Thanks to their first place slot in the AFC West this season; Kansas City faces some familiar foes next season and has some exciting players like Michael Vick, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning who are all headed to Arrowhead next season as well as tough road games in Tampa Bay and Tennessee.
Kansas City Chiefs 2004 Schedule
2004 Home Games:
New England Patriots or Miami Dolphins
San Diego Chargers
The Chiefs face the winner of the 2003 AFC East champ at home next season. At this point the New England Patriots have a two game lead over the Miami Dolphins so it's likely the Patriots will be playing at Arrowhead next season.
Regardless, the Chiefs are glad they don't have to play the Patriots on the road again this year. Last season the Chiefs lost an overtime game and the Patriots have not played in Arrowhead in a long time.
With home games against the, Texans, Colts and Patriots, the Chiefs certainly have the scheduling advantage against AFC teams. Plus Michael Vick will be playing at Arrowhead for the first time in his career and the Chiefs faithful should be pumped for his debut.
The Carolina Panthers with Julian Peppers should be an interesting game, especially if the Panthers are the NFC representative for the Super Bowl and the Chiefs are the AFC representative.
If that happens, this game will certainly be the first Monday Night game of the season and the first of three likely prime time games for the Chiefs on ABC's center stage.
The Chiefs handled the Houston Texans and the rest of the AFC West this year and are poised to repeat the same pattern in 2004. The Texans will be improved but not enough to defeat the Chiefs at home.
2004 Road Games:
Cincinnati Bengals or Baltimore Ravens
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints
San Diego Chargers
The Chiefs are hoping the Bengals win the AFC North. That would set up a rematch of the bitter defeat they suffered in Cincinnati this year. Whoever wins the North division will host the Chiefs. The Ravens and Bengals are tied for the top spot through eleven games and in either game the Chiefs should be favored.
Other highlights of the 2004 road schedule will be a match-up with the Titans in what could be a precursor to the 2005 AFC Championship game. This game could determine home field advantage as the Titans should be even better next season than they are in 2003. This is another game certain to draw a national TV audience.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Jaguars will also be better next season but still it's a winnable road game for the Chiefs as is their game against the New Orleans Saints who imploded again this year and they should not pose a strong test for Kansas City.
But the game all Chiefs fans will be waiting with great anticipation is the road game at Tampa Bay. The Jon Gruden Bucs have fallen back this season and might still make the playoffs in 2003 but the Chiefs want to lay some heavy payback on Gruden who dominated the series against Kansas City during his tenure as the Oakland Raiders head coach.
Now the 2003 season is far complete and the Chiefs have lots of work to do. But for those who like to look down the road, Kansas City has another fortuitous home schedule and some very winnable road games. It looks like the NFL's scheduling Gods have done the Chiefs some prime time justice in 2004 with a very favorable home and away schedule.
However, Chiefs fans will have to wait until sometime in early April before the NFL releases the actual schedule. But the Chiefs should find themsleves regardless of a Super Bowl victory, some high profile prime time games on ABC and ESPN in 2004.