Game-by-game predictions: Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs could be a better team but wind up with the same 9-7 record in 2015. Relinquishing a home game and playing it overseas won’t help the cause.

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, at Houston, 1 p.m.

In Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer, the Texans will have a new starting quarterback. The Chiefs need to take advantage. Chiefs 17, Texans 13. Record: 1-0.

Week 2: Thursday, Sept. 17, Denver, 8:25 p.m.

The Chiefs haven’t beaten the Broncos since Denver was quarterbacked by Tim Tebow. Don’t count on things being different against Peyton Manning this time. Broncos 27, Chiefs 24. Record: 1-1.

Week 3: Monday, Sept. 28, at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m.

The Chiefs haven’t played at Lambeau Field since a thrilling overtime win in 2003. While this game may again be tight, expect a different winning team. Packers 23, Chiefs 20. Record: 1-2.

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4, at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

This could be one of the season’s pivotal games for the Chiefs. A third straight game against one of 2014’s playoff teams will prove difficult. Bengals 28, Chiefs 13. Record: 1-3.

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, Chicago, 1 p.m.

The schedule becomes decidedly easier for the Chiefs here. They’ll take advantage in a big way. Chiefs 34, Bears 10. Record: 2-3.

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18, at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

This is a game the Chiefs must have if they’re to climb back in the playoff race. They’ll get this one, too. Chiefs 24, Vikings 17. Record: 3-3.

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

The Chiefs won’t play at Arrowhead Stadium again for more than a month. They’ll say good-bye to their fans with a victory. Chiefs 23, Steelers 20. Record: 4-3.

Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1, Detroit in London, 9:30 a.m.

The Chiefs will wish they were back at Arrowhead by the time this one is finished. This could be the game that costs them the playoffs. Lions 31, Chiefs 30. Record: 4-4.

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15, at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Starting here, four of the next five games are against divisional opponents. So this loss will hurt. Broncos 33, Chiefs 23. Record: 4-5.

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22, at San Diego, 8:30 p.m.

If there’s to be a postseason push, it has to begin here. Just one of the last seven games is against a 2014 playoff team. Chiefs 20, Chargers 14. Record: 5-5.

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, Buffalo, 1 p.m.

The Chiefs will welcome back their former starting quarterback, Matt Cassel, now with the Bills. Things won’t go much better for him. Chiefs 21, Bills 17. Record: 6-5.

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, at Oakland, 4:05 p.m.

The Raiders won’t be winless, as they were in beating the Chiefs late last season. But they’ll deal the Chiefs’ playoff hopes another cruel blow. Raiders 24, Chiefs 21. Record: 6-6.

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, San Diego, 1 p.m.

This could be the Chiefs’ final game against the San Diego Chargers. If so, they’ll finish this chapter of their rivalry with a season sweep. Chiefs 34, Chargers 24. Record: 7-6.

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20, at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

History repeats. A late December road loss to an AFC North opponent (Pittsburgh) kept the Chiefs from the playoffs in 2014. Ravens 26, Chiefs 21. Record: 7-7.

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, Cleveland, 1 p.m.

The Chiefs will win the war. But Dwayne Bowe will win the battle. He will catch a touchdown pass. Chiefs 27, Browns 7. Record: 8-7.

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, Oakland, 1 p.m.

The Chiefs will finish their season as they did in 2014. They’ll beat a division rival but the victory will be an unsatisfying one because it won’t put them in the playoffs. Chiefs 20, Raiders 7. Record: 9-7.