Red Zone

Predicting the Chiefs’ 2015 NFL season, game-by-game

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) scores a touchdown ahead of Tennessee Titans safety Da’Norris Searcy (21) during Friday's football game on August 28, 2015 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) scores a touchdown ahead of Tennessee Titans safety Da’Norris Searcy (21) during Friday's football game on August 28, 2015 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. DEULITT@KCSTAR.COM

The Star’s Terez A. Paylor makes his predictions for the 2015 Chiefs season, which features a tough early schedule, with seven of the first 10 games away from Arrowhead Stadium.

(This story is part of The Kansas City Star’s Football 2015 special section that publishes Sunday, Aug. 30. Pick one up and check out more here.)

Sept. 13 at Houston

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (1-0)

Moving the ball against J.J. Watt and the Texans’ defense will be no picnic, but the Chiefs’ offense should fare better than Brian Hoyer leading the Texans’ offense against Justin Houston and the Chiefs’ defense.

Sept. 17 vs. Denver

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

W (2-0)

The late addition of free-agent guard Evan Mathis will help a mess of an offensive line, but Denver is beatable. Andy Reid is 0-4 against the Broncos as a Chief, so it’s a safe bet he’ll pull out some of his best stuff to win this primetime showdown.

Sept. 28 at Green Bay

7:30 p.m., ESPN

L (2-1)

Green Bay may not have star receiver Jordy Nelson, who recently tore his ACL, but they still have stud quarterback Aaron Rodgers. And while this will be another statement game for the Chiefs, it’s a lot to expect them to go into Lambeau Field and beat Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, especially with No. 1 corner Sean Smith still serving his three-game suspension.

Oct. 4 at Cincinnati

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

L (2-2)

The Bengals aren’t world-beaters by any means, but they are a capable football team that has made the playoffs the last four years under coach Marvin Lewis. That’s three more times than the Chiefs have over that span, if you’re counting at home. A coin-flip game.

Oct. 11 vs. Chicago

Noon, Fox (Ch. 4)

W (3-2)

The Chiefs should get back on the right track with a win against former Broncos nemesis John Fox, who is just getting his program started in Chicago.

Oct. 18 at Minnesota

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (4-2)

This is a dangerous game, as Vikings running back Adrian Peterson can run wild at any time. But second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, while talented, could have a tough day against the Chiefs’ strong pass rush.

Oct. 25 vs. Pittsburgh

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

L (4-3)

This game is going to be a war, just like the one they played last December. The Steelers’ defense always plays with a certain physicality, and it remains to be seen if the Chiefs’ offensive line is prepared to match it.

Nov. 1 vs. Detroit (in London)

8:30 a.m, Fox (Ch. 4)

W (5-3)

Chiefs fans are going to be irate — and rightfully so — if their team loses this game, which should have been at Arrowhead. But it’s going to be a coin flip. Detroit is equipped to handle the Chiefs’ pass rush, and the Lions’ defense should be solid, even without Ndamukong Suh. But the hunch here is Reid will pull out all the stops to win this one.

Nov. 15 at Denver

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

L (5-4)

Whatever boost the Chiefs stand to get from having an open date Nov. 8 will likely be wiped out by the fact they had to travel more than 8,000 miles round-trip to play in London. Even if the Broncos are a tad diminished this season, it’s hard to predict a Chiefs sweep this year.

Nov. 22 at San Diego

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

L (5-5)

This road trip could get even tougher for the Chiefs, who have to face a very competitive San Diego team in prime time. The last two games between these two in Southern California have been very close, with the Chiefs winning the last one. It’s time the pendulum swung back to the other side.

Nov. 29 vs. Buffalo

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (6-5)

The Chiefs should win this game — it’s hard to imagine any of Buffalo’s quarterbacks (including Matt Cassel) coming into Arrowhead and winning — but man, the Bills’ defensive front is intimidating. If the Chiefs’ offensive line isn’t much better this year, the Bills could control the game up front and steal a victory.

Dec. 6 at Oakland

3:05 p.m., CBS (Ch. 5)

L (6-6)

The Raiders are on an upward plane thanks to a decent mix of young talent. The Chiefs are the superior team, at least on paper, but NFL teams always seem to lose at least one game they probably shouldn’t.

Dec. 13 vs. San Diego

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (7-6)

Chances are, this is going to be a really important game for each team’s playoff hopes. The Chiefs should have the weather on their side in this one, and the guess is they’ll earn a split of the season series.

Dec. 20 at Baltimore

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

L (7-7)

The Chiefs are probably better equipped to handle a physical AFC North team in December than they were a year ago, but the Ravens have toughness in spades and should be the favorite in this battle between two possible playoff squads.

Dec. 27 vs. Cleveland

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (8-7)

It’s the return of receiver Dwayne Bowe! It would be funny/ironic if The Bowe Show found a way to catch a touchdown pass in his return to Arrowhead, but the Chiefs are still the superior team.

Jan. 3 vs. Oakland

Noon, CBS (Ch. 5)

W (9-7)

It’s the return of center Rodney Hudson! This reunion, however, won’t attract as much attention as the one the week before. The Chiefs could be playing for a playoff berth while the Raiders won’t, and that’s enough to give them the edge.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @TerezPaylor. Tap here to download the new Red Zone Extra app for iOS and Android devices.

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