This Easter, the NFL loaded the Chiefs’ schedule with darn FEW cream puffs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The heart says 11-5 is doable, if every star aligns, if all that crappy, wicked January Chiefs karma stays in hibernation.
The head says 8-8.
The head, more often than not, usually wins these kinds of arguments.
Still, reality probably falls somewhere in the middle — Nine wins? Ten? — once the dust finally settles on the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2014 schedule, now that we officially know what that schedule will look like.
The slate for your defending AFC West runners-up was unveiled Wednesday night, and it’s a doozy.
Check out the first 10 weeks for The Andy Gang: A Monday-night home dance with Tom Brady (Week 4), a reunion with ex-left tackle Branden Albert (in Miami, Week 3), a bye (Week 6), and five of nine on the road — with three of those visits to teams that reached the postseason last fall.
In other words, if the Chiefs open with a 9-0 record for a second straight year, baby, they’ll have absolutely earned that bad boy.
As a general rule, the earlier you kick, the less significant you are to network executives, and, Cowboys notwithstanding, the farther you are from the NFL penthouse. On the plus side, the Chiefs’ three (minimum) prime-time games, against New England, Oakland and Denver, are the most since 2011 — the last time the club was coming off a surprise run to the playoffs the season before.
From ’11 to ’14, the Chiefs have averaged at least 2.5 night kicks. From ’07-’10, they were granted only one.
So, hey, there’s that.
But, yeah, this puppy is a word that rhymes with "rich," start to finish, just like we knew it kind of would be. With six dates against the AFC West and four more with the NFC West, that’s 10 weeks devoted to the two toughest divisions in the NFL right now. Throw in the Patriots (home, Sept. 29), the Jets (Nov. 2, home) and Steelers (road, Dec. 21) and, unlike last Easter, you’ve got to dig — really dig — to find the cream puffs in the basket.
In other words, thank your Rozelles for the Raiders (Nov. 20, away; Dec. 14, home).
Because even with the Silver and Blecch on the dance card, the Chiefs got saddled with the seventh-toughest schedule in all the NFL in terms of opponent winning percentage from the year before (.559); it’s a far cry from a year ago, when the road was kind, the slate clean, and expectations largely unknown.
The Chiefs last spring drew the seventh easiest schedule in the league, at least in terms of opponent record from ’12 (.473). As far as precedent goes, three teams tied for the seventh-toughest schedule in ’13 (.520) — the Cardinals, 49ers and Dolphins. Good news: That trio wound up averaging 10 wins among them, and none posted a losing record.
The bad: Only one, San Francisco, reached the postseason.
It can be done. Just don’t bet the house on it.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter at @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.