The 2023 NFL Schedule is out and is all the talk around the league right now. We’ve known what games the Chiefs would be playing for a while, but now we know when each game will be played and we have a feel for which games will carry more weight. By now, you’ve heard everybody talk about the big games, so I’m taking a look at some less talked about games that could end up not only being fun, but potentially having an impact on playoff seeding.
Week 1 vs. Lions
This is the first week and it’s an NFC opponent, so I’m obviously not including this one for playoff implications. I saw a lot of disappointment for this game being first on the schedule, but I love the matchup. I’m a huge fan of Dan Campbell and what he’s doing in Detroit. While the draft was a little strange, this is a team that has been improving every season under Campbell and was a highly competitive bunch last season. The Lions were one of the highest-scoring teams in the NFL last year, so we should be in for an entertaining game. I think it’s a perfect opening matchup and I’m excited for another Mahomes-Goff duel. Let’s not act like we forgot what happened the last time these two QBs squared off.
Week 2 @ Jaguars
I promise I’m not about to just go down the schedule week-by-week. These first two games just happened to jump out to me. I’m interested in this game for a few reasons:
- The improvement the Jags showed in year one under Doug Pederson
- Trevor Lawrence is ascending
- Playoff Implications
This Jaguars team figures to be much improved in year two under Doug Pederson. Not really because of any splashy free agency moves (their biggest offseason “move” was losing starting RT Jawaan Taylor to the good guys), but because they have one of the NFL’s most promising young players in Trevor Lawrence, who looked ready to take another step forward in the playoffs last season. After the sneaky-good acquisition of Calvin Ridley at the deadline, the Jags have given Lawrence plenty of weapons to work with. This game should have some fireworks and should be another installment in a matchup we can plan on seeing many more times during the Mahomes era.
On top of all that, this game should have some serious playoff implications. The AFC South is shaping up to be a cakewalk for the Jaguars and I fully expect them to be in contention for the AFC’s top seed. While the game may not feel like it in week two, it could play a role in the seeding of the AFC playoffs.
Week 15 @ Patriots
I almost went with the week 13 game against the Packers here, but I settled on the Patriots game because of the AFC connection. Other than that, these games have a lot in common. Both are prime-time games, both are on the road, and the Chiefs should be comfortable favorites in both of the games. The reason I’m highlighting these games as games to watch is that they’re happening in the midst of a stretch of some of the most anticipated matchups on the schedule. Like in every other Andy Reid season, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Chiefs will have a dud or two. The Colts game last season is one that comes to mind first. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a down game between the two.
One thing I’ll say about the Patriots is that if they improved from last season, they could be in the playoff picture and make that game a lot more interesting than any fans are expecting at this juncture. That would also make the game more important for seeding. Don’t be surprised if we get a run for our money out of Belichick and Co.
Hopefully, this got you excited about some of the lesser anticipated games on the schedule. I’m generally not a big fan of the pomp and circumstance that the NFL places around every little offseason event, but there is one thing we can all celebrate from these offseason milestones: each one gets us closer to some more Chiefs football.