These Chiefs are an especially hard-to-figure bunch, and this can be proven by pointing out that there are logical cases for them to be anything from 4-12 to 11-5.
: The Chiefs’ two biggest problems last year were a terrible head coach and worse quarterbacks. They’ve addressed both issues, gotten younger on the offensive line, and deeper in the secondary — another glaring weakness from last year. Justin Houston is ready for a star turn, and Dontari Poe looks like he’ll be a beast. Plus, look: they play nine games against the worst eight teams in the NFL^. The Chiefs will take care of the ball, and surely force more turnovers than they did last year. Every year there’s a worst-to-first team, and we’re not even asking for that. Just worst-to-11-wins, which will probably be a game or two behind the Broncos.
^ At least, the worst eight teams in ESPN’s first power rankings .
This might even be generous, considering it’s more than double last year’s sorry win total. The offensive line has issues, and if that continues it severely limits what their best player (Jamaal Charles) and most important player (Alex Smith) can do. Plus, who’s catching passes downfield other than Dwayne Bowe? Smith has a long injury history, and Chase Daniel didn’t do much in the preseason to earn confidence. Last year, even playing a bend-but-don’t-break type of system, only four defenses gave up more plays of 20 or more yards. How’s that gonna look now that the Chiefs are attacking more? And don’t give me the schedule argument. Nothing is more worthless in October than your analysis of what an NFL schedule looked like in August.
So, anyway, what I’m saying here is that nobody knows what this Chiefs team will look like in four months once the season’s over. Actually, nobody can really be sure what they’ll look like in four weeks. Three wins is as easy to imagine as three losses.
But, whatever. Here’s how the season’s going, an update on thetwo-part speculation
we did back in July. This one’s better because, you know, we have more information and stuff. We’re going to do this one a bit different. Instead of scores, like we did last time, we’re going with degree of certainty.
As always, please do me a solid and forget these predictions as soon as you read them, mmm-K?
at Jaguars, Sept. 8. This sounds so silly when you’re looking at this from the view of a 2-14 team playing on the road, but, c’mon. The Jaguars are terrible. They’re really sticking with Blaine Gabbert
as quarterback. Not that it matters much. With Justin Blackmon suspended, Jacksonville’s top receivers are Cecil Shorts III and Ace Sanders. But at least their defense ranked 29th in points and 30th in yards last year. I just feel bad for London. They’re getting a crappy team here in a few years. So win, 80 percent.
vs. Cowboys, Sept. 15
. The Chiefs are talking about this being the biggest crowd since the last playoff game, maybe even longer. The problem, of course, is that a lot of them will be Cowboys fans because terrible. If you buy into preseasons, the Cowboys looked really good on offense against the Bengals in week 3 — the least meaningless of preseason games. Should be a good test for the Chiefs defense. If this was any week other than the home opener, I’d pick the Cowboys. So win, 55 percent.
at Eagles, Sept. 19.
The Eagles are, perhaps, the biggest unknown in the NFL. Not just in how good or bad they’ll be, but just how they’ll look — how much Oregon is Chip Kelly really bringing with him? If playing the Cowboys for the home opener pushed that to a win for me, playing AT Philly on a short week pushes this to a loss for me. So loss, 60 percent.
vs. Giants, Sept. 29. The Giants are probably not quite
as good as their reputation plus, if history holds, the Chiefs are getting them in their annual stink-it-up-so-the-tabloids-start-calling-for-Coughlin’s-job part of the season. But the Giants are still better than the Chiefs, with the better quarterback. Speaking of quarterbacks, Alex Smith played what might’ve been his worst game in five seasons against the Giants last year. So loss, 65 percent.
at Titans, Oct. 6.
Remember that bit about the Giants having the better quarterback? This is one of seven games the Chiefs play against worse quarterbacks than Alex Smith^. One more reason for optimism. So win, 65 percent.
^ At least according to Ron Jaworski’s rankings .
vs. Raiders, Oct. 13.
Whenever I talk about the Raiders playing at Arrowhead I am morally obligated to say this: the Raiders — THE RAIDERS!!! — have won two games at Arrowhead more recently than the Chiefs have. The Chiefs last beat the Raiders at home in 2005. Eddie Kennison was the leading receiver on that team. Then again, the Raiders just announced Terrelle Pryor would be their starting quarterback. So win, 75 percent.
vs. Texans, Oct. 20.
The Texans are way better than the Chiefs. Let’s just move on. So loss, 75 percent.
vs. Browns, Oct. 27.
I’m actually curious how this season goes for them. On the one hand, Brandon Weeden is bad. On the other, Norv Turner is the offensive coordinator and Norv ALWAYS does well with quarterbacks. Speaking of coordinators, Ray Horton is pretty good on defense. The Browns could surprise some folks this year. So win, 60 percent.
at Bills, Nov. 3.
Every bit of logic says the Chiefs will win this game. The Bills are bad, very bad, and will be playing a rookie quarterback who comes out of a draft where NOBODY liked the quarterbacks. I do think, however, that by November the game will have slowed down a bit for Manuel and, I’m sorry, I can’t get the vision of the last two curb-stompings the Chiefs have taken from the Bills. So loss, 60 percent.
at Broncos, Nov. 17.
Even with a bye week to prepare, does anyone expect the Chiefs to win this game? Other than the immediate families of coaches and players? So loss, 80 percent.
vs. Chargers, Nov. 24.
I’m tired of the Chargers, and with that old roster, they’re only going to grow more tired. Phillip Rivers has thrown 35 interceptions the last two years, and if #CoachBobSuttonsAttackingStyle is to have any success, this would seem to be a good time for it. So win, 65 percent.
vs. Broncos, Dec. 1.
I probably just have a bad memory, but how many times have two teams played twice in three weeks? Depending on how it happens, this could actually be a break for the Chiefs. Say they go to Denver and get beat by two or three touchdowns, don’t you think the Broncos will be susceptible to an upset at Arrowhead a few weeks later? Especially if the crowd is into it? I have no information about whether this translates to the NFL, but there’s a great college basketball betting fact that’s something like: when teams lose to a conference opponent by 10 or more points on the road and THEN play as underdogs at home they win more than half the time. I realize the absurdity of pulling out a random college basketball betting fact when talking about the NFL, but then, I also realize the absurdity of picking an entire season’s worth of games before the first one. Especially when I go on and on like this and don’t even have the guts to pick the upset. So loss, 60 percent.
at Washington, Dec. 8.
After that last one, let’s make this one quick. RG3, if he’s healthy, and on the road. So loss, 65 percent.
at Raiders, Dec. 15.
Guys, the Raiders are REALLY going to stink this year and Jadeveon Clowney is going to hate seeing all those losses pile up. Maybe Pryor will stink bad enough that the Raiders will want to take Teddy Bridgewater. So win, 60 percent.
vs. Colts, Dec. 22.
Depending on where the Chiefs are in the standings, this has every chance to be a pittance of a crowd. And depending on how Eric Fisher is doing by now, there is every chance that you’ll be hearing a week’s worth of the-Chiefs-got-a-right-tackle-the-year-between-the-No.-1-pick-being-Andrew-Freaking-Luck-and-Jadeveon-Freaking-Clowney talk. So loss, 55 percent.
at Chargers, Dec. 29.
To win this game on the road, the Chiefs need to be the kind of team you can trust on the road. I’m not sure they’re there, yet. So loss, 55 percent.
So, this scientific exercise has the Chiefs going 7-9 and, because you care, I’m slightly more confident in the wins (65.7 percent) than the losses (63.9 percent).
Boy, that solved everything. Real NFL games, come quick.