Yesterday, the NFL released the entire 2015 NFL schedule, which has the Chiefs playing in 3 primetime games in what is the league’s 7th toughest schedule. I have previously examined a few highlights of the 2015 opponents here, but now that the dates and times have been released, I wanted to provide them here for you. Below is a quick look at the schedule, including a way-too-early prediction for how they might fare. I will probably need to update my predictions in 8 days after the NFL draft. This is a really long post, so I divided it by each half of the season.
Week 1 (noon, Sunday, Sept. 13) at Houston Texans:
The Texans narrowly missed the playoffs in 2014 and finished with a record identical to the Chiefs. They currently have somewhat of a QB battle going on between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet, and added Vince Wilfork to their defense. This could be a tough game to open the season with, but the Chiefs are in year 3 under Andy Reid, whereas the Texans are in year 2 under Bill O’Brien. I think the Chiefs steal one in Houston, winning 20-14.
Week 2 (7:25 p.m., Thursday Sept. 17), versus the Denver Broncos:
The Chiefs will host Denver in their first primetime game of 2015, and the second Thursday Night Football game of the season. Denver hosts Baltimore in week 1, which could be a tough game for the reigning AFC West champs. Additionally, the Broncos have won 6 straight versus the Chiefs, but under a new coaching regime, I think the Chiefs reverse that trend and come out on top, 31-27.
Week 3 (7:30 p.m., Monday Sept. 28), at Green Bay Packers:
The Chiefs will be on primetime for the second straight week and will also get an additional day of rest for their Monday night contest in Green Bay. The Chiefs have fared well against Green Bay in the past, but have only faced Aaron Rodgers once in the regular season (2011, Chiefs won 19-14 ruining the Packers’ perfect season). Packers will come out victorious, 28-20.
Week 4 (noon, Sunday, Oct. 4), at Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals have made the playoffs 4 straight years, and 6 times since 2005 (losing all 6 of their playoff games). The Chiefs lost 28-6 in their only regular season meeting against Andy Dalton (2012). The Bengals haven’t made many offseason moves and I think they are due for regression. Chiefs will steal another road win, 24-16.
Week 5 (noon, Sunday Oct. 11), versus Chicago Bears:
The Bears signed former Chiefs long snapper Thomas Gafford in March, and also traded WR Brandon Marshall to the Jets. Chicago had some QB issues in 2014, and have not made enough moves to make me think they will be a threat in 2015. Chiefs will get their first home win of the season, 35-17.
Week 6 (noon, Sunday, Oct. 18), at Minnesota Vikings:
Minnesota made the playoffs in 2012 but haven’t done anything since. The Vikings did not have a single player named to the 2014 Pro Bowl. Teddy Bridgewater is their hope for the future but the Chiefs defense will manhandle them, winning yet another road game, this time 24-10.
Week 7 (noon, Sunday Oct. 25), versus Pittsburgh Steelers:
The Chiefs return home to face another AFC North opponent. The Steelers won 20-12 in Pittsburgh, when the teams faced each other in 2014. The Steelers lost a few defensive players this offseason. They have made the playoffs 9 times since 2000 and Ben Roethlisberger is only getting older. I think the Chiefs get revenge and remain with only one loss, winning 19-17.
Week 8 (8:30 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 1), versus Detroit Lions in London:
In a bid to be able to host a Super Bowl, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt scheduled the Chiefs to play in London as the NFL attempts to broaden its fan base. This will cost the Chiefs a home game in 2015. The Lions will play in London for the second straight year, but will be coming off 3 straight home games. I think the Lions will regress (they won 11 games and made the playoffs in 2014) and the Chiefs will win this nationally-televised contest 27-17.
Week 9, BYE week:
The Chiefs have their BYE week smack dab in the middle of the season, which will give them a great chance to rest up and get ready for the second half. We all know about Andy Reid’s incredible record coming off a BYE week, so hopefully that magic continues in 2015.
I will include the second half schedule and my predictions in another post here.