The Chiefs Game just won Super Bowl 54, but the big question is already here: Can Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid lead Kansas City to an encore in Super Bowl 55? For the Chiefs to put themselves in best position to repeat, it all depends how well they can navigate their 2020 schedule.
The Chiefs went 12-4 last season, marking the third time in the past four seasons they have ended up with that record as consistent AFC West champions. Kansas City also rides a five-year playoff streak into 2020.
Once again, the Chiefs will face all three returning first-place teams in the AFC in the Ravens, Texans and Patriots. This year, their interdivisional rotation also includes the rest of the AFC East and all of the NFC South on top of their six games against AFC West foes.
Putting it all together, how does the Chiefs’ schedule look for this season?
Here is a complete breakdown of the Chiefs’ 2020 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 16 games.
Kansas City Chiefs Schedule
Week 1 (Thursday Night Football, Sept. 10): vs Houston Texans, 7:25 p.m. CT on NBC
Week 2: (Sunday Night Football, Sept. 20): vs Los Angeles Chargers, 3:25 p.m. CT on CBS
Week 3 (Monday Night Football, Sept. 28): vs Baltimore Ravens, 7:15 p.m. CT on ESPN
Week 4 (Sunday Night Football, Oct. 4): vs New England Patriots, 3:25 p.m. CT on CBS
Week 5 (Sunday Night Football, Oct. 11): vs Las Vegas Raiders, Noon CT on CBS
Week 6 (Thursday Night Football, Oct. 15): vs Buffalo Bills, 7:20 p.m. CT on FOX, NFL Network
Week 7 (Sunday Night Football, Oct. 25): vs Denver Broncos, 3:25 p.m. CT on CBS
Week 8 (Sunday Night Football, Nov. 1): vs New York Jets, Noon CT on CBS
Week 9 (Sunday Night Football, Nov. 8): vs Carolina Panthers, Noon CT on FOX
Week 10 (Sunday Night Football, Nov. 15): BYE
Week 11 (Sunday Night Football, Nov. 22): vs Las Vegas Raiders, 7:20 p.m. CT on NBC
Week 12 (Sunday Night Football, Nov. 29): vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3:25 p.m. CT on CBS
Week 13 (Sunday Night Football, Dec. 6): vs Denver Broncos, 7:20 p.m. CT on NBC
Week 14 (Sunday Night Football, Dec. 13): vs Miami Dolphins, Noon CT on CBS
Week 15 (Sunday Night Football, Dec. 20): vs New Orleans Saints, 3:25 p.m. CT on CBS
Week 16 (Sunday Night Football, Dec. 27): vs Atlanta Falcons, Noon CT on FOX
Week 17 (Sunday Night Football, Jan. 3): vs Los Angeles Chargers, Noon CT on CBS
Chiefs strength of schedule & prediction
The Chiefs are right in the middle with their strength of schedule based on opponents’ combined winning percentage from last year. Kansas City’s 2020 oppoenets went 128-128, exactly .500 and tied for 18th toughest with the Panthers.
With some of those opponents weakened or rebuilding, the Chiefs have it considerably easier than it looks on paper. The AFC West might be the most improved division they face, but the AFC East and NFC South might give them more reprieves than expected.
Toughest tests: The Chiefs should buckle up for the Bucs, but the Ravens and Bills on the road in hostile environments will be tough, too, given those two teams also might be their closest AFC title competition. The Saints also will be a difficult NFC team to beat in New Orleans.
At home, the Patriots will still be a bit tricky, and the Texans will have confidence after grinding out a victory in Kansas City last season (and jumping out to that big lead in the playoffs before the Chiefs’ memorable comeback). The Broncos, Raiders and Chargers have remixed themselves to be better equipped to go after the Chiefs, too, wherever they play.
Biggest breaks: The Falcons, Panthers and Jets provide three interdivision opponents the Chiefs should be able to handle at home. There’s only one such gimme on the road, at the Dolphins.
The Chargers might not be as worrisome without Philip Rivers, while the Broncos have their share of defensive issues against Mahomes. The Chiefs are positioned to be much stronger at Arrowhead with a good chance to go 8-0 at home.
Bottom line: The Chiefs have been among the AFC’s elite for a while, and now they’ve graduated to the top of the entire NFL. Mahomes didn’t lose anything of note around him, and fully healthy, he can have a season that resembles his 2018 MVP campaign more than his still-outstanding abbreviated 2019 version.
The Chiefs’ defensive improvements last year paid off, and now there’s more familiarity with Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. There are a few leftover weaknesses in pass coverage, but there’s no indication of any real drop-off, let alone any kind of Super Bowl hangover.
Including playoffs, Kansas City is riding a nine-game winning streak into the 2020 season. There’s no reason to think the Chiefs won’t stay mostly hot to win another division crown.
Record prediction: 12-4