Earlier this week, I predicted how the Kansas City Chiefs might fare through their first 8 games in 2014. The first half of their schedule includes a tough matchup with the Patriots on Monday Night Football, and difficult road games against the Broncos, Chargers and 49ers. Similarly, in the second half of the season, the Chiefs will face several tough games as well, including the Seahawks and a Sunday Night Football matchup with the Broncos in Kansas City. I predicted the Chiefs would go 5-3 in the first 8 games. Let’s see how they might do in the second half of the season. Feel free to comment at the end and provide your own thoughts:
11/9 Game 9 – At Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs end the first half of the 2014 season at home against the Jets, in the middle of what should be the easiest stretch of their schedule. For the first game of the second half, they travel to Buffalo to play the Bills for the 7th straight year. The Chiefs haven’t had much success against the Bills lately, losing 4 of the past 6 games. However, they did beat Buffalo last year on the road, albeit against a backup quarterback. The Bills will likely be a better team with EJ Manuel healthy, but I think the Chiefs defense will be too much for him. Chiefs win 17-10.
11/16 Game 10 – Home against the Seattle Seahawks. In another marquee matchup, the Chiefs will take on the defending Super Bowl champs at Arrowhead on November 16. By this time, Kansas City should be good and cold, giving an advantage to the Chiefs behind the loudest crowd in the NFL. I wouldn’t be surprised to see lots of neon green in Arrowhead at this game, with Seattle fans trying to be louder than KC fans. It should be a great atmosphere. As much as I want the Chiefs to make a huge statement by defeating the Seahawks, I think Seattle is too fast, young and strong. Russell Wilson can do almost anything on the field, which may be too much for the Chiefs defense. This marks the beginning of the Chiefs toughest stretch on their schedule, and Seattle wins 35-24.
11/20 Game 11 – At Oakland Raiders. Immediately after playing Seattle, the Chiefs will face the Raiders four short days later in Oakland, one week before Thanksgiving. While the Raiders made some moves this offseason (signing Maurice Jones-Drew and Charles Woodson, trading for Matt Schaub and getting a 7th round pick for Terrelle Pryor), they are still the Raiders. I think they will improve on their 4-12 record last year, but only barely. They also have to play the 49ers, Patriots and Seahawks, as well as KC, Denver and San Diego twice each. The Chiefs swept Oakland last year in their only division wins, and I fully expect the same to happen this year, even with the short rest. The Raiders will be coming off a game at San Diego, so neither team has an advantage in terms of rest. I do not think Jamaal Charles will duplicate his success from last year against the Raiders, but the Chiefs defense will welcome Matt Schaub to the AFC West with several sacks and interceptions and KC will win 24-12.
11/30 Game 12 – Home against the Broncos on Sunday Night Football. This game is a huge matchup for the NFL and the Chiefs. At this point, I have predicted the Chiefs will be 7-4, and given that the Broncos have to play Seattle, Indianapolis, New England and San Francisco before this game, I can easily see the AFC West being a tight race, with this game potentially deciding first place, since both teams have fairly easy schedules the final 4 weeks of the season. I predicted the Broncos winning the first matchup 30-20 in Denver in week two, but I see the Chiefs getting revenge this time. Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton will have had enough time to devise schemes to confuse Peyton Manning and disrupt the Broncos’ offensive flow, causing punts and turnovers. Chiefs win 24-20 to take control of the division.
12/7 Game 13 – At Arizona Cardinals. Coming off what will likely be a tough and emotional win over the Broncos, the Chiefs may let up a bit. However, Andy Reid is a great coach and the Cardinals did not make many offseason moves, other than re-signing Ted Ginn. Carson Palmer has been terrible against the Chiefs, and KC will grind out another win, 20-16.
12/14 Game 14 – Home against the Raiders. Having played slightly over 3 weeks prior, the Raiders will be out for revenge. This game could likely be one of those snowy, freezing, miserable football games where the advantage lies with teams that can run the ball well. This game will be won by the duo of either Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew or Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. I think Charles has a quiet game but Davis pounds the rock all day. Chiefs win 17-14.
12/21 Game 15- At Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chiefs last played in Pittsburgh in 2012 and lost in overtime. The Steelers have an easy schedule in 2014 and could be headed for the playoffs at this point in the season. I think the Chiefs luck runs out after 4 straight victories and they return to KC for the final game of the season with a 10-5 record and a shot at the AFC West title if they take care of business against the Chargers. Steelers win 28-17.
12/28 Game 16 – Home against the San Diego Chargers. I predicted the Chargers would win the first matchup with the Chiefs in the first half of the season. However, with a division title on the line, I think Andy Reid gets the team pumped up for revenge. I did not predict any blowout games for the Chiefs this year, but I think Alex Smith, Dwayne Bowe, and Jamaal Charles all have a great game and the Chiefs beat the Chargers 35-7 and clinch home field and the second seed in the AFC playoffs with an 11-5 record.
I know many people think the Chiefs may regress since they lost 3 starting offensive linemen, as well as their return man and a starting defensive lineman, and at the same time, they did not add much through free agency. However, one key thing to remember is that it takes time to learn a new coach’s system. I fully expect to see improvement across the board in Andy Reid’s system, and even though Alex Smith had a career year last season, I can see him improving even more, especially if Travis Kelce contributes and the Chiefs find a suitable wide receiver opposite Dwayne Bowe. In addition, if Sanders Commings develops and the Chiefs pick up another solid defensive back, the defense will have no problems shutting down anyone.
How do you think the Chiefs will do in 2014?