Given schedule, Chiefs would take a 9-7 record

By Steve Sell
April 20, 2018

For the first time, the Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC West title in back-to-back years when they defended last season.

To make it a three-peat, the Chiefs will have to navigate through choppy waters that includes five games in prime time.

The NFL announced its 2018 schedule on Thursday.

This is a crossroads season for the Chiefs. They’re entering the Patrick Mahomes era, at the same time they're saying goodbye to Alex Smith, Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, longtime staples in the Chiefs making the playoffs four of the last five years, though they have been an unmitigated disaster in postseason play with just a win over Houston to show for it.

Here’s the Chiefs’ schedule and predictions for each game.

• Sept. 9 •

At LA Chargers — Andy Reid has had great success against the Chargers by going 8-2. But they have a great defense and it will be the first real game of Mahomes being “the man.”

Prediction — Loss.

• Sept. 16 •

At Pittsburgh — The Steelers own the Chiefs. They are Kansas City’s kryptonite. A virtual Pittsburgh lock. And why are the Steelers seemingly on the schedule every single year?

Prediction — Loss.

• Sept. 23 •

San Francisco — Finally a home game. Most likely the Chiefs will skulk back into town 0-2 and in desperation mode. I know Jimmy G was given huge bucks to quarterback the 49ers after his white-hot finish, but it’s a game the Chiefs can’t afford to lose.

• Prediction — Win.

• Oct 1 •

At Denver — Kansas City has won five straight in the series and the Broncos hardly look like the same team with no C.J. Anderson and Aqib Talib.

• Prediction — Win.

• Oct. 7 •

Jacksonville — Until last year, this would have been the ol’ automatic on the schedule. But the Jaguars turned dangerous with their defense, almost making it to the Super Bowl. But it’s still Blake Bortels at quarterback and he’s maddeningly inconsistent. Also, this is my pick for the team most likely to regress.

• Prediction — Win.

• Oct. 14 •

At New England — The Chiefs opened their season last year by stunning the Patriots at Foxboro. Lightning won’t strike twice. Tom Brady has a long memory.

• Prediction — Loss.

• Oct. 21 •

Cincinnati — The Bengals are like the Chiefs, a team in transition. Playing at Arrowhead will be the difference.

Prediction — Win.

• Oct. 27 •

Denver — Hard to believe the Chiefs are done with the Broncos before November. Nothing much should change other than the venue.

Prediction — Win.

• Nov. 4 •

At Cleveland — We’re talking the Browns here. They could still be winless.

Prediction — Win.

• Nov. 11 •

Arizona — The Cardinals have lost several key players in the last two years.

• Prediction — Win.

• Nov. 19 •

Vs. LA Rams at Mexico City — The Chiefs will be running on fumes by this time as they look ahead to a bye week. This could get ugly.

Prediction — Loss.

• Dec. 2 •

At Oakland — Reid’s teams are always great after a bye week. But with Jon Gruden now at the helm, it’s going to be tougher.

Prediction — Loss.

• Dec. 9 •

Baltimore — The Chiefs always seem to lose to somebody at home you wouldn’t expect them to.

Prediction — Loss.

• Dec. 15 •

LA Chargers — It’s KC’s Thursday night game and LA has to travel across the country on the short week.

Prediction — Win.

• Dec. 23 •

At Seattle — I don’t care if the Seahawks’ defense has been decimated by defections. They’ll still be tough at home.

Prediction — Loss.

• Dec. 30 •

Oakland — West Coast teams hate playing in Kansas City in December.

Prediction — Win.

When you add it all up, I have the Chiefs being 9-7, which may be a tad optimistic. Given how bad the defense is expected to be and Mahomes an unknown at quarterback, a reversal of that record would not surprise me.