Chiefs Have 17th Toughest Schedule in 2009

Dead last in the 2nd worst division in the NFL. Dead last in the entire AFC. 3rd worst team in all of the NFL.

All that equates to the 17th toughest schedule in 2009 for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs 2009 opponents were determined back in December.  Now we can see how the strength of schedule stacks up since the Super Bowl is over with and all the numbers are final.

Here is the 2009 NFL strength of schedule from toughest to weakest (numbers are based on opponents 2008 record):

  1. Miami Dolphins
  2. Carolina Panthers
  3. New England Patriots
  4. Atlanta Falcons
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  6. Buffalo Bills
  7. New York Jets
  8. New Orleans Saints
  9. Philadelphia Eagles
  10. New York Giants
  11. Dallas Cowboys
  12. Jacksonville Jaguars
  13. Indianapolis Colts
  14. Tennessee Titans
  15. Houston Texans
  16. Washington Redskins
  17. Kansas City Chiefs
  18. San Diego Chargers
  19. Denver Broncos
  20. Oakland Raiders
  21. Detroit Lions
  22. Cincinnati Bengals
  23. St. Louis Rams
  24. Seattle Seahawks
  25. Cleveland Browns
  26. San Francisco 49ers
  27. Arizona Cardinals
  28. Baltimore Ravens
  29. Pittsburgh Steelers
  30. Green Bay Packers
  31. Minnesota Vikings
  32. Chicago Bears

For some perspective, guess who had the NFL's toughest schedule entering 2008?  Yep, the same team that just won the Super Bowl.

Obviously your division has a lot to do with this.  The AFC East was super competitive last season so they have all 4 teams in the division in the top 7 toughest schedules.  The AFC North, on the other hand, had the 2 AFC representatives in the championship game.  Their reward?  The 4th and 5th easiest schedules respectively.  I wonder if the Chargers and Broncos feel the same way about the Chiefs and Raiders as the Steelers and Ravens feel about the Browns and Bengals.

Just so we're all clear, there is actually a system set up that determines the schedule each year.  It's not a subjective scheduling committee that gets together and says 'Okay, we love the Steelers so even though they won the Super Bowl let's give them the 4th easiest schedule in 2009.'

The breakdown for the Chiefs schedule in 2009 goes like this:

Obviously we'll play two games against each team in our division:

  • Broncos (Home and Away)
  • Raiders (Home and Away)
  • Chargers (Home and Away)

That's 6 games. Now, one set of games against an AFC division.  This rotates every year.  This year it will be the AFC North:

  • Pittsburgh (Home)
  • Baltimore (Away)
  • Cleveland (Home)
  • Cincinnati (Away)

That's 10 games. Next we'll play the AFC opponents that finished in the same place in their division as us (last).  Since we're already playing the entire AFC North we'll ignore Cincinnati.

  • Buffalo Bills (Home)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (Away)

That's 12 games. Finally, we play one NFC division each year.  This year happens to be the NFC East:

  • New York Giants (Home)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (Away)
  • Dallas Cowboys (Home)
  • Washington Redskins (Away)

And that's how we come up with the 16 game schedule.

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