Forty-four weeks ago, Andy Reid became the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Thirty-six weeks ago, Alex Smith shifted alliances via trade from San Francisco to Kansas City. Nine weeks ago, you were looking at the Chiefs’ schedule feeling highly optimistic about a 6-10 season. Right now, I am reassuring you that the Chiefs are 9-0.
However, the NFL season consist of sixteen games. Seven more games need to be played before the end of the regular season. These seven games are some of the most difficult on the Chiefs’ schedule, and then arranging them over the final weeks of the season would provide so much pressure on any head coach that his mustache might fall off due to the shear stress.
The Chiefs have only three games left in Arrowhead Stadium: two against division rivals Denver and San Diego, and one against Indianapolis. These teams are arguably the three toughest teams that the Chiefs still have to play. Then there are the road games which consist of trips to the Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Denver, and San Diego.
Kansas City has beaten nine consecutive teams. Those nine teams have a combined record of 27-49. That’s a winning percentage of 0.355; those teams lose two thirds of the games they play. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars really lowers the combined winning percentage. Just for reference, let’s take out the Jaguar’s record of 0-8. The combined record is now 27-41 (0.397), which still isn’t much better. The first nine teams that the Chiefs played were some of the worst teams in the league.
Now let’s look at the combined record of the teams the Chiefs have yet to play. Using Denver’s and San Diego’s records twice, those five remaining teams are 34-22 (0.607). That’s a veritable death trap. November and December bring a challenge to the Chiefs that they have not experienced yet. I want to be optimistic about the next seven games, but it’s the kind of schedule that gives the fan a sense of anxiety. One where they say, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Of those games, the trip into Denver is, hands down, the hardest. Don’t you dare put a comment saying otherwise. Peyton Manning is on fire. Now this is a downgrade compared to the way he started the season. Manning started 2013 like no other quarterback ever has: his offense scored 343 points in eight games, the most ever for a team after eight weeks. Playing the game at altitude will give the Chiefs even more of a disadvantage. As much as I want the Chiefs to win this game and remain undefeated, I just don’t see it happening. This primetime Sunday night game is the end of the Chiefs’ streak.
The Chargers will put up a fight. Philip Rivers is currently ranked third in QBR, the stat that measure a quarterback’s overall performance, and owns the highest completion percentage in the league. The Chiefs have a chance to still beat the Chargers. Kansas City possess one of the best passing defenses in the league. Not only does this defense match up well against Rivers but also Manning and Andrew Luck as well.
Then there are two other road games against Washington and Oakland. The Redskins started off the season in a rut but are climbing back out of it week by week. Just this last Sunday, the Redskins beat the Chargers. I’m not a fan of saying one team is better than another. Sure, they might have beat them once, but have them play ten times and the result won’t be the same, but the Redskins did get the win over San Diego. Does this mean that Washington is more of a threat than the Bolts? It’s hard to say, especially since they outcome of that game was so close. What we can determine from that game is that both of those teams are competitive, and the Redskins are playing good football again.
If there is an “easiest” game to which I can point, I might have to say the game in Oakland against the Raiders. How in the world is Oakland’s Black Hole considered the easiest game on the schedule? It was a tough call, but they’re the team with the worst record, and that’s about the only reason why this game is the easiest.
I’m not trying to be gloom and doom. I still expect wins for the Chiefs. But those wins are going to be hard to earn. Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic by thinking a 3-4 record over these seven games is reasonable. I hope to be proven wrong.