If you pay taxes in Jackson County and are reading this blog there is a good chance you know that Chiefs tickets are on sale to you. Basically, this gives us here at the blog a chance to go completely premature and play out the entire Chiefs season here. The first half of the season Wednesday, and the second half Thursday.
I like using plural pronouns, as if I have an army of bloggers here instead of just me in a pair of shorts and my dog at my feet.
It's like you won't even have to watch the games now.
Also: I will almost certainly make major changes and redo this a few times before the season actually starts. I think we all know how seriously to take this.
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Week 1: at Jacksonville
The skinny: Luke Joeckel has spent way too much of his time working up a complex about being the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and, well, I guess blocking the bejesus out of Justin Houston in the season opener will be his way toward redemption. Whatever. I think a lot of people will assume this is a win. The Jags are expected to be the NFL's worst team^, after all, and have talked about playing the Red Zone channel at games so fans might actually show up. But, guys, the Chiefs were 2-14 last year. There are no gimmies, especially on the road.
^ They have the lowest Vegas over-under, anyway.
The pick: All that said, gosh, this has to be a win. 20-17 Chiefs.
The record: 1-0, and the Chiefs have their first season opening win since that Monday night game that opened the “new” Arrowhead three years ago.
Week 2 vs. Cowboys
The skinny: I've spent a lot of time here and in the column talking about how Arrowhead Stadium isn't the opponent's nightmare that it was in the 1990s, and for good reason. The Chiefs have lost 12 games at home the last two seasons, including the home openers by a combined 50 points. So I'm not sure about the logic behind picking them against the Cowboys, but, what the hell, I do think there will be a better vibe around this team than in years past.
The pick: 27-24 Chiefs.
The record: 2-0, and the people are starting to dream.
Week 3 at Eagles
The skinny: The Andy Reid Game, nationally televised, on Thursday night. The Eagles were 4-12 last year, crappy, which is why their coach is now the Chiefs' coach. I'm not sure anyone really knows what to expect in Chip Kelly's first season there, but a short week on the road in this kind of environment is a lot to ask from the Chiefs.
The pick: 24-13 Eagles.
The record: 2-1, and they can't win 'em all.
Week 4 vs. Giants
The skinny: We've talked a lot about how good Alex Smith was last year before he got hurt, and deservedly so. He was leading the league in passer rating and is obviously an enormous upgrade from the incompetence the Chiefs have had at quarterback the last few years and that's all true and so is this: Smith played what might be his worst game in five seasons against the Giants last year. He completed 19 of 30 passes for 200 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions in a 26-3 loss. Not that I'm putting this all on him. The Giants are just better than the Chiefs.
The pick: 28-20 Giants.
The record: 2-2, and there's no shame in that.
Week 5 at Titans
The skinny: At least now, on July 10, this looks like one of those swing games that could end up shaping the Chiefs' season. It's on the road, which is tough, but this isn't exactly Foxboro they're going to - the Titans went 4-4 at home last year, including a wild overtime win over the Lions. I could be easily swayed here, but right now I'm not giving a 2-14 the benefit of the doubt quite yet.
The pick: 24-20 Titans.
The record: 2-3, and I'm sure someone will freak out.
Week 6 vs. Raiders
The skinny: I'm sorry, but I just can't get over this: The Raiders - the RAIDERS!!! - have won two games at Arrowhead more recently than the Chiefs have. The Raiders have won seven straight at Arrowhead, actually, which is just a stunning fact, in part because the Raiders have lost 12, 11, 11, 8, 8 and 12 games during those seasons. I just refuse to believe this can go on.
The pick: 27-13 Chiefs.
The record: 3-3, and Marty Schottenheimer is somewhere, smiling.
Week 7 vs. Texans
The skinny: Houston won 11 of its first 12 games last year before stumbling. The Texans are well-balanced, with stars on both sides of the ball, an offense that can run and throw, a defense led by perhaps the sport's best player in J.J. Watt. If you expect the Chiefs to win this game, you probably expect them go 13-3 or something.
The pick: 28-13 Texans.
The record: 3-4, and dream about what might be.
Week 8 vs. Browns
The skinny: This is the last of three straight home games, and if the Chiefs split the first two - and it's a mortal lock since we predicted it right here in this blog - then the Browns game carries a little extra significance. Like the Jacksonville game, this is one of those that's easy to just assume a win but imagine yourself a Jags or Browns fan - you're probably looking forward to playing the Chiefs, too.
The pick: 24-14 Chiefs.
The record: 4-4, and competence is back.
Coming tomorrow: the season's second half, including two games against both the Broncos and Chargers, and another trip to Buffalo.