Maybe it’s just my perception, but it seems like every year, NFL schedules are released earlier and earlier, and each year, that turns out to be more and more of a blessing for Kansas City sports fans.
Oh sure, Sporting KC looks totally legit, and they’re sure to provide countless hours of entertainment for thousands of fans over the summer, but the Royals are predictably turning into an abortion and that WNBA team I’ve been pining for is no closer to fruition than they were two years ago when I had that really weird sex dream about Lisa Leslie (let’s make it happen, baby… have your people [agents?] call my people [Hearne?]).
In St. Louis (or Detroit, or Texas, or Cincinnati, or Washington—or any other city where the baseball team could feasibly be better than the football team), they don’t CARE about the release of the NFL schedules. In BBQ country, however, it’s big news.
And like any self-respecting windbag with a Wang 2200 and a license to spout pointless drivel, I’ve made some predictions about the fate of the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs. Gather round and have a gander, won’t you?
The season kicks off at home on September 9th against the Atlanta Falcons.
• Sept. 9: Atlanta, noon (Fox)
Welcome back, Tony G! The 2011 #5 seed was led by an inconsistent Matt Ryan and a bunch of talented, (mostly) young receivers. Their similarly young (and talented) defense managed to get a safety against the eventual champion New York Giants in the Wild Card Round. That’s right, a safety! The Falcons feel like one of those perennial “this is THEIR year, everybody” teams that talking heads love to blather on about, but they always end up being a disappointment. I think the Chiefs take this one, if for no other reason than it’s at home. WIN.
• Sept. 16: at Buffalo, noon (CBS)
Buffalo is always rebuilding. Giving quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a gigantic contract might have been a terribly shortsighted move, in hindsight. Add to this Eric Berry’s purported extra motivation, (he insinuated in recent weeks that perhaps his ACL injury at the hands of Buffalo WR Stevie Johnson could have been some sort of “bounty”) and you’ve got the fixins for a good ol’ fashioned donnybrook. It’ll be close, though. WIN.
• Sept. 23: at New Orleans, noon (CBS)
It doesn’t matter that Sean Payton will be all hepped up on goofballs and relaxing in Tahiti… do they still have Drew Brees? For sure? Then the Chiefs get stood up before being summarily and resolutely stomped. LOSS.
• Sept. 30: San Diego, noon (CBS)
The Chargers didn’t do much to address their mediocrity this past offseason, but Philip Rivers is a professional who probably won’t look like the sparkly unicorn poo that he did at some points throughout the 2011 campaign. His 20 interceptions were a career high, and his passer rating was the second lowest it’s ever been over a full 16 game schedule. That being said, Arrowhead Magic and all of that happy… unicorn poo? WIN.
• Oct. 7: Baltimore, noon (CBS)
There may not have been a team in the NFL playing more above their heads through all of 2011 than the Baltimore Ravens. Joe Flacco continued to prove that he’s Matt Cassel Deluxe, their leading receiver turned 31, and the average age of their defense climbed from 44 to 45.6. Alright, so that last one is made up, but goddamn, that’s an old fucking team. Fun fact: if you measured the length of the defense’s collective “old-man-sack,”—not exactly sure why you’d want to, necessarily—it would stretch from One Arrowhead Drive to the capitol building in Topeka, Kansas. Neat! I think 2012 marks the beginning of the Ravens’ decline, and the Chiefs will help that along. WIN.
• Oct. 14: at Tampa Bay, noon (CBS)
I smell a stinker here. Tampa Bay wasn’t very good last year, won’t be very good this year, and likely won’t be very good for a while. Josh Freeman is marred by unpredictability and surrounded by a cast of average coworkers. That said, this feels like one of those nauseating games that the Chiefs piss away. LOSS.
• Oct. 21: bye
• Oct. 28: Oakland, 3:05 p.m. (CBS)
It’s almost the same exact analysis I would have given to the Chargers game, except Carson Palmer isn’t the quarterback that Rivers is. Quite honestly, Oakland feels like a competitive equal from a talent standpoint, but I think the fact that this game is in KC bodes well for the good guys. WIN.
• Nov. 1: at San Diego, 7:20 p.m. (NFL Network)
Oh, shit, momma, we in primetime! After their previous loss in KC, I think the Chargers come out on this one ready to flex their boners. I’m sensing a shootout here. Cassel might throw for 200 yards!!!! D’wainbow might catch 8 passes!!! For 90 yards!!!! TOUCHDOWN, KANS. AS. CITY! (that was my Mitch Holthus. It’s CHILLING when transcribed, yes?) Despite Cassel’s possible MVP-like performance, I think the Chiefs end up on the short end of this one. LOSS.
• Nov. 12: at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
This ain’t your momma’s (2008) Steelers. Like the Ravens, they’re getting older on the defensive side of the ball (though not quite AS old as those diaper-wearing Poe-boys), and the offense—despite their two talented young receivers—doesn’t seem to have a legitimate 1,000 yard rusher with Rashard Mendenhall missing a significant chunk of 2012 due to injury. They’re still the Steelers, though, and this is still Monday Night Football, and Matt Cassel is still Matt Cassel, so I think this is a layup. A football layup. For the Steelers. LOSS.
• Nov. 18: Cincinnati, noon (CBS)
I’d take Andy “Red Rifle” Dalton over any potential KC QB at this very second, and A.J. Green is (or will be, shortly) better than anything the Chiefs have catching passes. That said, this feels like a very, VERY even matchup between two young teams struggling to find their identity. Like the @Tampa Bay game, though, I smell one of those ridiculous anomalies, only this one’s at home. Remember when Dolphins’ QB Matt Moore picked apart the Chiefs D last year in that embarrassing Arrowhead debacle? Yeah, me too. LOSS.
• Nov. 25: Denver, noon (CBS)
Ladies and Gentlemen, PEYYYYTONNNNNN MAAAAAAANNNNNING! That’s right, the Bionic Man makes his first appearance in KC as a member of the much-hated Broncos. He brings with him… Eric Decker? The recently signed Brandon Stokely? What the?! What a White Receiving core! Also, Willis McGahee is 3 months younger than me, which means he’s a really, really old running back. Wow… until I was writing this, I guess I didn’t realize how talent-strapped Denver is on the offensive side of the ball. Have fun, Pey-Pey! WIN.
• Dec. 2: Carolina, noon (Fox)
I think Carolina will be fine-a in another year or two. (Jesus… I’m embarrassed myself enough on that one—please don’t Harley-Bash me). Until then, I think it’s a lot of remarkable Cam Newton highlights with few successful outcomes. The Chiefs will be jazzed up coming off of a big W over the Denver Mannings’, and they’ll steamroll on this one. WIN.
• Dec. 9: at Cleveland, noon (CBS)
I don’t think Cleveland is as bad as last year’s 4-12 record would indicate, but they’re not very good, either. They lost Peyton Hillis (TO THE CHIEFS!), their quarterback situation is in gross disrepair (Colt McCoy sucks and everybody knows it except for Colt McCoy), and the NFL’s proposed new rule on the complete rape of kickoffs could leave Joshua Cribbs a complete non-factor. And although this is IN Cleveland, and the cold, snowy wind will be fierce coming in from whatever Great Lake it is that affects such things, I think Our Fair Romeo has an axe to grind, and he’ll grind it all over Randy Lerner’s face. WIN.
• Dec. 16: at Oakland, 3:05 p.m. (CBS)
As previously discussed, I think Oakland is too evenly matched with the Chiefs, and in the horrifically unfriendly confines of the Coliseum, things fall in the Raiders’ favor. Carson Palmerjeckyllhide has some sort of maddening game where he throws 4 touchdowns and 1 insignificant interception while amassing 400 yards, and the Chiefs limp home, battered and bruised. LOSS.
• Dec. 23: Indianapolis, noon (CBS)
Andrew Luck will likely have a brilliant NFL career; very few people are willing to argue this. This being said, nobody—absolutely NOBODY—in his rookie year is special enough to turn this franchise around that quickly. Indianapolis will be next year’s laughing stock, much as they were in ‘11. They could have double-players at all positions on the field at all times during this game, and I still think the Chiefs win. What’s that? The Chiefs barely squeaked out a win against Indy last year? Um, HELLO—that was IN Indianapolis. WIN.
• Dec. 30: at Denver, 3:15 p.m. (CBS)
If Peyton’s head hasn’t fallen off at this point in the season—and there are no guarantees—I think he leads the Broncos to victory. If it has? Eh… it’s a toss-up. Who’s their backup? Probably Vinnie Testaverde? I still think the Broncos take this one. In the ever-mediocre AFC West, this game is probably being played for a playoff spot (maybe… I haven’t done this super-scientific analysis for the other teams in the division, though). LOSS.
So there it is—9 wins, 7 losses. That’s good enough for the division title in the super-shitty AFC West. Rejoice, Chiefs fans, they’re back on top! (This is, of course, contingent on what happens to the other 3 teams in the league who could all feasibly be in contention for the spot as well… Jesus is this division ever bad).