KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs unveiled their 2019 season, and suddenly the upcoming campaign comes into focus. Here are some of the key numbers, observations and predictions about this year's schedule.
Five primetime time games
The Chiefs own one of the league's busiest primetime schedules once again with five night games, including two at Arrowhead Stadium and three on Sunday night.
- Week 5, Sunday night, vs. Indianapolis Colts
- Week 7, Thursday night, at Denver Broncos
- Week 8, Sunday night, vs. Green Bay Packers
- Week 11, Monday night at Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City
- Week 16: Sunday night, at Chicago Bears
The 25-plus point streak
The Chiefs' streak of scoring more than 25 points in 18-straight games (regular season and playoffs) faces a serious test starting the season.
The Chiefs face a top-five scoring defense from 2018 in the season opener at Jacksonville (No. 4) and the Week 3 home opener against Baltimore (No. 2). The Chiefs face all of the top-five scoring defenses from last year including the Bears, Titans and Texans) as well as four of the next five best defenses.
The Chiefs play 10 games against the top-eight AFC scoring defenses. Mahomes and the offense only face two defenses that ranked in the bottom half of the league in scoring last season in the Packers and the Raiders.
The Broncos hold the longest streak scoring more than 25 points in each game, a 19-game span from December 2012 to December 2013.
On the road again
The Chiefs start the 2018 campaign with two road games, just as the team did last season. Three of the first four games are on the road with trips to Jacksonville, Oakland and Detroit broken up only by the Week 3 home opener against Baltimore.
After the back-to-back road games opening the season, the Chiefs don't play consecutive true-road games the remainder of the way. However, they do play at Tennessee in Week 10 followed by the trip to Mexico City in Week 11 against the Chargers.
The Chiefs get three of their five December games at home, where the club owns an 11- 4 record under Andy Reid in the final month of the year. The Chiefs have lost just two December home games since 2014 – a 19-17 loss to Tennessee in 2016 and last year's 29-28 loss to the Chargers.
But the final four games of the season come with a high degree of difficulty. The Chiefs visit the Patriots, host the Broncos, travel to the Bears and finish at home with the Chargers. Two of the Chiefs' four losses last year came to those teams, which posted a combined 41-23 record last season.
Bye week and the mini bye
The Chiefs have their bye week in Week 12, following their Mexico City trip to face the Chargers. They return to action in Week 13 with a home game against the Oakland Raiders.
But the Chiefs get a mini bye week following their Thursday night game at Denver Oct. 17. That provides them with 10 days off before hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, Oct. 27. The Thursday night game and the bye week means that rom Oct. 18 through Nov. 30 – a span of 44 days – the Chiefs play just four games. The Packers contest serves as the only home matchup.
Game of the Year: Week 14 at New England Patriots
There's a few marquee games on the schedule, but none shine brighter than the rematch of the AFC Championship Game. Expectations point toward this game determining the No. 1 seed and home field advantage for the playoffs. One might speculate this game could flex to primetime, but that seems unlikely. There's a reason this game landed in a late afternoon window on the East Coast – it's the most attractive game of the year for CBS. Expect a national audience and plenty of hype for this one.
Worst Game of the Year: Week 13 vs. Oakland Raiders
Sure, it's the Raiders, and all Chiefs fans want to beat the Raiders. But Oakland doesn't expect to be contenders this year, it's December in Kansas City and Andy Reid coming off a bye week. This game should be over by halftime and weather probably miserable. If not, it probably turns into a sloppy mess similar to the Chiefs 40-33 win in Oakland coming off the bye week in 2018. Shrug this one off and finish up shopping and Thanksgiving leftovers.
Best Home Game: Week 5 vs. Indianapolis Colts
Another playoff rematch, marquee quarterback battle and Sunday night at Arrowhead in early October. It doesn't get any better than that. Week 8's Sunday night game against Green Bay and the season opener in Week 3 against Baltimore should also be good contests.
Most Underrated Game: Week 6 vs. Houston Texans
The Chiefs and Texans are familiar opponents, and Houston frequently gives the Chiefs trouble. The initial matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson could be the first of many classic battles between the two prolific passers in the years to come.
Best Road Trip: Week 10 at Tennessee Titans
There are better road games but all come with asterisks. The trip to Denver comes on a Thursday night, Boston or Chicago in December sounds dreadful and, after last season, don't book the Mexico City trip without travel insurance. But Nashville is an easy weekend jaunt in a fun city at a reasonably decent time of year. The Titans could be a playoff contender, but the Chiefs appear as comfortable favorites on the road. Good chance to get away for the weekend, listen to some music and return back with a win.
Trap Game: Week 4 at Detroit Lions
The Lions might be better than expected under second-year coach Matt Patricia, and Detroit is never an easy place to play. The Chiefs could be 3-0 and looking forward to a primetime home showdown against the Colts a week later. The Chiefs could sleepwalk through this one and still pull out a win, but it wouldn't surprise the club comes out a little flat in this one.
Most Likely Flex Game Candidate: Week 17 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
The NFL's flexible scheduling begins in Week 5 and runs through Week 17. The Chiefs already play five primetime games during that stretch, so that limits the number of games subject to moving to Sunday night. The Chiefs and Chargers matchup in Week 17 could have significant meaning, however, if the AFC West race and playoff seeding comes down to this game.
If the Chiefs were to get flexed out of one of their three schedule Sunday night games, the most likely candidate would be the Week 16 showdown at Chicago. If either team fails to meet expectations, a game with playoff implications could move here.