The Kansas City Chiefs finished the 2020 regular season with a 14-2 record, winning the AFC West and securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC conference. They had a middling strength of schedule that year, fresh off of a Super Bowl victory. This time around things could be a bit more difficult when it comes to securing wins in the regular season.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2021 NFL draft, ESPN’s Mike Clay created a strength of schedule projection based on current rosters in the NFL. The Chiefs, of course, drew one of the toughest schedules in the league, coming in at No. 25 in Clay’s projections.
A difficult schedule is to be expected as a division winner because the NFL schedules teams to play the previous year’s division winners from their conference. The rest is really just luck of the draw. In total, the Chiefs will face seven playoff teams from the 2020-2021 postseason during the 2021 regular season. Typically, those playoff teams are going to be the ones that are considered to have the most talented players.
The good news here is that the Chiefs’ schedule is only the second-toughest schedule among AFC West teams based on Clay’s projections. The Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders come in at No. 26 and No. 27 respectively. The Denver Broncos have the easiest schedule among AFC West teams, coming in at No. 8 in Clay’s projections.
Strength of schedule has its issues as a predictor for team success. Look no further than the 2019 season, when the Chiefs drew the fifth-toughest schedule in the league. They ended up going 12-4 and winning Super Bowl LIV.