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The best and worst games of the 2021 Chiefs schedule

Let’s took at the best and worst games of the new schedule — and one that could go either way.

NFL: SEP 29 Chiefs at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Now that we know the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2021 schedule, let’s take a way-too-early look at the best and worst games of the coming season.


Best games


Cleveland Browns at Chiefs — Week 1

A year ago, I chose the season-opener against the Houston Texans simply because it would be “Banner Night” at Arrowhead Stadium. Even though the Chiefs won’t be raising another one on September 12, I would have chosen the Week 1 game regardless of opponent — because Arrowhead will once again be full of fans. That by itself should make this a memorable afternoon.

But hey... it ought to be a great game, too.

Cleveland gave Kansas City a good fight in 2020’s Divisional round, and there’s no reason to expect they’ll do anything less in Week 1; they made some good moves in free agency — and drafted some very good players, too. But with the Chiefs’ newly revamped offensive line, I fully expect Patrick Mahomes to play the whole game — and for the Chiefs to emerge victorious.

Buffalo Bills at Chiefs — Week 5

Until we find out whether New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick can work some magic with his new quarterback Mac Jones — which is an open question — Buffalo remains the AFC East’s team to beat. (You can make an argument for the Miami Dolphins — but the Chiefs aren’t playing Miami this season). This rematch of last year’s AFC championship game on Sunday Night Football should be a thriller. Just as it has been with the Patriots in recent years, as long as the Bills can remain atop their division, it’ll continue to be a big game in most Chiefs seasons.

Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers — Weeks 3 and 15

Speaking of perennial thrillers... here’s one that could be brewing. Every season, national NFL writers say the Chargers will contend to win the AFC West. They tend to be wrong — but it’s not as if they haven’t had a point: the Chargers routinely bring plenty of talent to their roster. Injuries — and a too-long reliance on Philip Rivers — have simply gotten in their way. But in Justin Herbert, the Chargers now have an exciting young quarterback — and a couple of new offensive linemen to help keep him upright. Depending on how new head coach Brandon Staley takes care of business, a twice-yearly edge-of-your-seat duel with Mahomes could be in the offing.


Unknown game


Green Bay Packers at Chiefs — Week 9

You don’t need me to explain to you how much fun it will be to see Mahomes and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers go toe-to-toe at Arrowhead. Ever since the league announced there would be a 17th game this season — when this matchup came to be — it’s been a must-watch game for all NFL fans.

But what if Rodgers is traded away from Green Bay?

As long as the league’s reigning MVP remains with the team, this game will definitely be in the Best Games group — but if he’s gone, it could be keeping company with the Worst Games. And if he’s traded to the Denver Broncos or Las Vegas Raiders, then both of their matchups with the Chiefs will be among the most anticipated of the season.



Worst games


New York Giants at Chiefs — Week 8

For some reason, the league has chosen this to be one of the Chiefs’ primetime games. Maybe they see something in this Monday Night Football contest that we don’t. If the Giants’ running back Saquon Barkley returns to form in 2021, he’ll definitely be a threat to gain yards against the Kansas City defense — but it’s not as if a running game has proven to be an effective blueprint for defeating the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the New York offensive line may make the Kansas City front seven look like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles — Week 4

Things have not gone very well for the Eagles since they won Super Bowl LII to conclude their magical 2017 postseason. Now Doug Pederson, Nick Foles and Carson Wentz are all gone — but Wentz’s $33.8 million cap hit remains. Under new head coach Nick Sirianni, can Jalen Hurts be the quarterback general manager Howie Roseman insisted he could be? Even at home, playing against your own franchise’s winningest head coach (you know — some guy named Andy Reid) doesn’t look like it will be an easy task.

Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals — Week 17

Joe Burrow turned in a solid year before he tore both his ACL and MCL in Week 11 of last season. 2020’s first-overall draft pick could indeed prove to be a quarterback around whom the Bengals can build. But their moves this offseason did not suggest they’re very good at that — so Burrow’s best seasons likely still remain in the future.


2021 Schedule

Wk
1
Sun
Sep 12
Browns GEHA Field at Arrowhead
Kansas City
CBS
3:25 pm
Wk
2
Sun
Sep 19
@Ravens M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore
NBC
7:20 pm
Wk
3
Sun
Sep 26
Chargers GEHA Field at Arrowhead
Kansas City
CBS
12:00 pm
Wk
4
Sun
Oct 3
@Eagles Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia
CBS
12:00 pm
Wk
5
Sun
Oct 10
Bills GEHA Field at Arrowhead
Kansas City
NBC
7:20 pm
Wk
6
Sun
Oct 17
@Washington FedEx Field
Washington
CBS
12:00 pm
Wk
7
Sun
Oct 24
@Titans Nissan Stadium
Nashville
CBS
12:00 pm
Wk
8
Mon
Nov 1
Giants GEHA Field at Arrowhead
Kansas City
ESPN
7:15 pm
Wk
9
Sun
Nov 7
Packers GEHA Field at Arrowhead
Kansas City
FOX
3:25 pm
Wk
10
Sun
Nov 14
@Raiders Allegiant Stadium
Las Vegas
NBC
7:20 pm
Wk
11
Sun
Nov 21
Cowboys GEHA Field at Arrowhead
Kansas City
FOX
3:25 pm
Wk
12
Bye
Week
- - -
Wk
13
Sun
Dec 5
Broncos GEHA Field at Arrowhead
Kansas City
CBS
12:00 pm
Wk
14
Sun
Dec 12
Raiders GEHA Field at Arrowhead
Kansas City
CBS
12:00 pm
Wk
15
Thu
Dec 16
@Chargers SoFi Stadium
Los Angeles
FOX/NFLN
Amazon
7:20 pm
Wk
16
Sun
Dec 26
Steelers GEHA Field at Arrowhead
Kansas City
CBS
3:25 pm
Wk
17
Sun
Jan 2
@Bengals Paul Brown Stadium
Cincinnati
CBS
12:00 pm
Wk
18
Sun
Jan 9
@Broncos Empire Field
Denver
CBS
3:25 pm