There's been a lot of talk surrounding the perceived difficulties of the Kansas City Chiefs 2011 schedule. I'm not buying it. And frankly, it's getting as annoying to listen to as Tim Tebow's daily depth chart updates. The only reason that it's even a concern is because the Chiefs had one of the easiest schedules of all time last season. This year, the schedule is just back to normal, that's all. So the next time you're at a party and Generic Chiefs Guy walks up to you and (inevitably) mentions the schedule in the first 30 seconds of the conversation, be sure to do all of us a favor, grab the nearest pie, and throw it at him.
Breaking down the Chiefs' 2011 opponents:
Week 1: Buffalo Bills
2010 Record: 4-12
Stock Watch: Sprouting
What's New: Mucho local ties as (former Chiefs Offensive Coordinator) Chan Chan the Man Man is gettin' Thiggy wit it in 2011. They also brought in The Hyphen, Brad Smith.
Outlook: If the Chiefs are serious about building on last year's success, the season opener at Arrowhead Stadium is a must win. However, the Bills should've beaten us at home last season and will be hungry for a victory.
Win Potential: 85%
Week 2: @Detroit Lions
2010 Record: 6-10
Stock Watch: Awakening
What's New: For starters, expectations for the Lions. Elsewhere, the Ndamukongs brought in a few nice additions (Jerome Harrison, Stephen Tulloch), but the biggest pickup was 1st rounder DT Nick Fairley (who might not yet be healthy by this game).
Outlook: This will be an excellent barometer of where both of these teams are at. The Lions will be a very popular pick as a team to surprise in 2011. There's no telling how this young group deals with expectations, but a good start will be pivotal. This is a bigger game for the Lions than it is the Chiefs.
Win Potential: 51%
Week 3: @San Diego Chargers
2010 Record: 9-7
Stock Watch: Surfacing
What's New: WR Vincent Jackson returns to the team full time (which will be huge), Takeo Spikes provides the defense with veteran leadership (which they sorely needed), and Bob Sanders could be the biggest signing of the offseason (IF he can stay healthy).
Outlook: If the Chiefs can go into this difficult road game at 2-0 (43.35% probability), they can play with a nothing to lose type of attitude. If not, this game will determine early season control of the AFC West. Either way, we won't have to watch Crodie Broyle squirm his way this game, so in a way, we all win.
Win Potential: 20%
Week 4: Minnesota Vikings
2010 Record: 6-10
Stock Watch: Trickling
What's New: Donovan F. McNasty, who is my preseason favorite for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Also, the illustrious return of Jared Allen, who I would love to hurl obscenities at for 3 1/2 hours.
Outlook: This game seems like a gimme on paper, but it's level of sandwichness scares me. My biggest worry with this Chiefs team might be their (in)ability to stop the run. Well, Adrian Peterson is bound to get abused in an LJ type of way this year. Plus, I don't think the Chiefs have ever beaten a McNabb led team.
Win Potential: 68%
Week 5: @Indianapolis Colts
2010 Record: 10-6
Stock Watch: Descending
What's New: Peyton Manning done falled down and hurted his neck. His status for Week 1 is unknown as of now. Their offense will take some time to get in synch, but should be rounding into form around this time.
Outlook: The Chiefs missed their chance to send a message to the rest of the league by topping the Colts in Indy last season. A win this season would go a long ways towards legitimizing the Chiefs as an AFC powerhouse for the foreseeable future.
Win Potential: 30%
Week 6 BYE - The seemingly annual too-early-in-the-season bye week for the Chiefs. Most likely scenario at this point in the season: 3-2.
Week 7: @Oakland Raiders
2010 Record: 8-8
Stock Watch: Black Holed
What's New: Not a lot of additions to report here, but the team did lose 3 of their best players in Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, and Robert Gallery. Not to mention, they fired their head coach who seemed to finally bring some stability to the organization.
Outlook: This begins the easy portion of the schedule. The Chiefs should be favored in the next four games (before possibly being the underdog in the following 5). The game in Oak town always comes down to the wire, and I, for one, haven't forgotten the name Jacoby Ford.
Win Potential: 55%
Week 8: San Diego Chargers
2010 Record: 9-7
Stock Watch: Levitating
What's New: Didn't mention earlier that the team parted ways with Darren Sproley Poley.
Outlook: Monday Night Football. Halloween night. 100% chance I'll be in attendance with a Kentucky Tavern filled flask in my nantucket. If the Chiefs have aspirations of winning the AFC West this game is a must win (unless they shock them in Diego). KC's playoff fate might be known after these back to back toss up games.
Win Potential: 45%
Week 9: Miami Dolphins
2010 Record: 7-9
Stock Watch: Plummeting
What's New: All the news is at running back here. Ricky Williams and Ron Brown are gone. And in comes local boy Daniel Thomas (potential Offensive Rookie of the Year) and, wait for it.........Larry Johnson!
Outlook: The easiest game on the schedule for the Chiefs (followed by the next easiest the week after), the Dolphins should win no more than 5 games this season. If KC loses this one, they have no business even dreaming of the playoffs.
Win Potential: 90%
According to my calculations the Chiefs will sit at 4.44 - 3.56 at this point in the season. So if we're 4-3-1 you all owe me a burrito.