As everybody knows already, the 2013 NFL schedule was released Thursday night to be consumed by starving, somewhat-insane fans.
With the NFL Draft still a few days away, it gives us the perfect diversion and also a chance to digest the docket and see where our teams stack up in our own mind.
After looking at the schedule very closely and thinking about more than anybody who is well-adjusted ever would, I have come to the following opinions:
1. The Chiefs couldn't have a better opener
The Jacksonville Jaguars are the worst team in football. Not only did they join Kansas City with a 2-14 record last year, but beyond Maurice Jones-Drew the roster is complete devoid of talent. Throw in a first-time head coach with Blaine Gabbert at the helm, and you have a recipe for another brutal campaign.
Alex Smith and co. lucked out here for a few reasons. Everyone likes to get a win that first week. It builds confidence and gets the team off to a quick start, especially on the road. Now the schedule is tipped in your favor, with more games in Arrowhead than on the road. The Chiefs roll against Jacksonville, plain and simple.
2. Only one back-to-back road trip
Kansas City has two occasions where they play back-to-back games on the road, but the first time is split with the bye week. The Chiefs only once have to deal with two straight weeks of road games, when they travel to face the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders in Weeks 14 and 15 respectively.
Washington promises to be a difficult game, but the Oakland one should not be. The Raiders at that time with be long out of contention and surely Darren McFadden will be out with an injury. In past years, the Chiefs have had three road games in a row, this year, only once do they reach for the big suitcase.
3. Come out of the first quarter 3-1
Two of these three are at home (Cowboys and Giants) with one Thursday night contest on the road. I respect the Giants immensely, but the other two games should be victories for a good team. Rip me all you want, the Chiefs are a good football team who had the perfect storm ruin them last year thanks to their coach and quarterbacks.
If Kansas City beats Jacksonville, it needs to take care of business in two of the next three tilts. Which leads me to my next observation.
4. Weeks 5-9 will be critical
Kansas City should go a minimum of 4-1 in those five games leading into its bye week. Take a look at the opponents: at the Tennessee Titans, home to the Raiders, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns, then traveling to the Buffalo Bills.
I know what you're thinking, "Dude, we went 2-14 and lost to three of those teams last year." This is true. However, we also had Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn and Romeo Crennel. If you believe the Chiefs are even remotely decent, four of these games must be wins.
Think of it this way: Jake Locker, Matt Flynn, Matt Schaub, Brandon Weeden and Kevin Kolb. Again, four wins, at minimum.
5. Perfect bye week
I love the Week 10 bye before the first game against the Denver Broncos. This is almost perfectly centered in the middle of the schedule and gives the team time to rest and get healthy before seeing Denver.
Not to mention, Andy Reid almost never loses after having a bye week and it comes between two road games as mentioned before. Unquestionably, the Chiefs hit the lottery with the placement of a rest week.
Week 1. @ Jacksonville Jaguars (Sept. 8, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 2. Dallas Cowboys (Sept. 15, 12 p.m., Fox)
Week 3. @ Philadelphia Eagles (Sept. 19, 7:25 p.m., NFLN)
Week 4. New York Giants (Sept. 29, 12 p.m., Fox)
Week 5. @ Tennessee Titans (Oct. 6, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 6. Oakland Raiders (Oct 13, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 7. Houston Texans (Oct 20, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 8. Cleveland Browns (Oct. 27, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 9. @ Buffalo Bills (Nov. 3, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 10. BYE
Week 11. @ Denver Broncos (Nov. 17, 3:05 p.m., CBS)
Week 12. San Diego Chargers (Nov. 24, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 13. Denver Broncos (Dec. 1, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 14. @ Washington Redskins (Dec. 8, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 15. @ Oakland Raiders (Dec. 15, 3:05 p.m., CBS)
Week 16. Indianapolis Colts (Dec. 22, 12 p.m., CBS)
Week 17. @ San Diego Chargers (Dec. 29, 3:25 p.m., CBS)