How to mentally prep for the Kansas City Chiefs season-opening schedule punch

The Kansas City Chiefs host last year's AFC Championship opponent, the Baltimore Ravens. followed by a Week 2 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. How should we feel about that?
Baltimore Ravens v Kansas City Chiefs
Baltimore Ravens v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

Whether the goal was to stoke the schedule release fire early in the week, or to prevent random Twitter accounts from spoiling their fun throughout the week leading up to the big announcement, the NFL was quick to the draw on announcing the season opener for the 2024 season.

The Baltimore Ravens will travel to Kansas City to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in a 2023 AFC Championship game rematch that is sure to be dripping with storylines—some already in existence, some that we'll have time to cook up before the game kicks off here in about four months.

To make matters worse (or better, depending on who you ask), the Chiefs will welcome a familiar foe in Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals to Arrowhead Stadium for a Week 2 rematch of the 2021 and 2022 AFC Championship games. That's a lot of revenge and potential bulletin board material for two very talented opponents to start a back-to-back Super Bowl defense. Anyone else nervous?

The Kansas City Chiefs host last year's AFC Championship opponent, the Baltimore Ravens. followed by a Week 2 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. How should we feel about that?

Unlike last year's season-opening loss to the Detroit Lions, the 2024 Arrowhead Invitational will feature a playoff rematch from a year ago. Last January, the Chiefs (the AFC's 3 seed) went into Baltimore and beat Lamar Jackson and the Ravens at their own game—with dominating smash-mouth play on the defensive side of the ball and controlling the clock on offense—to take home their fourth Lamar Hunt trophy in five seasons. To kick off the 2024 campaign, Lamar (Jackson) will have the opportunity to come into the stadium that Lamar (Hunt) built and get revenge on Lamar (Jackson) falling short of winning the Lamar (Hunt) trophy a year ago. A lot of Lamarisms lurking here. Confusing enough?

Well, we haven't even gotten to the emotions that Chiefs fans should be feeling with these leaks. On one hand, if the Chiefs come out and start 2-0 against the Ravens and Bengals, there will be ample reason to believe that we're dealing with an absolute juggernaut in Kansas City that will resemble a freight train barrelling down the tracks in search of the NFL's first 3-peat. On the other hand, if the Chiefs stumble out of the gates and Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow notch wins over Patrick Mahomes in the season's infant stages, the public perception of the Chiefs dynasty could be derailed altogether.

Let's just prepare for the worst and hope for the best, all right? It's time to get pre-mad about these games. There's some benefit to this: if you prepare yourself for disappointment, it doesn't sting as much if the worst happens. Think about the rematch with Baltimore. Which players made massive impacts in that game for Kansas City in the 2023 AFC Championship game? A few who come to mind are L'Jarius Sneed, Charles Omenihu, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. None of them will be on the field for Kansas City when this game kicks off in September. There's also a chance the Chiefs top receiver from a year ago in Rashee Rice could be out of the mix as well.

Couple that with the fact that Baltimore certainly has an axe to grind with Kansas City after being beaten at their own game on their home turf on the AFC's biggest stage a season ago, and you have a recipe for another Week 1 letdown from the Chiefs. Will it definitely go this way? Well, no, obviously. But why not prep yourselves for it? Predicting the outrage is more fun than being a part of it in the moment, anyway. There will be so many hot takes from the local and national media—not to mention the hoards of fully rational folks on Chiefs Twitter—that the best course of action will almost certainly be to sit back and watch the dumpster burn.

"The Chiefs shouldn't have let Sneed walk, this secondary looked pedestrian against Lamar and the Ravens."

"Here we go again, Mahomes has no one to throw to for a second year in a row, this is eventually going to catch up the the Chiefs."

"Travis Kelce looks a step slow, maybe he should have spent the off-season recovering and not going on tour with Taylor Swift."

"The Ravens have caught up to the Chiefs in the AFC arms race."

Yada, yada, yada. We already know what the narratives are going to be in the event the Chiefs drop the opening night affair, but what if doomsday happens? What if Joe Burrow and the Bengals come into Arrowhead and drop the Chiefs to 0-2 on the season? Yikes. I can already hear the sound of the panic button being smashed.

All of our hopes will be dashed. The dynasty will be over. It will be Lamar's or Joe's time to take the AFC torch and run with it and they'll both surely have more success than Mahomes has had in his career, right? Two games will certainly change everything. Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow will have all the early season momentum in the MVP race and, like, is Mahomes even really that good anymore?Or was he propped up by an elite defense last year that has lost its bite because L'Jarius Sneed was the real pillar on that side of the ball?

Yes, the towers will topple and the angry mobs will wield their pitchforks. Calls for Clark Hunt to spend more money and claims that Andy Reid has lost his edge will ring out throughout the Kingdom. The people will be outraged. We deserve winning football! We suffered for long enough. Well, if we have to suffer for two weeks next year, it's important that we remember to keep things in perspective.

I'm going to take the responsibility of reminding you all that—if this actually happens—relax. R-e-l-a-x. In fact, someone screenshot this paragraph and email it to me. In two of the Chiefs' three Super Bowl seasons, they had stretches where they played uninspired, losing football. They lost 4 out of 6 games in 2019 due in part to Patrick Mahomes knee injury, but had a couple of bad losses with Mahomes in the lineup mixed in. Last year, same thing, dropped 4 out of 6 mid-season in what looked like a year that they had no business contending for another Super Bowl title. After all the 49ers, Eagles, Bills, and Cowboys all looked unbeatable at the time What ended up happening?

Patrick Mahomes ended up proving that he, in fact, is an inevitable force to be reckoned with in the NFL. The Chiefs played their best football when it mattered most, as they always do, and became the first back-to-back Super Bowl Champions in 20ish years. The Chiefs could come out firing in 2024 and be 2-0 with the talk being about a potentially undefeated season, or they could stumble out of the gates and start 1-1 or even 0-2.

Either way, we have to remember that while Super Bowl banners are hung in September, they don't play for the trophy until February. Give it time, keep you cool, and enjoy the ride. We won't be on this beautiful roller coaster forever.