*Photo Credit: HomeAdvisor

2016 Record: 12-4

NFL Draft: Rd 1- QB, Pat Mahomes; Rd 2- DE, Tanoh Kpassagnon; Rd 3- RB, Karemm Hunt; Rd 4- WR, Jehu Chesson; Rd 5- LB, Ukeme Eligwe; Rd 6- S, Leon McQuay

Pitt Players: None

Team Overview:

The Chiefs’ 2016 season ended after a devastating loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who won without scoring a single touchdown.  The Chiefs are a good team, but they only won the AFC West last year because Derek Carr’s injury hindered the Oakland Raiders.  Had Carr not been injured, Kansas City would’ve played the Texans in the Wild Card game, and Oakland would have been the 2 Seed in the AFC.  This is a good football team, but lacks sufficient star power to win a Super Bowl. That said, I think the Chiefs have positioned themselves to be a playoff team once again this year.

Kansas City stunned the entire NFL during the draft when they traded up to take Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes.  This move made it clear that Alex Smith’s time in KC is limited, and the clock is ticking until Mahomes assumes the starting job.  I am unsure as to whether the Mahomes pick will impact the cohesion of this roster, but if the Chiefs are losing big in a one game, the fans might start cheering for their rookie QB to come in the game.  Like I said, the Chiefs don’t have much star power, and Travis Kelce is Rob Gronkowski-lite at best.  If you shut Kelce down, there really aren’t too many options left for Smith to target.  Their wide receiving core is nameless, and if everyone is focusing on Tyreek Hill I do not know who their next man up will be.  This team also lost Jamaal Charles this offseason, so the starting running back position is up for grabs.

Defensively, the Chiefs are an above average team.  Like most of this team, the success of the unit depends on the strength of the coaching.  The only real studs on this side of the ball are Eric Berry and Marcus Peters, but aside from them the Chiefs other big names are getting old.  I think this unit is going to take a step back this year, which will hurt them in the most competitive division in the league.  In a really strong AFC the Chiefs seem bound to make the playoffs, but they’ll have to win their way through a difficult schedule this year.

Game by Game Predictions:

Week 1: Away at the New England Patriots

This is not the way any team wants to start their season.  The Patriots outmatch the Chiefs in every way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if New England wins by two touchdowns.

Predicted Score: 28-14 Patriots (Current Record: 0-1)

Week 2: Home vs the Philadelphia Eagles

Andy Reid will look to best his former team in Week 2.  I called this one for the Chiefs in my Eagles piece, and I’ll stick with that pick.  The Chiefs have a better defense than Philly, and the Eagles lack a strong enough defense to hold down Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.  A win here will be big for this team.

Predicted Score: 28-17 Chiefs (Current Record: 1-1)

Week 3: Away at the Los Angeles Chargers

This will be a crucial game early in the season, and the two games against the Chargers are must-wins. The Chiefs will likely split their series with the Broncos, but I can see them getting swept by Oakland. If that’s the case, then Kansas City has to play this one with an urgency, a loss here could put more pressure on them down the road.  The Chargers have a good offseason and are definitely a team that’s capable of an upset here.  Overall, Kansas City is a better team and I think they’ll win a close one in LA.

Predicted Score: 24-21 Chiefs (Current Record: 2-1)

Week 4: Home vs the Washington Redskins

Nothing about the Redskins’ team this year leads me to second guess a Chiefs’ victory here.  Kansas City will win with ease on Monday Night Football.

Predicted Score: 27-14 Chiefs (Current Record: 3-1)

Week 5: Away at the Houston Texans

In my piece about the Texans, I said this would be a loss for Houston.  I’ll stick with my original pick.

Predicted Score: 24-21 Chiefs (Current Record: 4-1)

Week 6: Home vs the Pittsburgh Steelers

The Chiefs will look to avenge their embarrassing loss to the Steelers in the playoffs last year.  We all know that Arrowhead Stadium will be especially loud for this one.  I think the Chiefs will make a statement win against Pittsburgh as they try to show the league that their playoff loss was a fluke.

Predicted Score: 13-7 Chiefs (Current Record: 5-1)

Week 7: Away at the Oakland Raiders

A short week before playing the Oakland Raiders? Ouch.  I think people will be saying this game is going to be close, but I just can’t see that.  The Raiders are a far better team on both sides of the ball, and will show the league that the AFC West is theirs.

Predicted Score: 35-24 Raiders (Current Record: 5-2)

Week 8: Home vs the Denver Broncos

This will be a huge game for the Chiefs after their loss to the Raiders.  An 11 day rest is extra sweet, especially going into a divisional game.  Kansas City will win their first battle against the Broncos, but watch out for Denver this year, I think they’re gonna be a good team.

Predicted Score: 21-17 Chiefs (Current Record: 6-2)

Week 9: Away at the Dallas Cowboys

After going 13-3 last year, everyone in the league is questioning whether Dallas is for real.  I don’t see them putting together another spectacular season as they did in 2016, but Dallas clearly has a better offense than the Chiefs.  This will be a tough loss on the road for the Chiefs right before their bye-week.

Predicted Score: 21-9 Cowboys (Current Record: 6-3)

Week 10: Bye-Week

The Chiefs get a well-placed bye-week in a season riddled with tough matchups.  Kansas City goes into their week of rest with a 6-3 record, which is comfortable considering their tough division.  However, none of their remaining games seem like guaranteed wins besides their matchup with the Jets, so it’s a bumpy road ahead.

Current Predicted Record: 6-3

Week 11: Away at the New York Giants

The New York Giants are simply a better team than the Kansas City Chiefs.  I have my doubts about Eli Manning, but it’s a lot to ask of any defense to cover Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Sheppard.  I think the Chiefs will lose by two scores in their first visit to MetLife.

Predicted Score: 31-21 Giants (Current Record: 6-4)

Week 12: Home vs the Buffalo Bills

The Bills aren’t a good team.  Then again, we’ve been saying this for the past 17 years.  This should be an easy win for Kansas City.

Predicted Score: 21-9 Chiefs (Current Record: 7-4)

Week 13: Home vs the New York Jets

The Jets stink.  Let me repeat myself, the Jets REALLY stink.  As a New Jersey native, I’m happy they’re called the “New York” Jets, because I don’t want their stink on my home.  Too bad their stadium is in the Garden State.  Regardless, Kansas City wins in their second visit to MetLife Stadium.

Predicted Score: 31-3 Chiefs (Current Record: 8-4)

Week 14: Home vs the Oakland Raiders

We know that Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking in this decisive game.  This game could all but seal the AFC West for Oakland, who I think will sweep the West this year.  The Chiefs simply do not have the talent necessary to beat a young, dangerous Raiders team.

Predicted Score: 14-6 Raiders (Current Record: 8-5)

Week 15: Home vs the Los Angeles Chargers

Ready for a hot take? The Los Angeles Chargers will defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15 of the 2017 season.  I said LA is sneaky good, and they’ll throw the Chiefs’ playoff aspirations in doubt at Arrowhead.

Predicted Score: 16-10 (OT) Chargers (Current Record: 8-6)

Week 16: Home vs the Miami Dolphins

On the Locker Room Podcast Episode 14, Peter said that Jay Cutler is a Super Bowl-quality quarterback.  Well, my Sports Content Director obviously has never watched the man play football.  The nervous Chiefs will best the Cutler-led Dolphins in this late season matchup.

Predicted Score: 24-10 Chiefs (Current Record: 9-6)

Week 17: Away at the Denver Broncos

I said on the Locker Room Podcast Episode 13 that the Broncos will make the playoffs this year.  I think both Denver and Kansas City will be the Wild Card teams for the AFC this year.  This matchup will decide who is the 5 Seed and the 6 Seed.  This is a home game for Denver, and I said they’ll split the series this year.  Denver wins at home, and takes the 5 Seed.

Predicted Score: 14-10 Broncos (Current Record: 9-7)

Final Results:

The Chiefs lack a “wow” factor that the teams at the upper echelon of the AFC possess.  They don’t have their own Brady, or Antonio Brown, or Derek Carr.  Kansas City is a good team, but they aren’t at the same level as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, or New England Patriots.  They don’t have the star power to defeat those teams in the playoffs.  The Chiefs seem to be a lock for the playoffs this year, but their division is tough, and I predict 4 divisional losses.  It’s a tough task for any team to play 7 teams that made the playoffs the year prior (8 games since the Raiders are in the same division).  Half of the Chiefs’ schedule will be against 2016 playoff teams, and that’s a tall task for a team with no real superstar.  This is a good team, not a great one.

Predicted Record: 9-7

Sam Bleifer is a student at the University of Pittsburgh (Class of 2019) who is majoring in Political Science and History, and minoring in Philosophy. Sam was born and raised in New Jersey and never stops talking about how great Newark airport is (seriously). He aspires to go into politics one day and hopes to run for office in New Jersey. Sam is the host of Spotlight and The Honesty Hour.

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