After 14 years in Philadelphia, Andy Reid takes over the reigns in Kansas City. Can he and new Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith turn around a team that went 2-14 last season? Here's our look at the Chiefs' 2013 NFL schedule.
Kansas City Chiefs 2013 Schedule:
Week 1: at Jacksonville
Week 2: Dallas
Week 3: at Philadelphia (Thurs.)
Week 4: New York Giants
Week 5: at Tennessee
Week 6: Oakland
Week 7: Houston
Week 8: Cleveland
Week 9: at Buffalo
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: at Denver
Week 12: San Diego
Week 13: Denver
Week 14: at Washington
Week 15: at Oakland
Week 16: Indianapolis
Week 17: at San Diego
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Out of the Gate: After spending more than a deacade leading the Eagles, it's only fitting that the NFL helps Reid settle in with the Chiefs by providing him with some familiar opponents. On top of that, it appears the schedule-makers did Reid and Kansas City a favor by letting them open up, albeit on the road, against Jacksonville. After the Jaguars it's three straight NFC East games with Dallas and the New York Giants set to come to Arrowhead and, of course, the Chiefs going to Philadelphia to face Reid's former charges. A strong opening month by Kansas City would not only bode well for the team, it also would probably provide some extra satisfaction for their new head coach.
Toughest Stretch: Kansas City plays just one playoff team from last season (Houston, Week 7) leading up to its bye in Week 10. The script flips after the bye, however, as four of their final seven games are against teams that played in the postseason in 2012. This includes two games against defending AFC West champion Denver, starting with a trip to the Mile High City in Week 11. A home game against San Diego follows before the Broncos come to Arrowhead, and then the Chiefs head east to finish off NFC crossover play with a game against Washington in Week 14. Even though Kansas City has to play three straight NFC East foes from Weeks 2-4, this four-game stretch against AFC teams gets the nod for its toughest because of the divisional implications.
Easiest Stretch: Once Reid and the Chiefs get the bulk of their NFC crossover games out of the way, their schedule opens up somewhat. From Week 4 up until going on bye in Week 10, Kansas City faces just one team that won more than six games in 2012. Houston (12-4) will pay a visit to Arrowhead in Week 7, while the Chiefs' remaining opponents during this five-game stretch went a combined 21-43 (.328) last season. Oakland and Cleveland are at home, while road trips to Tennessee and Buffalo don't appear be all that daunting at this point either. Even if September goes poorly, Kansas City should have a chance to right the ship and pick up some wins leading into its Week 10 bye.
Circle The Calendar: Reid's history with the NFC East makes the four crossover games intriguing, but nothing will top his return to Philadelphia in Week 3. Not surprisingly, it's a primetime game (Thursday), and it will be interesting to see what type of welcome the former Eagles head coach gets from the home crowd. Outside of that, the Week 1 opener at Jacksonville could be considered must-see in that it will feature the first two picks of April's draft on the same field. Both Kansas City's Eric Fisher (No. 1 overall) and the Jaguars' Luke Joeckel are offensive tackles who are expected to start for their respective teams. The Chiefs surprised some when they took Fisher with the first pick over Joeckel, who was rated by many the No. 1 overall prospect headed into the draft, so no doubt a lot of attention will be paid to how these two fare in their first NFL game.
Divisional Notes: The Chiefs will see lots of familiar faces in November and December, as all but one of their divisional games comes after their Week 10 bye. Oakland comes to town in Week 6 and after that Kansas City's next AFC West contest isn't until Week 11 at Denver. The Chiefs will play the Broncos twice in a three-week span, with a home date with the Chargers sandwiched in between. The final two divisional games are in Weeks 15 and 17 and both are on the road, with the season ending in San Diego. If anything, the weather should be nice out west compared to a Sunday afternoon in December at Arrowhead.
Playoff Push: If Kansas City is still in the playoff hunt by the time December rolls around, the Chiefs will have plenty of opportunities to make some noise. The final month of the season includes three divisional games, starting with Denver at home in Week 13. Kansas City also will play two other playoff teams from last season in Washington (away) and Indianapolis (home), as well as facing off with Oakland and San Diego for a second time. The three road games coupled with home dates with the Broncos and Colts make this a challenging finish to the season, but one that also could prove beneficial to Reid in his first season in Kansas City even if it doesn't culimate with a postseason berth.
Fantasy Playoff Run (Weeks 14-16): If Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson can fix the Chiefs’ offense, this unit could be a potential difference-maker come fantasy playoff time. For starters, Jamaal Charles gets two of the worst fantasy defense against RBs in the Colts (25th) and Raiders (27th). But that’s not all, as Alex Smith will get a shot at the 25th- and 27th-ranked fantasy defenses against QBs in the Redskins and Raiders, respectively.
2013 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis:
New England (6/26)
NY Jets (6/27)
San Diego (7/2)
NY Giants (6/25)
St. Louis (6/27)
San Francisco (6/28)
Tampa Bay (7/2)
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