At the beginning of the season we noted the Chiefs needed to do well in the first nine games of the season in order to have a realistic shot at the playoffs. This was concluded based on how difficult the back end of the Chiefs schedule is and how many poor teams littered the first nine games of the season.
Here’s what we said way back when the schedule was released in April.
If the Chiefs make the playoffs it will be decided in the first nine weeks.
Kansas City will play only one playoff team from the 2012 season, the Houston Texans, in the first nine weeks of the season, and six opponents will be drafting in the top of the draft next week. This could be the soft opening schedule the Chiefs need to pad their record for a potential run at a playoff spot.
The theory behind this still remains true, but with one caveat: Kansas City beat Philly on the road.
A road win on Thursday night in a hostile environment was not supposed to equal a victory for the Chiefs. In fact, road teams are 25-39 in Thursday night games after Kansas City’s win. That’s a .390 winning percentage for the road team. To expect the Chiefs to win that game before the season started would have required one to be betting against the odds.
But the Chiefs did beat those odds, and now sit 3-0 with some of the easiest games on their schedule coming up after their home game against the Giants one week from Sunday. Here’s what the Chiefs have before their bye week:
SEP 29: vs Giants
OCT 6: at Titans
OCT 13: vs Raiders
OCT 20: vs Texans
OCT 27: vs Browns
NOV 3: at Bills
Kansas City needed to start at least 6-3 if they wanted a serious shot at making the playoffs this season. They are already half way to six wins with games against the Raiders and Browns still on the board. The Chiefs would need only one road win against the Titans or Bills to get to that six-win mark.
But as the fortunes have changed, so have the outlooks of the two toughest games on the Chiefs schedule.
The Giants are off to an incredibly rocky start, turning the ball over 10 times in their first two games of the season. If they do not beat the Panthers this weekend, they’ll be 0-3 and in a near insurmountable hole when it comes to playoff chances.
We already know the Chiefs will be 3-0 heading into that game. Do you think Arrowhead trumps the “back against the wall” mentality the Giants will be coming in with?
Houston has been a little uneven in their start to the season. They required a gift from Philip Rivers and the Chargers to win in week one, and then required overtime to beat the Titans. Arian Foster has struggled getting going and Andre Johnson suffered a concussion against Tennessee. And Matt Schaub? Well, he’s definitely a beatable quarterback when factoring in KC’s pass rush.
All of this isn’t to say the Chiefs will go 9-0, but a seven win start looks like a really strong possibility for the Chiefs. And a seven win start should equal a wild card spot, at least, for Kansas City.