So I owe you guys a film review on Steven Nelson. That’s coming like a freight train, I promise. I’ve finished reviewing the film as I sit here typing at 12:07 a.m., and that will absolutely be dropping either this weekend or on Monday.
However, before I get to that I want to talk about the Chiefs schedule, which was released today with all the usual fanfare.
On a quick side note ... how incredibly dominant is the NFL? We literally already knew who the opponents would be ... yet the schedules coming out dominated Twitter all day today. Seriously, we football fans are certifiable. There’s no doubt in my mind. Additionally, we don’t REALLY know what the schedule is like. At all. Some teams will be better than we think. Some will be worse. All will be different than what we expect. There’s almost nothing to be gained from gazing at the schedule and breaking it down.
That said, let’s gaze at the schedule and break it down. Since there are 16 games, I’m going to provide a thought on each game. Something that stands out to me about it, good or bad. No, I’m not going to predict scores or wins/losses, because that’s insane. Except I’ll probably do it at the end of the article, because I’m insane. Let’s do this.
1 | Sep 09 | Chiefs @ Chargers | StubHub Center | 3:05 PM CBS
If you have to open up the season on the road, it might as well be a place that’s almost a home game, right? Or at worst, neutral ground.
Last season Chiefs fans took over the tiny Chargers stadium (which, by the way, I think is really cool. I love the idea of an NFL team selling out a smaller stadium with frenzied fans. The problem is that the Chargers, um, aren’t doing that), and there’s no reason to expect it’ll be any different this year.
The Chargers have generally played the Chiefs tough, and they’ve got a lot of talent. But doesn’t this HAVE to be the year Phil Rivers finally takes that last “Peyton Manning’s final year” step in losing arm strength? He’s been throwing ducks for years, and they keep getting duckier. My hope is this is the year they’re finally more like... I dunno, unconscious ducks?
2 | Sep 16 | Chiefs @ Steelers | Heinz Field | 12:00 PM | CBS
The Steelers have absolutely owned the Chiefs during Andy Reid’s tenure, with the one win coming when Big Ben was injured.
Here’s the thing, though... I like that this game is early. Because the Steelers, more so than any opponent, are the team I want to see the “new” Chiefs play. The reason for this is that every recent loss to the Steelers has been depressingly similar. The defense plays pretty well, having issues against the run but overall holding them to a low score. The offense, in the meantime, can’t get anything going whatsoever against PIT’s unique zone concepts.
Mike Tomlin is the one coach in the league I feel has Andy Reid’s number. He’s it. And in the past, that has meant the offense has done jack and squat against the Steelers. If things are going to be different under Patrick Mahomes, this game will be a solid litmus test. Win or lose, I just want it to be DIFFERENT than how it’s been.
3 | Sep 23 | 49ers @ Chiefs | Arrowhead Stadium | 12:00 PM | FOX
Home opener against everyone’s offseason darling and the “next big thing” Jimmy G? I like it. This is a chance for Mahomes (look, 2018 is the beginning of the Mahomes era, so a lot of these thoughts are going to relate back to him) to show he can hang with a young QB everyone is absolutely drooling over.
On a side note, the noon start bums me out. The reason for this is that all but one of the Chiefs’ games is at noon. Now hey, I love noon games. They’re great. But I had actually, seriously, genuinely persuaded Mrs. MNchiefsfan to let me try and go halvsies with someone on season tickets this season, provided there were enough primetime games to go to. Now, I need to talk her AND my boss into me taking off at least 2 Sundays, or maybe 3.
Stay tuned on the battle for MNchiefstickets. I have only just begun to fight (also, if any of you guys know some really sweet deals or are looking to sell off some games for a good price, hit me up. You’d be doing it for a good cause. That cause being convincing my wife that this is a good cause)
4 | Oct 01 | Chiefs @ Broncos | Sports Authority Field at Mile High | 7:15 PM | ESPN
I don’t know why, but I have an irrational feeling that this game will feel bigger than it currently looks. That’s either because the Chiefs are going to be 3-0 and on the edge of picking up some MAJOR hype, or 1-2/0-3 and looking to keep their season from careening out of control. I have no logical reason for thinking this. I just do.
Also, how great is it that the Broncos are supposedly looking to trade back instead of taking a quarterback? I kinda hope John Elway does this forever, guys.
5 | Oct 07 | Jaguars @ Chiefs | Arrowhead Stadium | 12:00 PM | CBS
This is the game to circle as “if the Chiefs can score against this defense, they’re going to probably light up everyone in the NFL.” The Jaguars are legit, and one of maybe 2-3 teams in the league that MAY try to play a lot of man coverage on Kelce/Hill/Watkins.
6 | Oct 14 | Chiefs @ Patriots | Gillette Stadium | 7:20 PM | NBC
I have no idea why, but I’m not worried about this game. Andy Reid consistently gets it done against Belichick. Look at the last 3 times the teams have played. 2 were Chiefs blowouts and one was a closer-than-the-scoreboard loss in New England that required 3⁄4 of the Chiefs roster being on IR or dragging around one leg to happen. Plus, it’s early(ish) in the season. I’ve got this pegged as a win, provided Belichick doesn’t hypnotize Mahomes into multiple picks (rookies vs BB scare me, for sure).
7 | Oct 21 | Bengals @ Chiefs | Arrowhead Stadium | 12:00 PM | CBS
This is the game I have pegged for the Chiefs first loss if they’re undefeated. Because Chiefs.
8 | Oct 28 | Broncos @ Chiefs | Arrowhead Stadium | 12:00 PM | CBS
Every year the last three years, the Chiefs have given the Broncos a demoralizing loss in their second game. In 2015 and 2016, it was an old-fashioned beat down (one of which ended with the greatest play of all time, Bloated Tebow, Broncos fans whining about sportsmanship). I don’t expect anything different this season. The Chiefs are the big brother in this rivalry now, and have been for a few years.
9 | Nov 04 | Chiefs @ Browns | FirstEnergy Stadium | 12:00 PM | CBS
The John Dorsey revenge game! This feels like the year the Browns HAVE to start being good again... right? I don’t know how to live in a world where the Browns are remotely decent, though.
Did you know the Browns haven’t had a winning record since 2007? 2007!!!!! That’s absolutely insane. Here’s another odd tidbit: the Chiefs have won as many games (33) in the last 3 years as the Browns have won in the last 9. As the old saying goes, at least we’re not Browns fans.
10 | Nov 11 | Cardinals @ Chiefs | Arrowhead Stadium | 12:00 PM | FOX
This game would’ve scared me a few years ago, but at this point I can’t name anyone on the Cardinals besides Larry Fitzgerald. Speaking of Fitz, did you know that he churned out another 1,100 yard plus year last season? And he’s had over a thousand yards receiving each of the last 3 years? He’s going into year 15 and is still one of the more productive receivers in the league. He’s 3rd all time in receiving yards and should pass Owens this year for second, with only the GOAT (Jerry Rice, duh) to catch.
The craziest part? After this season, Fitz will still need at least 6,000 more yards to catch Rice. Jerry Rice’s career is truly untouchable. I mean, I think. I guess we’ll see what Fitz does. He’s quietly getting close to the oft-said “2 great careers worth of stats” level that Rice reached.
11 | Nov 19 | Chiefs @ Rams | Estadio Azteca (Mexico City) | 7:15 PM | ESPN
So many Chiefs fans have this circled on their calendars. The Rams were the most aggressive team in the league this offseason in acquiring defensive talent, including a certain cornerback who takes the ball away more than anyone else. They also have the best defensive coordinator in the league and already boasted good defense BEFORE adding Suh, Talib and Peters.
Oh, and they had one of the best offenses in the league last year too.
I feel like this game is going to be a blowout one way or another, and Chiefs fans are either going to walk away screaming about Marcus Peters (after he has 3 picks) or laughing about Marcus Peters (after Tyreek Hill or Sammy Watkins get one or two over on him). There is no middle ground.
I love having the bye this late in the season. Andy Reid self-scouts very well during the bye, and it’s a chance to reset stuff down the stretch for a playoff run. Additionally, this is the time of year where injuries are starting to really take their toll, and having a week off should help with recuperation.
Even more, the by week comes after a Monday Night game (which would typically mean a shorter week, and now will not) and the Mexico game, which I assume will be a weird travel week. So two things that could maybe mess with players will be largely negated. This is the kind of thing we think about when the schedule is released, because we’re crazy.
13 | Dec 02 | Chiefs @ Raiders | Oakland Coliseum | 3:05 PM | CBS
So... are we SURE that Derek Carr is good? Like, really sure?
14 | Dec 09 | Ravens @ Chiefs | Arrowhead Stadium | 12:00 PM | CBS
So I didn’t realize until writing this that the Ravens have been 5-11, 8-8 and 9-7 the last three years. I have no idea why, but I thought they were better than that. Winning a Super Bowl earns you a lot of rep for a 5-year period, I’m thinking.
Well, now their 5-year-window is over, and they still have Joe Flacco as their quarterback for a cap hit of 24.7 million dollars. Have I ever mentioned that I love rookie quarterback contracts?
15 | Dec 13 | Chargers @ Chiefs | Arrowhead Stadium | 7:20 PM | FOX
This is an odd game to see on primetime, until you remember that people are once again picking the Chargers to win the division. I feel like every single year that happens. Then you look and you realize they haven’t won the AFC West since 2009. I only had 2 kids in 2009. I have 5 kids now. Life was much quieter, in case you were wondering. But my point is, it’s been a long time since the Chargers won the division.
That said, the Chiefs/Chargers second game last year was really a “for the division” game, so we can’t take them lightly. Unless, of course, Rivers’ arm finally hits the point we discussed at the beginning of this article. If that happens, they’ll stink, good defense or not.
Another note: having the Thursday Night game at home following a Sunday noon home game is as good as it can get. You’re still on a short week, but unlike the other team you’re not wasting any time traveling whatsoever. When you’ve only got 3 days to prepare for a game, half a day spent traveling is huge.
16 | Dec 23 | Chiefs @ Seahawks | CenturyLink Field | 7:20 PM | NBC
I would’ve called this a statement game a few years ago, but the Seahawks are a wonderful example of how quickly windows can close in the NFL. Lynch and Sherman are gone, everyone is still wondering if Earl Thomas will get traded, and the Seahawks have been “good but not great” for 3 years now.
They were even 13th in points allowed last season. Life comes at you fast.
17 | Dec 30 | Raiders @ Chiefs | Arrowhead Stadium | 12:00 PM | CBS
I can’t bring myself to be nervous about the Jon Gruden era in Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas). I just can’t.
The man made his reputation having a good offense when he was coaching Rich Gannon at his peak. Rich Gannon had a really good peak, guys. And the Raiders (the team he coached), made the Super Bowl after he left, not while he coached them. Sure, they got spanked by the Gruden-led Bucs... but was that really because of Gruden? Or was that because of a defense that was built entirely by Tony Dungy and coached entirely by Monte Kiffen?
And then you look at the way the Bucs fell apart over the course of the next few years... then think about how long it’s been and how much the game has change... and then look at the players Gruden has signed... I don’t know, guys, maybe? But I’m having a tough time being spooked that Gruden will somehow turn Derek Carr into a monster when he’s literally never done it with any other quarterback (yes, Gannon was good before Gruden got him, as we all well know).
Schedule predictions are pointless right now. Utterly pointless. There’s no way to know how things will play out with so many variables, and so much will change between even now and the first game of the season.
That said, I’m going with 12-4 and division champs. Let’s all be Mahomers together.