Chiefs schedule 2024: Every opponent ranked from easiest to hardest

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Michael Owens/GettyImages

After a grueling wait with endless leaks, we now officially know what the Kansas City Chiefs' 2024 regular season will look like.

For months we've known the who and where—the Chiefs will play the AFC North, NFC South, and the winners of the AFC East, AFC South, and NFC West—but until Wednesday's NFL schedule release, we largely weren't aware of the when.

Now that the dust has settled on the rhythms of the Chiefs' schedule, we can see where they how they might lose or gain momentum or at which stretches they might be the most tired. That comes into play when weighing the opponents for '24.

Who are the toughest opponents for the Chiefs and who are the "easiest" on the 2024 schedule? Let's take a look.

14. Carolina Panthers (Week 12)

There weren't many positive things to say about the Panthers in 2023. They won just two games and couldn't even reap the benefits of being so bad after trading their first-round pick to Chicago the previous spring so they could move up and take Bryce Young with the first overall selection.

Young went on to throw 11 touchdowns and 10 picks as a rookie and looked overwhelmed but, in his defense, the team around him was awful. He was sacked a whopping 62 times and had little talent to prop him up. Most quarterbacks would struggle in the same situation.

The Panthers hired Dave Canales to take over as their head coach and he served as the Buccaneers offensive coordinator the previous year. If he can work the same magic he worked on Baker Mayfield on Young, maybe the Panthers will be a little better than expected. Right now, though, they're firmly the worst team on the Chiefs' schedule in 2024.

13. Denver Broncos (Weeks 10, 18)

It was a bummer when the Chiefs' 16-game win streak against the Broncos came to an end this past season but they should have a good shot at starting another long winning streak against Denver when the two meet up in 2024.

Denver opted to spend their first-round pick on Bo Nix and he'll join a quarterback room that consists of Zach Wilson and Jarrett Stidham. Yikes. Even if Nix does end up panning out, the Broncos still don't have a very good roster surrounding him so the team's record will likely reflect that.

Sean Payton did turn the Broncos around in his first year in Denver but with an inexperienced quarterback and not a ton of talent on the team, it feels like the Broncos games should be winnable for the Chiefs but you never know with divisional games.

12. Las Vegas Raiders (Weeks 8, 13)

As I alluded to in the previous entry, divisional games can sometimes be a crapshoot. The Raiders managed to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City last season (and on Christmas Day nonetheless) so they're certainly capable of doing that in any given season.

At the same time, the Chiefs have made Allegiant Stadium their home away from home, winning all four regular season games there since the Raiders made the move to Las Vegas. Oh yeah, and they also won this big thing called the Super Bowl there this past season as well.

The Raiders always put up a fight against the Chiefs and while their quarterback situation isn't the best, it's better than what the Broncos are working with.

11. New Orleans Saints (Week 5)

The Chiefs get to play the NFC South this season, which is why their strength of schedule is on the easier side. The Saints finished last season with a winning record but missed out on the playoffs. Their offensive line struggled to protect Derek Carr last season so that will be something to keep an eye on when these two teams meet up.

The Chiefs are all too familiar with Carr considering that he spent the first nine years of his career with the Raiders and he struggled against Kansas City during that time. That being said, the Saints are typically pretty strong defensively so this might be a lower-scoring game if both defenses come to play.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 17)

The Steelers are such an interesting team because they haven't had strong quarterback play since Ben Roethlisberger retired yet they continue to win games. They haven't had a losing season in 20 years and are very well-coached.

The Chiefs will likely face a familiar face when they head to Pittsburgh, as the Steelers added former Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson in the offseason. They're definitely more known for their defensive prowess so this could be a fun defensive battle if the Chiefs defense also picks up where it left off a season ago.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 9)

These might not be Tom Brady's Bucs anymore but they're still a feisty team. No one thought much of the Buccaneers last year but they went on to win their division for the third straight year and won a playoff game.

The Bucs were pretty hot and cold during the 2023 season and have typically played pretty solid defense so this could be an intriguing match-up. Chiefs fans obviously don't care for the Bucs after they demolished KC in Super Bowl LV, so even though this regular season match-up won't avenge that loss, it'll still feel pretty good knocking the Bucs off.

8. Los Angeles Chargers (Weeks 4, 14)

The Chargers made a splashy hiring in the offseason, adding Jim Harbaugh as their head coach and that could spell danger for the Chiefs when it comes to their dominance in the division. While the Chargers might have a fiery new head coach, they have a lot of roster holes and aren't expected to be a serious contender this season.

That being said, the Chargers could give the Chiefs some trouble in their two meetings this year and division games are always weird.

7. Cleveland Browns (Week 15)

The Browns managed to make the playoffs last season despite having to start four different quarterbacks and that's due to their dominating defense. Myles Garrett headlines that unit and is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year after notching 14 sacks and 30 QB hits in 2023.

As is the case with the rest of the AFC North, defense will be the factor to watch when the Chiefs and Browns square off.

6. Atlanta Falcons (Week 3)

With this being the AFC West's turn to play the entire NFC South, it means that we'll get to see the Chiefs and Falcons go head-to-head. The Falcons had a big offseason after signing Kirk Cousins in free agency and getting better offensively.

This is one of those match-ups where the Chiefs should win (they're typically favored in every game) but the Falcons could be a sneaky-enough opponent. Since K.C. always allows teams to hang around, I wouldn't be shocked if the Falcons came away with one against the Chiefs.

5. Houston Texans (Week 16)

A year ago, people would have laughed at me if I put the Texans this high on the list but they had a really impressive 2023 campaign despite having a first-year head coach and rookie quarterback taking over. The Texans went on to win their division and knock off the Browns in the playoffs and the bad news for them is that people are aware of who they can be now.

The Texans were a popular pick for the Chiefs' Week 1 opponent but the NFL went in a different direction going with the AFC Championship rematch. Maybe the pressure of being the up-and-coming team impacts the Texans and they regress like Jacksonville did this past season. However, if they're as good as we think they can be, this should be a difficult game.

4. Buffalo Bills (Week 11)

The top four opponents could be put in any order, really. I slotted Buffalo in the four spot because they lost talent this offseason and it's going to be harder for them to make a Super Bowl now that they're in a bit of cap hell.

That being said, the Bills have been able to get the best of the Chiefs during the regular season and this game will be in Buffalo. The Chiefs always win the playoff games between the two and fans wouldd take losing to the Bills in the regular season if it means winning the rematch in the postseason. Maybe that will play out again in 2024-25.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (Week 2)

Earlier this week, I wrote about how the NFL schedule-makers clearly didn't want to miss out on another Joe Burrow-less game against the Chiefs so they were wise to schedule it super early this time around. The Chiefs/Bengals rivalry has been one of the most fun non-division rivalries in recent years with the two trading haymakers over the past few seasons.

The Bengals had many things go awry in 2023 yet managed to finish the season with a winning record (they still missed the playoffs). They'll have an easier schedule this year, so it's entirely possible that we will see another Chiefs/Bengals match-up in the AFC title game again.

2. Baltimore Ravens (Week 1)

The Chiefs open the season against the Ravens, who they beat in the AFC Championship Game. This could be another case of the NFL not wanting to miss a marquee quarterback match-up, which could be why it was scheduled so early as opposed to holding onto it for later in the year.

The Ravens lost their defensive coordinator so they'll be in flux in that department. In reality, Week 1 is the perfect time to get a team like the Ravens because they won't be in full swing yet. The same argument could be made for Kansas City, of course, but they at least are returning both of their main coordinators.

1. San Francisco 49ers (Week 7)

We'll have a rematch of Super Bowl LIV and LVIII in Week 7 when the Chiefs head to San Francisco for a date with the 49ers. These two teams have become very familiar with each other despite playing in different conferences, after squaring off in two of the last five Super Bowls. Kansas City has won both match-ups.

The 49ers are good at pretty much everything and that's why they top this list. They can run the ball, Brock Purdy can sling it when he needs to, and the Niners' defense can dial up pressure when it matters the most. This will be must-see television.