With the release of the 2012 NFL schedule on Tuesday, the football world is abuzz with match-ups to come. The Kansas City Chiefs have an intriguing slate of games themselves, including an opening day against Tony Gonzalez and the Atlanta Falcons. Without further adieu, I'm going to preview the season with a short breakdown of what to expect.
The three home games in that stretch are all versus solid to very good teams. However, the Chiefs should find some solace in the fact Atlanta has a suspect front seven (especially against the run) and San Diego is very much an aging group. The Chargers are not close to who they used to be offensively. Nobody was brought in who adequately replaces Vincent Jackson and Kris Dielman. Baltimore looms as a possible great showdown in the fifth week.
In the next two games, Kansas City plays Tampa Bay and Oakland. The Buccaneers are better but haven't done anything to improve defensively while the Raiders have taken numerous steps back in order to have a brighter future. These are the types of games Matt Cassel and company need to win.
The eighth and ninth contests are the primetime road dates against the Chargers and Steelers. Neither one of these will be easy but both are winnable. The Chiefs always play tough against Pittsburgh and the black and gold are an old team. Rashard Mendenhall probably won't be active and just about any other player is an injury concern. That game is impossible to gauge until the week is upon us.
The next six Sunday's all favor Kansas City. It starts with a three-game home stand against the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. The Bengals are a serious candidate for regression due to a spotty offense even though their defense is legitimate.
Nothing needs to be said about Denver, everyone reading this knows the story with them. Carolina is an up-and-coming team but shouldn't beat the Chiefs. Cam Newton doesn't play defense and Romeo Crennel will be a major factor in containing him.
The following two affairs are in Cleveland and Oakland. This is the type of road trip that good teams make hay on and move towards the postseason. The Browns have absolutely no punch and the Raiders will be waiting to hit the golf course.
Finally, Kansas City returns home to battle with Indianapolis. The Colts look to be the easiest opponent in the league and the Chiefs get them at home. It goes without saying, but this is a must-win.
Of course, a season wouldn't be complete with facing down Denver in the season finale at Mile High. It's hard to say what should happen in this one simply because Week 17 is impossible to size up thanks to playoff positioning or lack there of.
All in all, Kansas City should walk away from the regular season 11-5 if healthy. The team is more than capable of beating anybody it faces including the Saints. With another very solid offseason and (hopefully) a good draft, the Chiefs are a dangerous team in 2012.