In the last few offseasons, the NFL has begun to hype up the release of the regular season schedule more and more. There are a couple of new wrinkles to this year’s slate. For one, the regular season will be expanding from 16 games played to 17. The Kansas City Chiefs will be one of the teams to receive an extra home game, as a result.
Meanwhile, what can Chiefs fans expect for top quarterback matchups, primetime opponents, or even sneaky opposing teams that cannot be taken lightly? We will hit on each one of those in depth today. Here are some items to watch for when Kansas City’s 2021 regular season schedule is released on Wednesday, May 12th.
For a quick reminder, here are the list of the Chiefs opponents on the 2021 schedule:
HOME: Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Giants, Green Bay
AWAY: Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Washington
The Chiefs played five primetime contests in the 2020 regular season. In fact, that was the third consecutive year where that was the case. With one of the league’s top quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes, other top superstars, and back to back Super Bowl appearances, it would not be a surprise to see that happen again.
So, which teams could be a possible match for night time kickoffs? There are at least a handful that could make sense. Just outside of the division, you have top AFC teams like Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and possibly even Tennessee that are imaginable.
Any of the NFC games would not come as a shock either. Sure, the Giants and Washington Football Team will not garner consistent headlines. Though, the NFL’s rich history throughout the NFC East has been long lasting. We all know Dallas is going to receive plenty of primetime kickoffs. Finally, this will already be the third time that Andy Reid will face his former team in the Eagles, as Chiefs head coach.
Networks will fight hard to land the exact matchups that they want on their station. As a result, that will play a large part in determining what day of the week or when exactly in the season (early or late) that these top matchups fall.
It is always exciting to see when teams get the chance to rematch after a playoff matchup from the year before. Both of the squads that came into Arrowhead Stadium during the AFC Playoffs last January will make the trip to Kansas City once again this year.
Both of those matchups could have a strong chance of being primetime games, as mentioned above. But in general, each of the Bills and Browns could pose to be the two biggest threats to the Chiefs in the AFC. The Ravens can certainly not be ruled out as well. Nonetheless, Buffalo and Cleveland have each had tremendous offseasons.
The Bills have retained nearly all of their starters from last season. On the other hand, Cleveland will be getting back top playmakers on each side of the ball, who were injured last year. The Browns also filled many of their primary needs early and urgently this offseason.
Those two opponents made for some thrilling playoff matchups last winter. Now in 2021, the Chiefs will have to prepare even more diligently when going up against these two lurking, dangerous football teams.
The quarterbacks have always stolen the show. Even more so now in today’s era of NFL football, as the pass happy offenses generate more and more eyeballs on the product.
Those aforementioned playoff rematches will pit Mahomes against some of the best passers that will travel to Kansas City this year, with Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. To boot, the Mahomes versus Lamar Jackson matchups have been hotly contested going into kickoff. Patrick has beaten his squad all three times so far. Elsewhere in the AFC, 2020 first round picks could make for quite the challenge. Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa, LA’s Justin Herbert and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow each proved they could hang at one point or another during their rookie campaigns last year.
In the NFC side of things, Dak Prescott returns from a gruesome leg injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick is now in Washington, and the veteran continues to make highlight reel plays time after time. Could we be deprived of seeing Mahomes do battle against one of the top NFC passers, however?
No State Farm Bowl?
The Patrick Price versus the Rodgers Rate? NFL fans may only get to see these two share the screen during State Farm commercials on Sunday.
Reports have circulated that Aaron Rodgers is possibly well beyond his breaking point in Green Bay. Roster decisions and frustration has made the Packers quarterback fed up. So much so, that the guest Jeopardy host could find his permanent gig there long term. Certain NFL outlets have brought up the possibility of Rodgers getting traded, retiring or holding out from playing in Green Bay altogether. There are still many hoops to jump through for any of those to be the case. Yet, Rodgers could have easily played his final snap in the green and gold.
There is a chance this is all smoke. And we do get to see Mahomes and Rodgers square off. We were robbed of that back in 2019. The Chiefs were without Patrick, due to his freak knee injury, leading to Rodgers and Matt Moore being the QB matchup. To be fair, it was a fun game. This passer duel just has to happen once, however. And unfortunately, the time left to see that continues to dwindle year after year.
There are always those couple of contests where top teams come out slow against opponents who or perceived to be “bad.” As the saying goes, no game is “easy” at the NFL level. There are a few up and coming teams that fans nor the Chiefs cannot take lightly in 2021.
Let’s circle back to Burrow and Cincinnati. The team may not have brought in household names. But, the offensive line has improved a little, following Burrow’s high pressure rate and torn ACL injury last year. The Bengals reunited him with a top target and college teammate by selecting wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth overall pick in April’s draft.
The New York Giants may seem like a laugher on this schedule. Fans should not dismiss what they did late last season, though. Big Blue went 5-3 in the second half of 2020, following a dismal 1-7 start. This included a road win in Seattle, which is a completely different environment on its own. And that was with Colt McCoy starting at quarterback.
There is always tremendous anticipation for the Chiefs home opener. And in 2021, hopefully the team will be able to have more fans inside one of the league’s loudest stadiums than they did in last year’s COVID affected campaign. Who the opponent will be is fun to watch for. There is also another item to keep in mind.
Due to the shared parking lot and sports complex with MLB’s Kansas City Royals, keeping their September schedule in mind is important. The Royals are scheduled to be on the road during the NFL’s first week of the 2021 regular season (September 9 through September 13). Therefore, it is highly likely that the Chiefs will be at home in Week One of the year, whether that is on Sunday or Monday.
Could the NFL have Kansas City open up on the road with back to back road contests? Sure. The Chiefs actually did that in both 2018 and 2019. Maybe for the team and fans, that will not be the case this time around.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles throughout this week. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
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