I recently looked at the Chiefs schedule and came up with some quick thoughts on each game.
Number one, the Chiefs have to beat the teams at the bottom of the league -- Browns, Bills and Raiders. If they're serious about competing for a playoff spot, you beat the teams you're supposed to.
Number two is an upset. Beating someone like the Chargers or the Colts or the Texans. They need to have that big upset game (think Pittsburgh last year). All playoff teams win a game they're not supposed to at some point during the regular season.
Number three is beating or competing with the teams you're trying to be. In 2010, the Chiefs are trying to be a team like the 49ers or Cardinals or Titans...teams that are going to be around .500 and not mathematically eliminated in November. They're not great teams but they're solid and are in the mix to win their divisions or a wild card spot. This is who the Chiefs are trying to prove they are this season.
Here are my quick thoughts on the Chiefs schedule:
1. San Diego Chargers (13-3)
This will be an emotionally charged game so it's tough to tell what will happen. The Chargers are clearly the better team and will be the favorite but they are also facing the possibility of playing without their starting left tackle and top wide receiver.
The Chiefs have the ability to win this game because it'll be in Arrowhead on Monday Night Football. This will be a good indicator of how the season will go.
2. At Cleveland Browns (5-11)
This is another winnable game. The Chiefs lost to RB Jerome Harrison and the Cleveland Browns last December but it was a game they should have won.
No games are easy with this team but the Browns will be as close to easy as there is.
3. San Francisco 49ers (8-8)
This will be interesting because some are picking the 49ers to win their division. The advantage for the Chiefs here is their strong secondary vs. Alex Smith, who has been prone to mistakes in the past. This is a winnable game.
Too bad this bye comes so early. Most teams like it as late as possible to get ready for the stretch run to end the season.
5. At Indianapolis Colts (14-2)
Scratch this off the list. The Chiefs have always had trouble with the Colts and I don't know why this one would be any different.
6. At Houston Texans (9-7)
This is another difficult game. The Texans offense is among the best in the country, if not the best. Without a viable pass rush from the Chiefs, it could be a long day for the defense.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9)
If the Chiefs are going to be a .500ish team in 2010, they need to win this game. Other than Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars offense has no real threat (sort of like the Chiefs). The Jags are perceived to be a team on the decline and this should help show if the Chiefs are on the rise.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10)
The Bills quarterback situation isn't pretty and neither are other key areas on the team. Like the Jags, this is a game the Chiefs need to win if they're serious about competing. The Bills are declining with no real quarterback on the roster. The Chiefs have their guy and need to show they're moving up.
9. At Oakland Raiders (5-11)
Oy...how do the Chiefs not beat the Raiders year in and year out? It's a rivalry game (sort of) so anything can happen but the Raiders need to be swept. There's no excuse for not sweeping them.
10. At Denver Broncos (8-8)
The Chiefs won for the first time ever at Invesco Field last year so don't bet on them repeating that very often. What they have going for them is the Broncos quarterback situation, which is far from figured out at this point.
11. Arizona Cardinals (10-6)
Ah, a reunion between Todd Haley and his former team. The Cards will be different with Matt Leinart behind center but still good on offense. Ideally for the Chiefs, Haley brings some knowledge of how the Cards operate.
12. At Seattle Seahawks (5-11)
This is a tough team to figure out. If Matt Hasselbeck is healthy, they should be decent. It's all about the quarterback. It will also give the Chiefs an up close look at Aaron Curry. A lot of folks felt he should've been the pick in the 2009 draft.
13. Denver Broncos (8-8)
The Chiefs need to sweep their division at home and this includes the Broncos. They've traditionally done well against Denver at home and that needs to continue.
14. At San Diego Chargers (13-3)
Don't count on this game. The Chargers are clearly the best team in the division and will likely be fighting for a playoff spot at this point.
15. At St. Louis Rams (1-15)
Win. Win. Win.
The Rams are the worst team in the NFL. No excuse for losing this game. If they do lose, I do not want to be anywhere near the post-game locker room.
16. Tennessee Titans (8-8)
This is a good team so the Chiefs could consider this a good test heading into 2011. Can they compete with the mediocre and above teams like the Titans? If the Chiefs are going to be good in 2011, they should be able to prove it by the end of 2010.
17. Oakland Raiders
Not a bad way to end the season, right? The Chiefs should be sweeping the Raiders in 2010. They need to beat teams like this.