Sunday May 15, 2022

Kansas City Chiefs, NFL schedule

Dec 12, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; The Kansas City Chiefs players on the bench dance during the second half against the Las Vegas Raiders at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Kansas City Chiefs have the NFL schedule that would rate the toughest for the upcoming 2022 season
  • It’s the Philadelphia Eagles who grade out with the easiest schedule
  • The calculations were arrived at based on the 2022 NFL SOS, a formula created by SBD editor-in-chief Matt McEwen

For the second consecutive season the team that has been assigned the toughest NFL schedule in 2022 is a team  that plays in the AFC West.

This season, that team is the Kansas City Chiefs. A year ago, it was the Las Vegas Raiders.

If you don’t think NFL strength of schedule is a significant component, then you haven’t been paying attention. In 1972, the Miami Dolphins became the only team in NFL history to roll through a season unbeaten and win the Super Bowl. But during the regular season, the Dolphins were hardly required to break a sweat. The 8-6 Chiefs were the only team Miami faced during the 14-game regular season that finished the year with a winning record. The Dolphins weren’t forced to play a single 1972 playoff team in any of their 14 games.

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That history lesson also brings to the present. For years, oddsmakers calculated NFL strength of schedule similar to horse racing touts, analyzing past performances to project future outcomes. However, pro sports is a what have you done for me lately pursuit.

To that end, SBD editor-in-chief Matt McEwen concocted an entirely new way of assessing NFL strength of schedule. The propietary method he designed to determine how difficult a schedule each team faces bases calculations upon the the NFL win totals put out by sportsbooks at the start of each season.

When he did the math, McEwen came up with the Chiefs as the squad facing the toughest test during the 2022 NFL season. At the other end of the spectrum, the Philadelphia Eagles are projected to have the easiest ride of the 32 NFL clubs.

That’s good news for Eagles fans. Since McEwen first unveiled his formula in 2018, every team that was assigned the NFL schedule deemed the easiest has made the playoffs. Among teams facing the toughest NFL schedule, the 2021 Raiders and 2019 Houston Texans qualified for postseason play.

Chiefs Facing A Tough Road

Several NFL teams came up with clever methods for announcing their 2022 NFL schedule review on Thursday, May 12. The Los Angeles Chargers utilized anime, while the Detroit Lions enlisted the help of team security. In the case of the Denver Broncos, they employed one Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Peyton Manning, to welcome their new Super Bowl-winning QB Russell Wilson.

As far as the Chiefs were concerned, they saw no need to incorporate bells and whistles. Their ploy was to simply have head coach Andy Reid, seated at his desk, reacting to the slate of games placed in front of him. At 156, KC’s strength of schedule is just ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers (154.5).

Yes, it’s that daunting. The Chiefs will play nine game against 2021 playoff clubs. They are facing last year’s Super Bowl teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals, in successive weeks. They also travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers, who lost to the Rams in the NFC Championship Game.

Fourteen of Kansas City’s 17 opponents are projected to enjoy winning seasons in 2022. Nine of them are being assigned double-digit win totals for the upcoming campaign. They are facing six of the top-eight teams favored to the win the Super Bowl in the opening NFL odds.

2022 Kansas City Chiefs Schedule

Week Opponent 2022 Win Total
Sept 11 @ Arizona Cardinals 9.5
Sept 15 Los Angeles Chargers 10
Sept 25 @ Indianapolis Colts 9.5
Oct 2 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11.5
Oct 10 Las Vegas Raiders 8.5
Oct 16 Buffalo Bills 11.5
Oct 23 @ San Francisco 49ers 10
Nov 6 Tennessee Titans 9.5
Nov 13 Jacksonville Jaguars 6.5
Nov 20 @ Los Angeles Chargers 10
Nov 27 Los Angeles Rams 10.5
Dec 4 @ Cincinnati Bengals 10
Dec 11 @ Denver Broncos 10
Dec 18 @ Houston Texans 4.5
Dec 24 Seattle Seahawks 6
Jan 1 Denver Broncos 10
Jan 8 @ Las Vegas Raiders 8.5

Odds as of May 14th at DraftKings Sportsbook

Amazingly, despite this rugged road in front of them, the Chiefs are favored to win 12 of 17 games in the NFL opening spreads. The Chiefs are 2.5-point favorites to beat the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams at home on Nov 27. They’re also a 1-point pick at San Francisco on Oct 23.

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Two back-to-back road games – at Cincinnati on Dec 4 and at Denver on Dec 11 – are listed as pick’em in the opening odds. Kansas City is a 2.5-point road underdog against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct 2. Facing the Buffalo Bills on a short week on Oct 16, the Chiefs are surprising 1.5-point home underdogs at Arrowhead Stadium. That spread has already lengthened after opening at Bills-1. They are also set as 1.5-point underdogs at the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov 20.

It figures to be a challenging campaign for the Chiefs. The AFC West is clearly the NFL’s deepest division. Denver now has Wilson under center.  Chargers QB Justin Herbert is maturing into an NFL star. The Raiders picked up All-Pro wideout Devante Adams from Green Bay. Meanwhile, the Chiefs bid adieu to their All-Pro wideout, dealing Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins.

Kansas City opened 3-4 last season, then rallied to finish 12-5 and earn another AFC West title. The Chiefs are projected to win 10.5 games this season. A wager on the under at +128 just might pay dividends.

Where Eagles Dare To Dream

If the AFC West is the NFL’s best division, then the NFC East is probably rock bottom. It isn’t known as the NFC Least by accident. Last season, when the Dallas Cowboys won the division with a 12-5 slate, it marked the first time over the past four seasons that the NFC East champ won more than 10 games.

In 2020, Washington won the group with seven victories. Philadelphia required just nine wins to lead the way in 2019.

That being the case, the NFL schedule is setting up nicely for the Eagles. They face just seven teams projected to post winning seasons. Just five of 17 regular-season games are against 2021 playoff squads. Philly’s strength of schedule is 137, slighty behind their division rivals the New York Giants at -138.

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2022 Philadelphia Eagles Schedule

Week Opponent 2022 Win Total
Sept 11 @ Detroit Lions 6
Sept 19 Minnesota Vikings 9
Sept 25 @Washington Commanders 7.5
Oct 2 Jacksonville Jaguars 6.5
Oct 9 @ Arizona Cardinals 9.5
Oct 16 Dallas Cowboys 10.5
Oct 30 Pittsburgh Steelers 7.5
Nov 3 @Houston Texans 4.5
Nov 14 Washington Commanders 7.5
Nov 20 @ Indianapolis Colts 9.5
Nov 27 Green Bay Packers 11
Dec 4 Tennessee Titans 9.5
Dec 11 @ New York Giants 7
Dec 18 @ Chicago Bears 7
Dec 24 @ Dallas Cowboys 10.5
Jan 1 New Orleans Saints 8
Jan 8 New York Giants 7

Philly is favored in 11 games in the opening NFL spreads, including road games at the Detroit Lions (-4), Houston Texans (-4.5), New York Giants (-1.5) and Chicago Bears (-2.5). The Eagles are the chalk in seven of nine home games. They’re a 1-point pick when the AFC South champion Tennessee Titans visit on Dec 4. Philly’s other two home dates – against the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 27 and Dallas Cowboys on Oct 16 – are listed as pick’em. A Sept 25 visit to Washington is also listed as pick’em.

The Eagles are an underdog in three games. They’re +2 at Arizona on Oct. 9 but are getting the Cardinals before All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins is back from NFL suspension. The Eagles are +3 at the Indianapolis Colts in a showdown of teams that decided they didn’t want Carson Wentz as their QB. They’ll also go to Dallas on Christmas Eve as +3.5-point underdogs to the Cowboys.

The addiiton of wide AJ Brown gives Eagles QB Jalen Hurts an elite downfield target. As noted above, all four previous teams with the easiest schedule under this formula ended up in the playoffs. That bodes well for the Eagles and for a play on them to go over 8.5 wins at -134.

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