The NFL released the regular season schedule on Thursday. For the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, they will get the luxury of opening up at home. With a slate chalked full of extraordinary opponents, most of the challenging matchups will come on the road. For example, the Chiefs will travel to places like Baltimore, New Orleans, Buffalo and Tampa Bay. Without further ado, let’s look into the headlines for each contest on the 2020 Kansas City Chiefs schedule.
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Week 1: vs Houston Texans
On opening night of the NFL season, we will see a playoff rematch from a year ago. The Texans had a 24-0 lead in last year’s road AFC Divisional Round contest. Suddenly, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense flipped the switch and beat Houston with body blow after body blow. A 28 point second quarter was just the beginning. The Chiefs went on a 51-7 run for a 20 point playoff victory. You have to think Houston will be extra motivated for this contest, because of last year’s collapse. What is head coach/GM Bill O’Brien doing though? One of the top wide receivers, DeAndre Hopkins, was traded away to the Arizona Cardinals. Deshaun Watson can make magic happen with anyone. But, the moves could start to cause a ripple effect amongst the Texans locker room. Mahomes vs Watson will be yet another treat.
Week 2: at Los Angeles Chargers
The Kansas City Chiefs recent dominance against the AFC West is no secret, but continues to be an underrated accomplishment. They have won 27 of their last 29 division contests. The only two losses? Both Thursday night contests, where the Chiefs had the lead with under 10 seconds to go in each. Their last division loss on Sunday was back on November 30, 2014. So, it’s somewhat hysterical that the Los Angeles Chargers’ home opener in a shiny new stadium will be against Kansas City. Things will look a bit different for the Bolts. With no Philip Rivers, it will either be Tyrod Taylor or the rookie Justin Herbert starting against the Chiefs defense.
Week 3: at Baltimore Ravens
Despite both being in the AFC, it’s hard to argue against both the Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens being the top two teams in the league. Both consistently develop talent well in the draft, while hitting on splash moves in free agency. Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have met twice. The Chiefs have won both contests at Arrowhead Stadium. This time, it’s another early season contest. Kansas City and Baltimore will meet in the Charm City this year, however. Under the lights on Monday Night Football, each squad will be eager to show who is the early season favorite in the AFC.
Week 4: vs New England Patriots
For the first time in my life, Tom Brady will not be in a New England Patriots uniform. All reports indicate Bill Belichick and the Pats are all in on former Auburn signal caller Jarrett Stidham. There is a great deal of unknown in New England. Nonetheless, Belichick still leads the way and the defense will always provide a challenge. Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs have to be thrilled to finally play the Patriots at home. Of course the AFC Championship Game a couple of years ago was in KC. However, the four previous matchups all took place in New England. The Chiefs won the last regular season matchup at Arrowhead, 41-14, on Monday Night Football in 2014.
Week 5: vs Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders made some noticeable additions to the offense in the 2020 NFL Draft. Wide receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards can beat opponents in a plethora of ways. Will Derek Carr find success with them? He needs to perform well enough this season, in order to keep his job moving forward. Carr’s struggles in Arrowhead are well documented. Vegas did in fact add former Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota to the roster this offseason. Besides the offense, the Raiders additions to the defense should not go unnoticed either. The additions made in the draft were very Raiders type of picks.
Week 6: at Buffalo Bills
This will be the Kansas City Chiefs third primetime game in the first six weeks, as it’s another Thursday night matchup. Going to Buffalo this early in the season is better than late, because of the unpredictable weather. But the Bills are no joke. Head coach Sean McDermott has built a strong culture and foundation on both sides of the ball. Josh Allen can still be a bit shaky at times, however his style fits perfectly for the Bills. This is going to indeed be one of the better defenses that the highflying Chiefs offense will face. The secondary plays tight, and the front seven is loaded with powerful pass rushers.
Week 7: at Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos have hit home run after home run this offseason. Retaining safety Justin Simmons was a must. In free agency, they added AJ Bouye, Jurrell Casey, Graham Glasgow and former Chargers running back Melvin Gordon. Denver also had one of the more impressive NFL Draft hauls for 2020. Drew Lock now has electric speed at his disposal, in Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler. They may not win all the track meets against the Kansas City Chiefs. But, that doesn’t mean they will have trouble against the others. All of their picks did not just improve their team, they made sense. John Elway was one of the worst roster constructors a few years ago. Now, the Broncos are looking good enough to get back into the playoffs.
Week 8: vs New York Jets
The New York Jets are in an interesting spot. General manager Joe Douglas has gone out to make additions to the roster in free agency. Did they actually make the Jets better? Their draft class was fairly impressive, especially on the first two days. Sam Darnold has the talent to get the job done. Meanwhile, there is just so many parts and pieces of this team that does not correlate. A trip to the Kansas City Chiefs may be one of the harder stops on the schedule for the New York Jets.
Week 9: vs Carolina Panthers
It’s a new era in Charlotte, North Carolina. Cam Newton is no longer the Panthers quarterback. Head coach Ron Rivera is now in Washington, after being fired late last season. It is now Matt Rhule‘s team. He turned around Temple and Baylor at the college level. Both saw postseason success during his tenures. Teddy Bridgewater will be the starting quarterback, and he has some young exciting weapons to work with. For example, there’s Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel. Interestingly, every single one of the Panthers draft picks were defensive players. Kansas City cannot take them for granted, but we should be able to find out what Carolina exactly is by this point in the season.
Week 10: Bye Week
Week 11: at Las Vegas Raiders
The second matchup between the Chiefs and Raiders will be highly anticipated. Kansas City travels into the brand new stadium in Vegas for a game on Sunday Night Football. Having the bye week and resetting the energy will be well timed for this game too. You know the Raiders will have a lot of pride at stake in this contest. For the Kansas City Chiefs, this will be the first of a few high profile road trips in the second half.
Week 12: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the king of the offseason? Tom Brady is now the starting quarterback. His weapons are a huge upgrade over what he had in New England. With Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, teams will have to be prepared for deep shots and explosive plays. Oh yeah, tight end Rob Gronkowski also came out of retirement to pair up with Brady down South. People may not remember that the Bucs had one of the more underrated defenses last year. They compiled a good number of sacks and shut down the running game. Tampa Bay has not made the playoffs since 2007, but they have quickly become a favorite in the NFC. Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has already said that this is the game he is most looking forward to playing. Another Mahomes vs Brady matchup also can’t hurt.
Week 13: vs Denver Broncos
As of now, this is the final primetime game on the Chiefs schedule. Drew Lock made his hometown debut last year. This time, it will probably be more exciting and anticipated on Sunday Night Football. If Denver can take a step forward, this game will have a major impact on the AFC West standings.
Week 14: at Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins got their man of the future in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in this year’s NFL Draft. They completely retooled the offensive line in the first two days of the draft, while adding defensive line pieces late. In free agency, the Dolphins spent over $100 million to try and improve the team during the early portions of a rebuild. Like the aforementioned Buffalo game, this is a good spot on the schedule for the Miami matchup. Going to Florida in early to mid December is a lot more favorable for the players. Miami will hope to play spoiler during the Kansas City Chiefs tough second half stretch.
Week 15: at New Orleans Saints
If Tampa Bay does not win the NFC, this game is already being dubbed as a preview for Super Bowl 55. New Orleans has suffered heart break after heart break recently in the postseason though. The Saints campaigns have ended on the last play in three consecutive years. Their roster is one of the better ones in the league. Can they get it done one last time with Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton? Mahomes and the Chiefs have done well in difficult environments beforehand. However, the Superdome is one of the most difficult places to walk into, especially this late in the season.
Week 16: vs Atlanta Falcons
Are the Atlanta Falcons that big of threat? Not really. For being in the Super Bowl recently, this team as dropped into the abyss of the NFC landscape. There are still holes or unproven commodities on this Falcons team. They also just released running back Devonta Freeman, after signing him to a high priced contract not long ago. No matter what the excuses are, Atlanta needs a good showing in 2020 to possibly save the jobs of head coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff.
Week 17: vs Los Angeles Chargers
For the second straight season, the Chiefs regular season finale will be at home against the Chargers. Where will the teams be at in the standings by this point? It will be exciting to see by then, as we watch the 2020 NFL Season unfold for the Kansas City Chiefs.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.