Hey everyone - first time poster here. I have spent more time on Arrowhead Pride than I care to admit and feel like I know many of the posters just by reading all the comment threads and posts over the years. With the lack of news about the Chiefs lately, I thought I would try to do my part to initiate some new discussion about our beloved Chiefs. So go easy on me (looking at you Saints, Ups, Craig in Cal, etc. - kidding of course... well, kind of.)
When the NFL schedules were first released, I, like many people here, was a bit uneasy about the perceived increased level of competition the Chiefs would face this season. But, I also realize there are some teams that will not live up to their expectations and some teams that will be a surprise - got to love the parity of the NFL, right? I think we can all acknowledge there are more factors that play into a team's record than just having the best talent on the field. So I decided to take a look at one of the factors that hasn't been discussed a whole lot and it could have an impact on the Chiefs' win column - travel schedules and bye weeks. There is no exact science to evaluate this (or at least any that I am aware of), but it could be interesting, plus there isn't much else to read about the Chiefs, so why not?
For example, I know much has been publicized about Andy Reid's success after a bye week (unfortunately it didn't prove true for us last year), but I still believe having the right coaching staff with an extra week of preparation and rest for the players can make a big impact. So, I looked at our opponent's travel/bye schedule to see if there were any notes of interest and came up with the following chart:
|Week||Date||Chief's Opponent||Home/Away||Days since Chiefs last game||Chiefs Opponent's last game||Travel - Yes/No|
(Sorry I don't know how to create it without having to scroll horizontally)
A few notes:
We only play one team after their bye week (Buffalo in week 9)
Five of our opponents have to travel the week prior to playing the Chiefs (Dolphins week 3, Chargers week 7, Raiders week 12, Steelers week 16, Chargers week 17) of those five opponents that travel the week prior to playing the Chiefs:
Dolphins face the Patriots in week 1, then travel to Buffalo in week 2
Chargers travel to Oakland – easy travel, not really a disadvantage here
Raiders face the Chargers in San Diego week 11, they host the Broncos in week 10, travel to Seattle in week 9 – tough stretch
Steelers travel two weeks in a row before hosting us (at Cincinnati week 14, at Atlanta week 15)
Chargers face the Broncos in week 15, then travel to the 49ers on Saturday for week 16
Also worth noting that some of our opponents will be coming off playing some tough teams the week prior to playing the Chiefs (not to mention we will have some common opponents to help with scouting/game planning.)
Broncos week 2, play the Colts in week 1
Rams week 8, play the Seahawks in week 7
Raiders in week 15, play the 49ers in week 14
Chargers in week 17, play the 49ers in week 16
I am also on the fence about Atlanta this year, they could return to 2012 form and be a good team or they could continue to decline, I think if they avoid the major injuries they are a tough team to play
I also noticed that there was an interesting article recently published on CBS Sports, 2014 NFL schedule: Raiders travel most miles, Steelers fewest, in it there are some noteworthy items (see below for a snapshot - go read the whole article to get a better perspective and they have some nice charts as well.)
Raiders travel the most miles of any team this year (10,000 more miles than the Seahawks, which are second)
The five teams that traveled the farthest in 2013 -- the 49ers, Chargers, Raiders, Seahawks and Cardinals -- combined to finish with a 48-32 record.
However, the numbers are slightly different for 2012. The five teams that traveled the most that year combined to go 40-38-2, while the five teams that traveled the least combined to go 49-31.
Total distance traveled may not have a huge bearing on how a team does, but the length of each individual road trip does seem to have some effect.
The Chiefs travel the 10th most miles next season, but have no trips that are over 2,000 miles (thanks to being in the Midwest.)
Overall, I think this is a manageable schedule and think it allows the Chiefs just enough breaks to battle for a playoff spot at the end of the season. I really don't have any concrete conclusions to draw, but thought it might spark some good dialog and perhaps someone smarter than I am can really find something good to come out of it? If nothing else, hopefully I helped pass the time for some of you.