Chiefs

Can Chiefs repeat as AFC West champs? Predicting wins, losses on 2017 schedule

Can the Chiefs repeat as AFC West champions in 2017?
Can the Chiefs repeat as AFC West champions in 2017? deulitt@kcstar.com

(Editor’s note: This story is part of The Star’s annual football preview, which will appear as a special section in the Sunday, Aug. 27 print edition and also on KansasCity.com and The Star’s Red Zone Extra app.)

Thursday, Sept. 7 at New England

7:30 p.m., NBC (Ch. 41)

L (0-1)

There’s going to be lots of attention on this game, and rightfully so. Chiefs coach Andy Reid and New England coach Bill Belichick have a history, and the Patriots will receive their Super Bowl championship rings. A lot of people have already written off the Chiefs in this one, so they’ll enter with very little pressure. And the bet here is they’ll actually play pretty well, maybe well enough to win. But it’s hard to pick the Chiefs when the Patriots still have Belichick and Tom Brady, especially in a home game.

Kansas City Star sportswriters Blair Kerkhoff, Sam Mellinger, Terez Paylor and Vahe Gregorian offer their predictions for the 2017 Chiefs season and players in this excerpt of their Red Zone Extra Facebook Live from St. Joseph.

Sunday, Sept. 17 vs. Philadelphia

Noon, Fox (Ch. 4)

W (1-1)

Reid protege Doug Pederson returns to town with a promising, talented team. Pederson, who coached under Reid in Kansas City from 2013-15, will know all of his mentor’s old tricks, but that goes both ways. The Eagles could potentially run against the Chiefs with their strong offensive line, but it’s hard to imagine a Reid-coached team — especially one this talented — starting 0-2. Reid’s teams have only started 0-2 three times (1999, 2003 and 2007) in his 18 years.

Sunday, Sept. 24 at Los Angeles Chargers

3:25 p.m., CBS (Ch. 5)

W (2-1)

The hard-luck Chargers lost their second-round pick (offensive lineman Forrest Lamp) for the year because of injury, and fans of the team are already cringing about Keenan Allen’s always-creaky knees. Speaking of Allen, he and Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters have a history, and the super-competitive Peters is going to be amped up for this one. The full Marcus Peters experience could be in effect for this one as the Chiefs stretch their AFC West winning streak to 12.

Monday, Oct. 2 vs. Washington

7:30 p.m., ESPN

W (3-1)

After a tumultuous offseason headlined by the surprising firing of their general manager, Scot McCloughan — sound familiar? — Washington is a bit of a mess again. There’s talent in D.C., and Washington could very well give the Chiefs a game, but the guess here is the Chiefs catch their opponent looking toward their upcoming bye (just like the Steelers did to the Chiefs last year in an embarrassing 43-14 drilling, which was also in primetime).

Sunday, Oct. 8 at Houston

7:30 p.m., NBC (Ch. 41)

L (3-2)

The Chiefs will play in Houston for the fifth time in three seasons. They had won the last three matchups there before losing last year in Week 5. This one is a toss up, and it is certainly a winnable game for the Chiefs, but the Texans can run the ball effectively, and their defense is good enough to contain the Chiefs’ playmakers.

Sunday, Oct. 15 vs. Pittsburgh

3:25 p.m., CBS (Ch. 5)

W (4-2)

Here’s another toss-up game, as the rough-and-tumble Steelers return to Arrowhead, the site of their 18-16 victory over the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round in January. That loss has stuck in the Chiefs’ craw for months, and there’s a good chance they play one of their best all-around games and get revenge. There’s also a chance they get too amped up and lose. But this veteran group knows how to get up for big games, and the Chiefs will definitely want this one.

Thursday, Oct. 19 at Oakland

7:25 p.m., CBS (Ch. 5)/NFL Network/Amazon

L (4-3)

Brutal turnaround here. The Chiefs go from facing the always-physical Steelers to facing a super-motivated and very talented Oakland team in primetime only four days later. This is a tough ask for the Chiefs, and the Raiders should prevail in a game that snaps Kansas City’s AFC West winning streak at 12.

Monday, Oct. 30 vs. Denver

7:30 p.m., ESPN

W (5-3)

The Chiefs will use the Thursday night game against Oakland as a mini-bye and come back refreshed and relaxed. The Broncos still have some great defensive pieces but neither of their quarterbacks (Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch) look ready to win at Arrowhead Stadium in a rivalry game.

Sunday, Nov. 5 at Dallas

3:25 p.m., CBS (Ch. 5)

L (5-4)

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the Cowboys are uniquely qualified to attack the Chiefs’ greatest weakness last season, defending the run. Dallas boasts the league’s best offensive line, one that can overpower and out-technique you. Star runnning back Ezekiel Elliott will be back from his six-game suspension, so the guess here is the Cowboys pound the rock, play keep away and send the Chiefs into a bye week with a sour taste in their mouths.

Sunday, Nov. 19 at New York Giants

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

L (5-5)

The Chiefs have had two weeks to dwell on their Dallas loss, and yes, Reid is outstanding after the bye week in his career — 16-2. But the Giants should be pretty good this year, and making them No. 17 on Reid’s list will be easier said than done. Every NFL team deals with some degree of adversity during the season, and the guess here is that this will be the Chiefs’ moment to conquer it.

Sunday, Nov. 26 vs. Buffalo

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (6-5)

These two teams just can’t get away from each other. They’ve met eight times in the previous nine seasons. The Chiefs have fared well, too, winning all three games against the Bills with Reid at the helm. The Bills have some weapons but they also have a rookie head coach (Sean McDermott) who happens to be a protege of Reid. The bet here is the master didn’t teach the student all his tricks, and the Chiefs come away with a win.

Sunday, Dec. 3 at New York Jets

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (7-5)

There are people in the league who don’t think the Jets will win a game. By this point in the season they’ll be in full-on tank mode … unless they’re winless. At that point, the players will be going all out to save themselves from sharing ignominy with the 2008 Detroit Lions. But their effort level won’t matter here: it’s an inferior team facing a likely playoff team. Chiefs roll.

Sunday, Dec. 10 vs. Oakland

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (8-5)

The Raiders will enter with a chance to sweep the Chiefs for the first time since 2012. What’s more, they’ll be in position to seize control of the division with a win. Oakland’s time is coming, but not just yet. I’ve got the Chiefs pulling this one out (which will ultimately secure the AFC West title) and delivering the Raiders the one last bit of heartbreak they need to overtake the Chiefs in 2018.

Saturday, Dec. 16 vs. Los Angeles Chargers

7:30 p.m., NFL Network

W (9-5)

The Chiefs get the warm-weather Chargers at home in primetime in December. Count this as a win.

Sunday, Dec. 24 vs. Miami

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (10-5)

The Dolphins historically struggle in cold weather in December, of course. But on Dec. 24, 2016, the temperature in Kansas City was a somewhat-manageable 35 degrees at the time this game is scheduled, so Miami might get lucky. Regardless, the Chiefs should be good enough to win at home against a warm-weather team that will start either Jay Cutler or Matt Moore at quarterback.

Sunday, Dec. 31 at Denver

3:25 p.m., CBS (Ch. 5)

W (11-5)

A fun New Year’s Eve showdown against an archrival sounds like fun. Denver was the site of last year’s instant classic, which was capped by Cairo Santos’ game-winning field goal that doinked off the upright and through the goal post. The Broncos are not the same team they were in 2015, when they won the Super Bowl, and the Chiefs should march into Mile High with confidence as they prepare for a playoff run.

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