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The NFL schedule-makers were a little kinder to the Kansas City Chiefs this time around.
Sure, the Chiefs’ schedule is loaded with prime-time games, a few long road trips and plenty of playoff teams, but the structure of the schedule seems favorable compared to last season. During five of the first six weeks of the season, Kansas City will alternate between playoff teams and non-playoff teams. The toughest multi-game stretch of their schedule appears to be in the latter half of the season too, which will give the team plenty of time to adjust to all the new faces on offense and defense.
With all of that in mind, here are seven takeaways from the Chiefs’ regular-season schedule in 2022:
Five games in prime time once again
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
The 2022 NFL season will mark the fourth consecutive season where the Chiefs have had five games in prime time. This is exactly what happens when you have a football prodigy quarterbacking your team. This year Kansas City gets three games on “Sunday Night Football” and one game each on “Monday Night Football” and “Thursday Night Football.” Three of their primetime games are against AFC West opponents, which shows you just how good the division is expected to be. Four of the five prime-time games are against AFC conference opponents, while the fifth game comes against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Three prime-time games come in the first five weeks of the season, so the rookies and new players better get used to being in the limelight quickly.
Three of first four games on the road
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The Chiefs will have three of their first four games on the road, which is a bit of a drag for fans hoping to see their team play in nice weather. The lone home game (home opener) is also a Thursday night game. The Royals play at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 11 and Sunday, Sept. 25 with the first pitch coming at 1:00 p.m. CT for both games. That makes scheduling at the Truman Sports Complex a little tough for Kansas City. Maybe that won’t be such a problem in the coming years when the Royals make the move to a downtown stadium.
Chiefs get a short week to prepare for most anticipated rematch
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
People are fiending to see the Chiefs take on the Bills again after the thrilling overtime game against Buffalo in last year’s playoffs. Unfortunately, Kansas City won’t be at their best for this game. They’ll be preparing for the Bills on a short week after facing the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday night the week prior. The lone saving grace here is that they’re back-to-back home games. Chalk it up to the luck of the draw, but I suspect this would end up a much better game with both opponents given equal time to prepare.
Earliest bye week of the Patrick Mahomes era
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In 2018, 2019 and 2021 the Chiefs had their bye week in Week 12. In 2020, the team had it in Week 10. The team’s Week 8 bye in 2022 isn’t just the earliest bye week for Kansas City since 2016, it’s the earliest bye week of the Patrick Mahomes era. It’s as close to the middle of a 17-game season as you’re getting, but it’ll be interesting to see how Mahomes handles playing 9-10 games straight to end the regular season. He’s simply never had to do that in the past, but he’s also familiar with extended seasons, having played in the postseason every year of his career.
AFC West games are much more spread out
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Last season, the Chiefs only played one division game in the first half of the year. Five of the Chiefs’ final eight games came against division opponents in 2021. This time around it’s four of the Chiefs’ final eight games that come against division opponents. Also, the largest gap between division opponents is the five-week stretch between Week 5 vs. the Raiders and the Week 11 game against the Chargers in Los Angeles. The rest of the year, the team doesn’t go two weeks without playing a division opponent.
Fans of the noon kickoff (and warm weather) won't be pleased
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
The Chiefs are scheduled for a total of just five noon kickoffs this season. Only one of those noon kickoffs is during the month of September and it isn’t even for a home game. Three of the five happen at home, but the earliest one is Week 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 13. Then you’ll have to wait for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day for the next noon kickoffs at home. Not ideal for those who like early morning tailgates in the warm weather.
Early-season opponents could be without big-name receivers
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Two of the Chiefs’ early-season opponents seem like they’ll be without some big-time weapons against Kansas City. The season opener against the Cardinals will see an Arizona team that is without star WR Deandre Hopkins due to a six-game PED suspension. The Week 4 game against the Buccaneers could see a Tampa Bay team without Chris Godwin, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL in January. The game is on Oct. 2 and the average recovery time for this type of knee injury is around nine months. As of March, Godwin said he doesn’t have a timeline for his return to action. Short of a miraculous recovery, it’s possible that Godwin could still be sidelined by his injury or just making his return to the lineup in Week 4.