In the wake of the NFL Draft and free agency, this is peak optimism time for all football fans — looking at their team's updated roster and seeing the best-case scenario for the new group. So when the NFL releases the full schedule for the regular season, no team is projected to have a losing record, at least according to their followers.
That said, no fan base has more justification for their optimism right now than the Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions. The road to their defense of the title in 2023 has been set, so it's time to predict each week's outcome to come up with a final record.
All times are Arrowhead Time.
Week 1: vs. Detroit Lions
Thursday, September 7, 7:20 PM, NBC
I'm really not a fan of the NFL putting the Lions in this position. The Chiefs have some epic matchups at Arrowhead Stadium this year, and many of them would have been a better choice for Week 1 than Detroit. I think the Lions will be good in 2023, but right out of the gate? I think it's too big a spot. I wish this game were later in the calendar.
Chiefs win (1-0)
Week 2: at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, September 17, Noon, CBS
After the emotional high of unveiling the Super Bowl banner in Week 1, I can see the letdown spot in Week 2 happening — especially with the young, ascending Jaguars opening their home schedule with playoff revenge on their minds. I think Jacksonville and head coach Doug Pederson have this game circled all offseason.
Chiefs lose (1-1)
Week 3: vs. Chicago Bears
Sunday, September 24, 3:25 PM, FOX
Back home, I see the Chiefs taking care of the Bears to get back on track. Chicago should be an interesting team this season, but Kansas City handles this situation after a loss like they typically do.
Chiefs win (2-1)
Week 4: at New York Jets
Sunday, October 1, 7:20 PM, NBC
In one of the most exciting games in the early portion of the schedule, we should finally be getting the quarterback matchup of the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and the Jets' Aaron Rodgers. I could see the Jets contending in the AFC this season, but I think the continuity advantage that the Chiefs have gives them the leg up here in primetime.
Chiefs win (3-1)
Week 5: at Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, October 8, 3:25 PM, CBS
This feels like another candidate for the annual early-season loss that Chiefs fans didn't necessarily see coming. However, I see the Vikings regressing on defense this season, and that could lead to fireworks in the dome here. I see Kansas City taking care of business.
Chiefs win (4-1)
Week 6: vs. Denver Broncos
Thursday, October 12, 7:15 PM, Amazon
On the short week, the Chiefs welcome their first divisional opponent of the season: the Broncos, who are coming off of a home game against the Jets. Denver could be more competitive this season, but too many advantages to the Chiefs' way in this scenario.
Chiefs win (5-1)
Week 7: vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, October 22, 3:25 PM, CBS
Back-to-back divisional games at home can be physically overwhelming, but the Chiefs get a mini-bye week after a Thursday game here. The Chargers will be coming off of a Monday night matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. I see Kansas City handling their top AFC West foe for this week.
Chiefs win (6-1)
Week 8: at Denver Broncos
Sunday, October 29, 3:25 PM, CBS
For the third-straight week, the Chiefs will face a motivated, all-out division rival wanting to take out the kings on the throne — and I can see the Broncos making it happen in Denver. With the Germany trip coming the following week, there could be some looking ahead here.
Chiefs lose (6-2)
Week 9: vs. Miami Dolphins
Sunday, November 5, 8:30 AM, NFL Network
At Frankfurt Stadium in Germany, the Chiefs will finally face their old friend: wide receiver Tyreek Hill. I believe this is a great international showcase for the NFL, pitting its best team against one of the most exciting, electric group of offensive skill positions. The Chiefs will win, but it should be an entertaining game.
Chiefs win (7-2)
Week 11: vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Monday, November 20, 7:15 PM, ESPN ABC
After the bye week, it's impossible to pick against Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. In a rematch of Super Bowl LVII, the magic of Arrowhead Stadium on a Monday night will be added fuel to propel Kansas City to a win.
Chiefs win (8-2)
Week 12: at Las Vegas Raiders
Sunday, November 26, 3:25 PM, CBS
In the first matchup with the Raiders this season, I believe we'll see a competitive fight — but that may not mean the Raiders are competing in the division. I have questions about what Las Vegas will look like this year, and I don't see the Chiefs allowing a trip up.
Chiefs win (9-2)
Week 13: at Green Bay Packers
Sunday, December 3, 7:20 PM, NBC
I could see the Packers being an underrated playoff contender in the NFC, but that's because the conference isn't very impressive outside of a few teams. Here on Sunday night, this will be an important game for them, but the Chiefs will rise to the occasion as well.
Chiefs win (10-2)
Week 14: vs. Buffalo Bills
Sunday, December 10, 3:25 PM, CBS
After many years of early-season matchups during the regular season, the Chiefs and Bills will finally be playing late — and I think this could make it the most intriguing battle yet. I see Buffalo still contending at the top of the conference, and they will want this game very badly.
Chiefs lose (10-3)
Week 15: at New England Patriots
Monday, December 18, 7:15 PM, ESPN
After a critical AFC loss, the Chiefs will come into Foxborough and put on a show for the primetime, Monday night audience. The Patriots will be feisty in 2023, but they still aren't the Patriots of old, and that will show down the stretch here.
Chiefs win (11-3)
Week 16: vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Monday, December 25, Noon, CBS
On Christmas Day, there will be no better present than beating up on the Raiders — because that's what will happen here. This will remind us of the 2016 Christmas matchup against the Broncos, where defensive tackle Dontari Poe threw a touchdown. Let's hope for another fun gift like that.
Chiefs win (12-3)
Week 17: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, December 31, 3:25 PM, CBS
In the most anticipated matchup of the final stretch, I see this game being as intense and playoff-like as any on the schedule. It will be a perfect precursor to the NFL playoffs, and that's why I see the Chiefs defending their throne and securing this win. This could be to retain the conference's top seed.
Chiefs win (13-3)
Week 18: at Los Angeles Chargers
To close out the regular season, I could see the Chiefs and Chargers needing to win for different reasons. Los Angeles will be at home, but the Chiefs have made that their home over the years. To potentially secure a bye week, Kansas City sweeps their division rival.
Chiefs win (14-3)
Final Record: 14-3
As the defending Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs will play as hard-fought a schedule as any team in the league. However, they will be doing it with a young and talented roster that has plenty of players still needing to prove themselves.
It's why an early-season loss in Jacksonville is reasonable, but it's also why I believe the team could finish the season on an 8-1 run as I predicted; this team has the youth to stay hungry and motivated. It all starts with Mahomes.
I believe this team will be in a great position once again to go on a Super Bowl run.