Peter King of Sports Illustrated and MMQB.com released his offseason Power Rankings in the NFL for the coming season. Bit surprised that Baltimore was No. 1, but I guess I can see that. Seattle was No. 2 and Green Bay No. 3. I have no arguments with those. But Kansas City at No. 4? That I don't get -- sorry editor boss! Do I think the Chiefs could make the playoff this season? I do. Maybe even steal the AFC West if Peyton Manning gets hurt. But I'm just not a fan of that Alex Smith-led conservative offense and never will be. Jeremy Maclin will help a bit, but I'm not sure Smith can get him the ball deep downfield.
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The Chiefs were 6-2 at home last season, same record against the spread and 3-5 "over/under." Their 2015 home schedule ranks right in the middle -- 16th -- with an opponents' 2014 winning percentage of .523. It's the second-easiest in the AFC West.
Here's the schedule with very early (opponent) odds.
Sept. 17 -- Broncos (-1): This is the first Thursday night CBS/NFL game of the season. The Chiefs open in Houston and Denver is home to Baltimore. Kansas City hasn't beaten the Broncos since the end of the 2011 season and not at home since 2010. Last year in Week 13, the visiting Broncos won 29-16. Smith had 153 yards passing and two touchdowns, the second to Jamaal Charles to make it 26-16 early in the fourth quarter. But Smith's pass on the 2-point try fell incomplete, and Denver would soon after kick a field goal to put it away. The Chiefs had only 151 yards of offense. Key trend: Chiefs 6-3-1 ATS in past 10 as home dog in series.
Oct. 11 -- Bears (+4): Kansas City comes off a really tough two-game road trip to Green Bay and Cincinnati. I could see this team being 0-4. Chicago is home to Oakland in Week 4. I think of Jay Cutler and Smith in the same boat. Good QBs but can't win a Super Bowl with them. First Bears trip to K.C. since 2003. Key trend: Chiefs 4-1-1 ATS at home vs. NFC North.
Oct. 25 -- Steelers (+1): Kansas City is off a trip to Minnesota, while Pittsburgh is home to Arizona in Week 6. The Chiefs visited the Steelers in Week 16 last season and lost 20-12, which turned out to be a crusher for a possible playoff berth. Smith threw for a season-high 311 yards, and the defense held Pittsburgh to only 282 total yards. Trailing 10-6 late in the first half, the Chiefs drove to the Pittsburgh 12 and faced fourth-and-inches with 27 seconds to go. They went for it instead of a field goal and were stuffed. Key trend: Chiefs 4-6 ATS in past 10 at home vs. AFC North.
Nov. 1 -- Lions (-1): This is Kansas City's final game before the bye, and while it's technically a home game it's in London with a 9:30 a.m. ET start. Detroit hosts Minnesota the previous week. It's the first time Kansas City will play overseas. Bit surprised the NFL is making the Chiefs go because they draw so well at home. Key trend: Chiefs 5-5 ATS in past 10 before a bye (home or away).
Nov. 29 -- Bills (+2.5): Kansas City off road trips to Denver and San Diego, while Buffalo is on a short week, at New England in Week 11. The Chiefs won in Buffalo 17-13 in Week 10 last season. They overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit on a Charles 39-yard TD run with 13:30 left in the fourth, and then Smith got Kansas City the lead on an 8-yard run with 8:59 remaining. The Chiefs had only 278 yards. Key trend: Chiefs 4-6 ATS in past 10 at home vs. AFC East.
Dec. 13 -- Chargers (+2): Kansas City off a trip to Oakland in Week 13, while San Diego is off its bye week. The Chiefs beat the visiting Chargers 19-7 in Week 17 last year to knock the Bolts out of playoff contention. K.C. needed both Baltimore and Houston to lose to make it in, but neither did. Justin Houston had four sacks in the game to win the single-season NFL title and finish with 22, a half-sack off the league record. Chase Daniel started for an injured Smith and threw for 157 yards without a pick. Key trend: Chiefs 6-3-1 ATS in past 10 vs. Bolts as a home favorite.
Dec. 27 -- Browns (+5.5): Kansas City is off a trip to Baltimore, while Cleveland is in Seattle in Week 15. First meeting since a 23-17 Chiefs home win in October 2013. Smith threw for 225 yards and two scores. Key trend: Chiefs 7-3 ATS in past 10 December games as a home favorite of at least 3.5 points.
Jan .3 -- Raiders (TBA): No line in Week 17 with too many potential intangibles and clinching/nothing to playoff for scenarios. Oakland will have extra time to prepare as it hosts San Diego on Thursday in Week 16. Still, this is the best possible finale for Kansas City instead of the Chargers or Broncos. Kansas City beat visiting Oakland 31-13 in Week 15 last year to end a three-game losing streak. It was only a 10-6 lead before the Chiefs scored three touchdowns in less than five minutes in the third quarter, two by Knile Davis. Smith threw for 297 and two scores. Key trend: Chiefs 3-7 ATS in past 10 at home in series.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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