Ever since Patrick Mahomes took over the starting job, the Kansas City Chiefs risen to the top of the NFL power rankings. While the team did manage to lift the Lombardi Trophy in February 2020, things haven’t only been sunshine and rainbows. The Chiefs, of course, were embarrassed in Super Bowl 55 and have had a mixed start to the 2021 offseason.
Things could still be getting worse for the Kansas City Chiefs, though, As of now, it seems like the NFL schedule could have added another challenge to the club’s 2021 campaign.
The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t had the best 2021
Barring a few playoff games, there hasn’t been much professional football played in the year 2021. The Kansas City Chiefs, however, have still suffered through a tough start to the year.
While the Chiefs did make it to the Super Bowl, the big game proved to be nothing short of a disaster. Kansas City’s patchwork offensive line couldn’t handle the Buccaneers pressure, leaving Patrick Mahomes to run for his life all evening long; that, combined with Andy Reid’s inability to adjust on the fly, was a recipe for an embarrassing defeat.
Since then, things haven’t exactly improved. The Chiefs cut two of their starting linemen—Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz—early in the offseason. While the club did bring in Kyle Long and Joe Tunney, there are still questions about Patrick Mahomes’ protection heading into the 2021 campaign.
Elsewhere in free agency, the Chiefs performance has been somewhat of a mixed bag. While the team has brought in some quality additions, like Jarran Reed, Kansas City did whiff on some big-time targets, like JuJu Smith-Schuster.
On the whole, it’s still tough to be too concerned about the Kansas City Chiefs falling off the map. Their 2021, however, hasn’t really seen them gain ground on the competition.
The NFL schedule makers could make the Chiefs’ 2021 even tougher
Given the sheer profitability of the NFL, adding more games to the schedule has seemed inevitable. Now, that change seems poised to finally take place. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted the league is expected to make the move official in the coming days, adding a 17th regular-season game to the 2021 campaign.
While nothing is official yet, we have gotten a look at the expected slate of games for that extra week of NFL action. As seen in a graphic tweeted by Field Yates, it seems like the Kansas City Chiefs will be hosting the Green Bay Packers in Week 18.
It goes without saying that match-up will be gold for whichever network scores the broadcast rights; fans around the country will gladly sit down to watch Patrick Mahomes duel with Aaron Rodgers for 60 minutes. With that being said, though, it’s still a tough break for the Chiefs.
Assuming the early reports are accurate, the Chargers will be hosting the Vikings in Week 18. The Broncos will play at home against the Lions, while the Raiders will receive a visit from the Chicago Bears. While it’s impossible to predict what will or won’t happen during an NFL season, it seems pretty safe to say the rest of the AFC will have an easier extra game than the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Kansas City Chiefs should still be good enough to overcome that change to the NFL schedule
In isolation, it’s easy to see how that 17th game could cause competitive issues; if the season comes down to the final game, you’d much rather be facing the Lions than the Packers. The Kansas City Chiefs, however, don’t need to panic just yet.
As noted above, 2021 hasn’t been ideal for the Chiefs; they were embarrassed during the Super Bowl and haven’t knocked free agency out of the park. With that being said, though, this is still the team that reached three-straight AFC title games and appeared in back-to-back Super Bowls.
Even if his offensive line is a bit iffy, Patrick Mahomes is still one of modern football’s elite talents. The quarterback also has Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire at his disposal; even if the Chiefs don’t add any additional reinforcements, that trio would be the envy of most NFL teams.
While Kansas City’s defensive unit might not be as impressive, the team does boast a few legitimate game-changers on that side of the ball. If nothing else, they should be good enough to keep the Chiefs in the game, which is all the help Mahomes really needs.
Getting a date with the Green Bay Packers added to their schedule isn’t something that the Kansas City Chiefs will be thrilled about, given their tough start to 2021. If they want to win another Super Bowl title, though, an extra, albeit challenging, regular season game shouldn’t be an insurmountable obstacle.