Sorting Through the Schedule

View photos of the remaining quarterbacks the Chiefs will face through the rest of the 2014 season

San Diego Chargers

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When:Week 7*October 19, 2014 in San Diego and Week 17December 28, 2014*in Kansas City Record:4-1 Who they have beaten: Seattle (3-1), Buffalo (3-2), Jacksonville (0-5) and the New York Jets (1-4) Who they have lost against: Arizona (3-1) Upcoming game: at Oakland Raiders (0-4) Sunday 

The first (Week 7) and last (Week 17) team the Kansas City Chiefs will play out of the bye week is one of their division rivals, the San Diego Chargers. While the first contest will undoubtedly be about getting back on track after the setback to San Francisco, by the time the second game rolls around Week 17, playoffs could hang in the balance.

The Chargers are one of two teams in the NFL who are right now on a league-high four-game winning streak (only the Dallas Cowboys match that), including the only win on record this season against the reigning world champion Seattle Seahawks.

The Chargers have found much early success this season despite being hit with a slew of injuries at the running back position. First, they lost starter Ryan Mathews to a knee injury in their second game against the Seahawks. He still hasn't practiced as of this week. Next, backup Danny Woodhead went down for the year after suffering a broken right leg in the next game. Finally, third string Donald Brown left last Sunday's game with a concussion; this meant fourth string Branden Oliver, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Buffalo, received the bulk of the work.

You may expect that the Chargers would have faltered with those injuries. But they haven't, and that's due to the play of Phillip Rivers, who has shined thus far for San Diego. Through five games, he is 116 of 165 for 1,443 yards, 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Seven different receivers on the Chargers have five receptions or more and four different players have recorded receiving touchdowns. Also, the team's defense is the third best in the league based on yards allowed per game at 290.8.

The Chargers play the 0-4 Oakland Raiders next, meaning the Chiefs may wind up needing to end a five-game winning streak out of the bye.

Rams.jpg

When:Week 8 – October 26, 2014 in Kansas CityRecord: 1-3Who they have beaten: Tampa Bay (1-4)Who they have lost against: Minnesota (2-3), Dallas (4-1) and Philadelphia (4-1)Upcoming game: vs. San Francisco 49ers (3-2) Monday

The total opponent record for the Chiefs during the first six games of the season is 16-12. But during the three-game stretch that begins with the St. Louis Rams, it eases up at 5-9.

But careful with the Rams. They are not as bad as their 1-3 record indicates.

There was certainly more promise for the Rams' 2014 campaign before it began. That positive feeling dwindled when Sam Bradford was lost for the year in the preseason and backup Shaun Hill left the first game with a quad injury.

Third-year quarterback Austin Davis has filled in since then and in many ways has been a pleasant surprise. In four games of work, his numbers have been solid and he has more than 1,000 yards passing, six touchdowns and a fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory to show for it.

If you take away the first game that Davis did not start (a 34-6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings), the Rams' point differential is only -6, losing to a 4-1 Cowboys team and a 4-1 Philadelphia team by just a score a piece.

Combine that with the fact that wide receiver Brian Quick is having a breakout season (three touchdowns), quarterback Shaun Hill is expected back this Monday night against the 49ers and defensive lineman Robert Quinn is still one of the best pass rushers in the league, and this Rams team will not be one you want to overlook.

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When:Week 9 – November 2, 2014 in Kansas CityRecord: 1-4Who they have beaten: Oakland (0-4)Who they have lost against: Green Bay (3-2), Chicago (2-3), Detroit (3-2) and San Diego (4-1)Upcoming game: vs. Denver Broncos (3-1) Sunday

The Jets' lone win of the season came Week 1 against the winless Oakland Raiders. The next game started a four-game losing streak and things don't get any easier with their upcoming opponent in the reigning AFC Champion Denver Broncos.

The San Diego Chargers, led by efforts from their fourth-string running back in Branden Oliver, shut out the Jets last game, 31-0. Oliver rushed for 114 yards on 19 attempts and scored a touchdown in the win.

Jets starter Geno Smith has six interceptions on the year compared to just four touchdowns and when Michael Vick replaced him last game, he was no better, going 8 for 19 for just 47 yards.

The Jets will look to turn it around before their showdown with the Chiefs at Arrowhead on November 2.* *

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When:Week 10 – November 9, 2014 in BuffaloRecord:3-2Who they have beaten: Chicago (2-3), Miami (2-2) and Detroit (3-2)Who they have lost against: San Diego (4-1) and Houston (3-2)Upcoming game: vs. New England Patriots (3-2) Sunday

The Bills benched quarterback E.J. Manuel for Kyle Orton last Sunday against the Lions and from a margin of wins and losses, it was the right call.

Orton went 30 for 43 for 308 yards for a touchdown and an interception in the Bills' 17-14 win against a Lions team that entered the game 3-1.

Rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins has made an immediate impact. Through the Bills' first five games, Watkins has been targeted a team-high 44 times and leads in receiving touchdowns with two. A test for Watkins will be this Sunday against Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is known for having a knack for shutting down effective receivers.

The Bills defense ranks eighth in the NFL based on yards per game allowed (324.8) and as a unit, has six interceptions on the year led by cornerback Leodis McKelvin's two.

Sunday's matchup against the New England Patriots, who are coming off of a blowout win against the previously undefeated Cincinnati Bengals, will be telling as to how seriously the Bills should be taken.

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When:Week 11 – November 16, 2014 in Kansas CityRecord: 3-1Who they have beaten: Green Bay (3-2), Denver (3-1) and Washington (1-4)Who they have lost against: San Diego (4-1)Upcoming game: vs. Dallas Cowboys (4-1) Sunday

While there is no doubt that the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks are getting it done in the win column in 2014, through four games, they haven't been as dominant as they were last season.

The Seahawks were 4-0 and their win differential was already 62 points at this time last year. Now it's 27 and the team has already lost a game to the San Diego Chargers.

What is making that difference has to be on the defensive side of the ball. All of last regular season, the Seahawks allowed just 273.6 yards per game. No other team in the NFL finished with less than 300.

That number has dipped this season to 317.8 yards per game, which, while still impressive at fifth in the league, isn't what we're used to seeing.

All that said about the defense, the offense is rolling. Two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson is having an outstanding season, and his 7.2 yards per rushing attempt leads all players in the league.

In a "battle of really loud fan bases," the Chiefs meet the Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium Week 11.

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When:Week 12 November 20, 2014 in Oakland and Week 15*December 14, 2014*in Kansas CityRecord:0-4Who they have beaten:n/aWho they have lost against:New York Jets (1-4), Houston (3-2), New England (3-2) and Miami (2-2)Upcoming game: vs. San Diego Chargers (4-1) Sunday

Head coach Dennis Allen was fired after the first four Raiders game this season. New head coach Tony Sparano buried a football.

Oakland is a team that has had a dismal four-game stretch to begin the year, only matched and surpassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars at 0-5. Though the Radiders are in an 0-4 hole, a new head coach could mean an entirely different team by the time the Chiefs face them in Week 12 and then again three games later in Week 15. We saw that with Andy Reid in Kansas City.

One thing to be optimistic about is that they have all six of their division games remaining.

How they do this Sunday against AFC West-rival San Diego will either start them on the right foot or continue their path in the wrong direction.

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When:Week 13 – November 30, 2014 in Kansas CityRecord: 3-1Who they have beaten: Indianapolis (3-2), Kansas City (2-3) and Arizona (3-1)Who they have lost against: Seattle (3-1)Upcoming game: at New York Jets (1-4) Sunday

The Broncos are the only team left in the remaining schedule that the Chiefs have already played this season. The first time around, the Chiefs lost 24-17 in a game that required a goal line stand late in the fourth quarter by the Broncos.

That game seemed to springboard the Chiefs, who rattled off two wins in a row before falling to the 49ers last Sunday.

The Broncos success, as widely known, has much to do with 13-time Pro Bowler and five-time MVP Peyton Manning, who is once again dazzling this season with a 12 touchdowns to three interceptions ratio. 

This Broncos-Chiefs matchup will likely have playoff implications by the time it is to be played in mid-November and the Chiefs hope it regards a possible AFC West title.

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When:Week 14 – December 7, 2014 in ArizonaRecord: 3-1Who they have beaten: San Diego (4-1), New York Giants (3-2) and San Francisco (3-2)Who they have lost against: Denver (3-1)Upcoming game: vs. Washington Redskins (1-4) Sunday

The Arizona Cardinals are 3-1 even though they were forced to use their third quarterback of the season last Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

Preseason starter Carson Palmer was injured in the Cardinals' second game against the New York Giants and since then, seven-year journeyman quarterback Drew Stanton has filled in his place, leading the team to two victories and one loss.

Stanton suffered a concussion last Sunday against the Broncos, forcing rookie fourth-round pick Logan Thomas into the mix at quarterback. Thomas will likely start this Sunday against the Redskins with both Palmer and Stanton still dealing with injuries.

Third-year receiver Michael Floyd has led the Cardinals in the receiving game with 259 yards on 12 receptions, ahead of veteran Larry Fitzgerald with just 164 on 13. 

Even though Palmer won't be back this Sunday against the Redskins, expect him back in the lineup by the time the Chiefs play them in Week 14.

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When:Week 16 – December 21, 2014 in PittsburghRecord: 3-2Who they have beaten: Cleveland (2-2), Carolina (3-2) and Jacksonville (0-5)Who they have lost against: Baltimore (3-2) and Tampa Bay (1-4)Upcoming game: at Cleveland Browns (2-2) Sunday

The Steelers have alternated wins and losses week by week this season and will try to put two together against the Browns this Sunday.

Second-year running back Le'Veon Bell has been the story so far this season for Pittsburgh. Through five games, he has already recorded 460 rushing yards, which is more than half of the rushing yards he had all of the 2013 season. His 5.3 yards per attempt number places him in seventh place among all running backs.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is having another outstanding season to compliment Bell. He has already totaled more than 1,300 yards and seven touchdowns through the air. The showdown between the Chiefs and Steelers in Pittsburgh Week 16 could wind up being a key matchup between AFC Wild Card berth contenders if by that time the two team's respective records stay around the .500 mark.

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