With training camp and preseason well underway, Last Word on Pro Football is analyzing the schedules of all 32 NFL teams. Each team’s 16-game slate will be split into its most difficult (1-8) and easiest games (9-16). For this article, the Kansas City Chiefs most difficult games of the 2019 schedule will be discussed.
Kansas City Chiefs Most Difficult Games of 2019
1. Week 14: at New England Patriots
Considering what happened in the AFC Championship game in January last season, this game has to be the toughest. This game is the ultimate measuring stick for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 season. The New England Patriots, outside of the Los Angeles Chargers, are the one team the Chiefs can’t seem to get over the hump against. Patrick Mahomes went toe to toe with Tom Brady, but Mahomes never got the chance to have the ball as the Patriots marched down the field and scored in their AFC Championship win. This season, it will be a December game in Foxborough, where the Patriots hardly lose, especially in December. Ultimately, it will come down to whether or not the Chiefs defense can make stops defensively, and in both match-ups last season, the Chiefs were unable to. The addition of Tyrann Mathieu should help the Chiefs secondary but Tom Brady has been surgical against the Chiefs.
2. Week 11: at Los Angeles Chargers
A divisional game against the Los Angeles Chargers is always difficult. Both teams finished the season 12-4, but the Chiefs held the tiebreaker over the Chargers. It will be another down to the wire battle this season for the AFC West division title. The Chargers suffered a big blow defensively with Derwin James expected to miss three to four months with a foot fracture, and won’t be expected back till after this game. Despite missing James, the Chargers defense is still stout, with Joey Bosa and others expected to be major contributors. Both games came down to the wire last season, and this game could go a long way into giving either team the edge in the division, since both teams split the series last year. This Monday Night Football game is a must-see.
3. Week 16: at Chicago Bears
This is a miserable game. Late December in Chicago could see sub-freezing conditions. The Chicago Bears are an emerging favorite to come out of the NFC, with this game being a potential Super Bowl preview. A top offense in the Chiefs going up a top defense in the Bears. If Mitchell Trubisky can be a solid game manager, and the Bears can get pressure on Mahomes led by Khalil Mack, this could be a long game for the Chiefs. This game could also have implications for both teams division races, as well as battling for home-field advantage in the playoffs. Plus, it’ll be a Sunday Night game, making the stakes of this game even higher.
4. Week 17: vs Los Angeles Chargers
Again, the Chargers pose the biggest threat to the Chiefs to repeat in the AFC West. Like last season, this game could decide who gets home field in the playoffs or not. Both teams are poised for playoff appearances this season, with this being a potential winner-take-all game. The Chargers may have Derwin James back by then, so his addition back could make this game a challenge for the Chiefs. However, if the Chargers take a step back this season, this could be a game Mahomes could sit and not play if the lead is insurmountable in the division.
5. Week Eight: vs. Green Bay Packers
This is the quarterback match-up we have wanted to see. Two of the best arm talents in the league: Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. This game should be similar to the Monday Night showdown last season between the Chiefs and Rams. Plenty of points on the board and both quarterbacks should have amazing stat lines. This is another Sunday Night Football game, which makes it even better. Again, this game will come down to which defense can make crucial stops, especially in the second half of this game. The Green Bay Packers looks to be much improved compared to last season, and head coach Matt LaFleur should bring new life and energy to their football team.
6. Week Three: vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens defense is legit. Earl Thomas, Tony Jefferson, Marlon Humphrey and others will make life difficult for the Chiefs receivers. The pass rush is tenacious too. Patrick Mahomes was hit 18 times last season in their lone match-up, and until the fourth quarter, Mahomes looked confused and out of sorts. Lamar Jackson also brings a whole new dynamic, posing as a true dual threat at the quarterback. The Ravens will likely have a heavy reliance on the running game, so it will be important that the Chiefs force the Ravens into long third downs. The Ravens are a tough draw, so this will be a game the Chiefs have to come play well from the start.
7. Week One: at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a new man leading the show: Nick Foles. Blake Bortles held back the Jaguars offense the last few years, so Foles will likely sling it all over the yard. It will be a tough opener for the Chiefs, and Jalen Ramsey will likely shadow Tyreek Hill all game long, and the Jaguars have an emerging star pass rusher in Josh Allen. This will be a much improved team in 2019, so this won’t be an easy game to open the season for the Chiefs.
8. Week Two: at Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have a completely different swagger about them heading into the season. The Raiders may surprise folks this season, and play better than expected. It will ultimately come down to if the offense can produce on a consistent basis. Derek Carr has to have his best season yet. And with the additions of Antonio Brown through trade, and drafting Josh Jacobs, this offense should be explosive. The Raiders put up a valiant fight in the first game last season, and divisional games always ramp up a notch. This will be the second game the Chiefs have to travel across the country to play, so there’s a chance they may start off the game sluggish. There are no give-me games in the AFC West this season.