The Kansas City Chiefs lost Justin Houston in Week 12 last year and then went on to win five straight games without him. So now that Houston is potentially missing part of all of next season, the Chiefs should be able to get along OK, right? They've proven they can win without him!
Eh, not so fast. The Chiefs benefited last year by playing some bad teams and bad quarterbacks in their stretch without Houston. They played the Raiders (twice), Chargers, Ravens and Browns. (OK, the Raiders were actually good. Still getting used to that.) It's like the Sean Smith suspension. Does that suspension look as bad if the Chiefs hadn't played a couple of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks during that stretch? Probably not.
The Chiefs can absolutely survive next season ... IF Houston is only out for a portion of the season and IF they have a similar stretch of teams on the schedule.
Here are those opponents next year:
Home: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets
Away: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers
We won't know the exact schedule until sometime in April when the NFL schedule is released. Of this group, I'd take the Broncos, Chargers, Jaguars, Titans and Bucs to start the season if Houston is out for the first few weeks.
Perhaps since the NFL screwed the Chiefs on the tampering punishment they can now play ball and give KC a favorable schedule.