KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you're looking for reasons to be optimistic about the chances for the Kansas City Chiefs over the season's final 11 games, there's this: Their schedule flattens considerably after Sunday's game against the Chargers in San Diego.
We knew going in that this early-season stretch would be difficult for the Chiefs but now we have the numbers. They've played five games against opponents with a cumulative record of 16-12, for a winning percentage of .571. That's seventh highest in the NFL.
Their opponents for the final 11 games have a current winning percentage of 470. That's 24th highest in the NFL, 11th highest in the AFC and, maybe most importantly, fourth highest in the AFC West. After Sunday's game against the 5-1 Chargers, the winning percentage for the 10 remaining Chiefs opponents dips to .444, which would be 29th highest in the league.
So there's much riding on the Chiefs' ability to come out of San Diego with a victory. If they do, they are 3-3 and their next two games are at home against teams with a current cumulative record of 2-9 (St. Louis Rams and New York Jets). That means the Chiefs could be 5-3 heading into the season's second half, with a remaining schedule that includes two games with the Oakland Raiders, who are at this point still winless.
Given their rash of injuries, a dismal loss against the miserable Tennessee Titans and an otherwise difficult schedule, 4-4 probably wouldn't be so bad. But it probably wouldn't be enough to keep the Chiefs in the playoff race, no matter how easy their remaining schedule.