomes and company.
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The good news is that the Chiefs have remade a deficient defense top to bottom, and the unit should slowly come together as they gain experience week by week. It also helps, of course, that the team has the best young quarterback in the game—the league’s reigning MVP—so the defense can afford to take some time as long as they have it together near the stretch run.
First to get us started, here’s a rundown of the full schedule:
Week 1 – Sunday, Sept. 8 – Chiefs @ Jaguars
Week 2 – Sunday, Sept. 15 – Chiefs @ Raiders
Week 3 – Sunday, Sept 22 – Ravens @ Chiefs
Week 4 – Sunday, Sept. 29 – Chiefs @ Lions
Week 5 – Sunday, Oct. 6 – Colts @ Chiefs
Week 6 – Sunday, Oct. 13 – Texans @ Chiefs
Week 7 – Thursday, October 17 – Chiefs @ Broncos
Week 8 – Sunday, Oct. 27 – Packers @ Chiefs
Week 9 – Sunday, Nov. 3 – Vikings @ Chiefs
Week 10 – Sunday, Nov. 10 – Chiefs @ Titans
Week 11 – Monday, Nov. 18 – Chiefs @ Chargers (Mexico City)
Week 12 – BYE WEEK
Week 13 – Sunday, Dec. 1 – Raiders @ Chiefs
Week 14 – Sunday, Dec. 8 – Chiefs @ Patriots
Week 15 – Sunday, Dec. 15 – Broncos @ Chiefs
Week 16 – Sunday, Dec. 22 – Chiefs @ Bears
Week 17 – Sunday, Dec. 29 – Chargers @ Chiefs
There’s a lot to take in here, and we’ll have plenty of coverage in the coming days here at Arrowhead Addict about all aspects of the schedule and what to expect, but here are some initial thoughts on how things look.
Blessing of the Bye
There’s no more pleasing aspect, at least for me, about this year’s regular season schedule for the Chiefs than seeing the words “BYE WEEK” come as late as Week 12. Some teams deal with a bye before the season is close to halfway over. Here, the Chiefs will undoubtedly be beat up by the time Week 12 comes around, but being able to completely relax and refuel before the month of December is perfect.
The Chiefs have a Monday Night Football game heading into the bye, so they actually lose a day of their two-week break, but the reality is that every player should welcome the opportunity to rest up for when it matters most.
As for injuries, the Chiefs have the bye week to get players ready for the stretch run if certain guys are dealing with lingering injuries. If a situation comes up where a player needs several weeks to rest and recuperate, that timing for the bye week might allow them to be a bit extra careful on the front end to give the player all he needs to be ready for December.
The last few weeks of the season are always a different sort of test before the playoffs begin. The Chiefs should be smiling and thanking whoever is in charge of scheduling the bye for their ability to collect themselves before the hardest work is required of them.
There’s are a few daunting weeks sandwiched in the middle of the Chiefs schedule (which we’ll get to in a second), but the Chiefs have a real chance to start out with a lot of confidence with an undefeated September. While the Chargers open the season against the Indianapolis Colts, the Chiefs get the easiest part of the schedule out of the way early.
The Chiefs open the season on the road against Jacksonville. The Jags were toast against the Chiefs in a 30-14 game that was 20-0 at halftime and never close at all. They will be tougher this year at home along with the debut of Nick Foles, but there’s no reason to believe they will beat the Chiefs in Week 1. From there, road games against the Raiders and Lions are two of the easier contests on the calendar.
The lone tough opponent in September is the Ravens, but it will be the Arrowhead home opener and it’s hard to believe Andy Reid won’t have his team better prepared to face Lamar Jackson and the running Ravens this time around compared to late last year (when the Chiefs also won, albeit a close game). The Ravens seem one-dimensional and took several hits to a solid defense (gone are Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, C.J. Mosley, Za’Darius Smith). In short, the Chiefs should be 4-0 heading into October.
The Roughest Part
Let’s be frank: as good as the Chiefs are, they should be the feared team in every matchup. That said, the heart of the schedule this season is going to be the toughest stretch. Primetime road games all appear here against the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, and the Los Angeles Chargers. In addition, they host the Minnesota Vikings, travel to play the Tennessee Titans, and visit Mile High Stadium on a short week to face the Denver Broncos in primetime—always a tough out.
For the entire months of October and November, the biggest “gimme” on the calendar is a home game against the Houston Texans in what will be another showdown of Mahomes vs. Deshaun Watson. If that doesn’t sound easy, you are right. It will be the midsection of the schedule that tests the Chiefs most.
The good news is, the Chiefs can slink into the bye if the heart of the schedule has been pretty tough.
The Home Stretch
The good news is that the Chiefs finish out with three of five home games in December and it begins against the Oakland Raiders—just in case the Chiefs need any momentum for the final month. By this time, rookies should be adjusted to the pros, the defense should be finding its footing as a new unit, and Mahomes will hopefully be locked in on a second straight MVP trophy.
The downside here is that road games against the Patriots and Bears are going to be tough outs. The Broncos and Chargers also visit for tough divisional contests. But a fresh bye should have the Chiefs focused on what needs to be done and being at Arrowhead will be nice for all of these AFC West foes.
Even if the out-of-division schedule is harder on Andy Reid’s roster than expected, it only takes a division title to secure a spot in the postseason. The Chiefs control their own destiny down the stretch by hosting all three rivals at home in the final month of the regular season. If things get out of control early, that will be the focal point in the locker room down the stretch.