The Kansas City Chiefs 2021 schedule was released Wednesday evening, and there were a number of interesting things to take away from the schedule.
A Tough Opening Stretch
Four of Kansas City’s first five games include the Cleveland Browns (Week 1), the Baltimore Ravens (Week 2), the L.A. Chargers (Week 3), and the Buffalo Bills (Week 5). The Chiefs will have their hands full early on, but Kansas City also catches a break by playing these teams before they find a rhythm. During the last two seasons, Cleveland has lost its opening game of the year by blowouts. In 2019, the Titans ran over the Browns 43-13, and in 2020, Baltimore dominated Cleveland in a 38-6 win.
In Week 4, the Chiefs will have the opportunity to catch their breath when the team hosts the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Chiefs find a way to win all of these games, you could see Kansas City pick up some steam and win its first eight games.
Marquee Matchups and Primetime Games
Unsurprisingly, the Chiefs will be playing in five primetime contests and a number of matchups that will be fan-favorite games in the 2021 season.
- Week 2 at Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football on NBC
- Week 5 vs. Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football on NBC
- Week 8 vs. New York Giants on Monday Night Football on ESPN
- Week 10 at Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football on NBC
- Week 15 at Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football on FOX / NFL Network
Out of these primetime games, the two that the Chiefs should absolutely win come against the Raiders and Giants. Las Vegas’ depleted offensive line and lack of competent defense should be smooth-sailing for Kansas City. The Giants are a very inconsistent team, and quarterback Daniel Jones does not have the ability to keep up with the Chiefs’ electrifying offense.
Baltimore and Buffalo are both viewed as top threats to Kansas City in the AFC. However, in recent matchups the Chiefs have been able to handle both teams in comfortable fashion. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are 0-3 against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs despite the matchup being labeled as a rivalry. Meanwhile, Buffalo was picked by many last season to dethrone the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game, but after going down 10-0, the Chiefs went on a 38-14 run over the final three quarters of the game.
The Ravens addressed their lack of weapons with the additions of Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman, hoping that Jackson takes the next step in his game of becoming a more competent passer. The Bills focused on the defensive side of the ball by drafting two pass rushers in the draft with selections of defensive ends Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham. The Bills also possess enough firepower to trade blows with the Chiefs with Josh Allen under center and Stefon Diggs outside.
In Week 15, the Chiefs will travel to Los Angeles to take on Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This offseason, the Chargers addressed their offensive line issue with the acquisition of center Corey Linsley and drafted Rashawn Slater 13th overall. Los Angeles has talent all over the field on both sides of the ball, and they should be Kansas City’s top threat in the AFC West.
Non-Primetime Games to Watch
In addition to those games, there are a couple of matchups that will be highly regarded that aren’t on primetime. The first of these games comes in Week 9 when the Chiefs host the Green Bay Packers at Arrowhead. Depending on what happens with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ front office, this will be the first time Patrick Mahomes and Rodgers face off head-to-head. Kansas City went up against Green Bay on Oct. 27, 2019, but Mahomes was unable to play because of a knee injury. Rodgers would pull out a 31-24 win over the Chiefs. The Chiefs and Packers each possess top offenses in the league, and both teams should be able to move up and down the field all day in a high-profile matchup.
Week 11 will be another opportunity for fireworks when Kansas City hosts the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 21. Last offseason, Mahomes was given a contract that will pay him $45 million annually. Dak Prescott was given a payday this offseason with a 4-year, $160 million deal that will pay the 27-year-old quarterback roughly $40 million per season. Both teams pride themselves on the offensive side of the ball, and should be a game that will surpass the over/under.
Overview of Chiefs Schedule
Overall, the Chiefs 2021 schedule should be viewed as one that will definitely bring on tough opponents and electrifying games. However, it is widely expected that Kansas City should win 12+ games every season as long as Mahomes is under center. The toughest stretch of the season is those first few weeks, as the Chiefs will face four AFC teams with the ability to give them an early loss.
When looking at the schedule, Weeks 6-11 is a stretch of games where the Chiefs can rattle off four to five wins. Three of those games in that span come against the Washington Football Team, the New York Giants, and the Dallas Cowboys. All three are from the NFC East and they do not particularly match up well against the Chiefs. Kansas City hosts Green Bay in a game that could end up going either way, and will be the game the Chiefs are most likely to lose in this stretch.
Kansas City should be able to come out on top against the Titans and Raiders, as both teams do not possess a great amount of firepower. The Titans lost offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to Atlanta, and failed to add weapons around Ryan Tannehill after losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith in free agency. Tennessee will be heavily reliant on Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown on the offensive side of the ball. Las Vegas will be a team that will struggle this year, and we could see the end of the Derek Carr-Jon Gruden duo in Vegas after this season.
The Chiefs 2021 season schedule is not too difficult, but there will be challenges throughout the season that could give Kansas City a hiccup or two.
–Logan Lazarczyk | arrowheadaddict.com