The Kansas City Chiefs have nowhere to go but up in 2013. The team finished 2-14 in 2012, tied for the worst record in the league.
Fortunately, things are looking better in Kansas City. The Chiefs changed their head coach and quarterback, adding Andy Reid and Alex Smith to hopefully get things turned in the right direction. There was already plenty of talent on the roster, and the team improved even more during the offseason with these changes.
There's reason for optimism this year for the Chiefs. Now that their fully detailed schedule has been released, let's take a look at the matchups they'll have to overcome for a turnaround season and a potential trip to the playoffs.
|2013 Kansas City Chiefs Schedule|
|1||Sept. 8 ||@ Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|2||Sept. 15 ||vs. Dallas Cowboys||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|3||Sept. 19 ||@ Philadelphia Eagles||8:25 p.m.||NFL|
|4||Sept. 29||vs. New York Giants||1:00 p.m.||FOX|
|5||Oct. 6||@ Tennessee Titans||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|6||Oct. 13||vs. Oakland Raiders||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|7||Oct. 20||vs. Houston Texans||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|8||Oct. 27||vs. Cleveland Browns||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|9||Nov. 3||@ Buffalo Bills||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|11||Nov. 17||@ Denver Broncos||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|12||Nov. 24||vs. San Diego Chargers||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|13||Dec. 1||vs. Denver Broncos||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|14||Dec. 8||@ Washington Redskins||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|15||Dec. 15||@ Oakland Raiders||4:05 p.m.||CBS|
|16||Dec. 22 ||vs. Indianapolis Colts||1:00 p.m.||CBS|
|17||Dec. 29 ||@ San Diego Chargers||4:25 p.m.||CBS|
Note: For a complete look at Kansas City's 2013 schedule, check out NFL.com.
The Chiefs have a manageable schedule, with just five games this season against playoff teams from a year ago (two games against the Denver Broncos, the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts at home and the Washington Redskins away).
Four division games against the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers will all be winnable—as will AFC contests against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills. However, facing the NFC East will be a challenge.
Still, the Chiefs will get the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys at home. This is the type of schedule that could aid Kansas City's rebound from being the NFL's worst team to a potential 10-6 squad that earns a wild-card berth.
Most Pivotal Matchup
I'm tempted to write that the matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, in Philly, is the most important game for the team this year, as new coach Andy Reid will face the team he coached for 14 years. However, that game will likely be more meaningful in Philadelphia than it will be in Kansas City.
Instead, the two meetings against the Denver Broncos are what really stand out. If you believe the Chiefs could be a playoff team this season and even compete for the AFC West title—and I believe they have that potential—how the team handles an elite Broncos squad will be vitally important.
The addition of Wes Welker will give the Broncos arguably the best offense in football, and Von Miller and company are stingy defensively, even with the loss of Elvis Dumervil. The Broncos will be the biggest test for the Chiefs in 2013, and how they handle the reigning division champs will say a lot about their playoff chances.