Kansas City got off to a 9-0 start last year but looking at it now that was certainly fool's gold. The Chiefs didn't beat a team all season that finished with a winning record. The slide started in Week 11 in Denver, a 10-point defeat. That started a three-game losing streak that appeared to be fixed in Weeks 14 & 15 when Kansas City put up a combined 101 points in blowouts at Washington and Oakland. However, then the Chiefs lost at home to the Colts, managing only seven points, and in overtime at San Diego. That gave the Chargers the AFC's final playoff spot. In the wild-card game against the Colts, Kansas City blew a 38-10 third-quarter lead and lost 45-44. It was the second largest playoff comeback victory in NFL history. K.C. lost star running back Jamaal Charles to a concussion on the first possession but offense wasn't the problem. It was Kansas City's eighth straight playoff loss, the longest skid in the NFL.
Reid was runner-up to Carolina's Ron Rivera for Coach of the Year honors. Alex Smith showed his resurgence with the 49ers wasn't a fluke as he threw for 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. Charles remains one of the best backs in the league. He rushed for 1,287 yards and 12 scores while leading the team with 70 catches.
Key Offseason Moves
When looking all the experts' grades in free agency, they were all unanimous that the Chiefs were big losers. Kansas City lost three starting offensive linemen in Branden Albert (last year's No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher will now start at left tackle even though he looked overwhelmed as a rookie), Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz. Receiver Dexter McCluster took his 53 catches and excellent return ability to Tennessee. Defensive end Tyson Jackson (four sacks) signed with the Falcons, linebacker Akeem Jordan (67 tackles) is now a Washington Redskin and safety Kendrick Lewis (56 tackles) a Houston Texan. The only major additions weren't very major: offensive lineman Jeffrey Linkenbach from Indianapolis, linebacker Joe Mays (67 tackles) from Houston and defensive tackle Vance Walker (three sacks) from Oakland. It's hard to see how this team is better. The receiving group is really weak outside of Dwayne Bowe. Look for the team to address that in the draft.
2014 Schedule (all
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 7, Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 14, at Denver, 4:25 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 21, at Miami, 4:25 p.m.
Week 4: Monday, Sept. 29, New England, 8:30 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 5, at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 19, at San Diego, 4:05 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 26, St. Louis, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 2, NY Jets, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 9, at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 16, Seattle, 1 p.m.
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 20, at Oakland, 8:25 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Nov. 30, Denver, 8:30 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 7, at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 14, Oakland, 1 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 21, at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 28, San Diego, 1 p.m.
Kansas City has the seventh-toughest strength of schedule with an opponents' 2013 winning percentage of .559. On the bright side, that's the easiest of the four AFC West teams. The Chiefs have seven games against playoff teams. K.C. is a 6-point favorite on NFL odds for the opener against Tennessee. The Chiefs won 26-17 in Nashville during Week 5 last year. The Titans rallied from a 13-0 halftime deficit to take a 17-13 lead early in the fourth quarter on a Ryan Fitzpatrick 9-yard TD run -- he was starting for an injured Jake Locker. But Charles gave K.C. the lead for good on a 1-yard run with 6:23 left. He rushed for 108 yards on the day.
The Chiefs better win that opener because what follows is a very hard four-game stretch with three games against four of last year's conference finalists in the Broncos (who swept the Chiefs rather easily last year), Patriots and 49ers. That matchup with New England features the only two active coaches in Reid and Bill Belichick who have beaten every NFL team at least once. Of course the Niners matchup features Smith against his former team. If Kansas City can get to the bye no worse than 2-3 it might be OK as the schedule is a bit easier after that.
NFL Free Picks: Under 8.5 wins on NFL odds. This will not be the final unbeaten team again this year. The offense just doesn't have enough playmakers to scare teams. The defense should be solid enough to keep the Chiefs in many games, but this looks like a 7-9 club.