In the words of Bruce Buffer, it’s time! Week one of the NFL regular season is finally upon us, and the Chiefs head to Foxborough to square off against the defending champion New England Patriots. Here are some current thoughts and observations going into the regular season.
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The Chiefs are entering the fifth season under the play of Alex Smith and the tutelage of Andy Reid. The Chiefs have mostly had the same core under Reid, which does not happen very often in the NFL. From last season, 43 players of the 53 on the active roster are returning. Of the ten players new to the team, five are draft picks from this spring, three are free agents, and two players were acquired via trade last week. This shows a testament to the players that Reid has stuck with and vice versa.
Following the conclusion of the preseason, the Chiefs are an extremely healthy team. Obviously, Spencer Ware is out for the season, and on Sunday, Steven Nelson was placed on the Reserve/Injured list. Nelson is slated to miss six to eight weeks. On Monday, every player participated in practice that could. This is huge, especially going into a matchup with the Patriots. Against New England, the Chiefs will have both defensive stars, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston, active for this game. They only played in the same game four times last year, and the Chiefs were 3-1 in those contests. Health is something that is hard to control, but the Chiefs are starting off in a good place.
The wide receiving core will be something to watch this season. Of the Chiefs six wide receivers on the active roster, the oldest is Albert Wilson, who is just 25 years old. Of the six wide receivers, the average age is 23.5. This is intriguing, but the abilities and different dynamics of these six players may gel well together.
We know any team can win a game on any given week in the NFL. But as good as the AFC West is, all four teams have the four toughest schedules for the 2017 season. The Chiefs have the second rated toughest schedule, based on the records from last season. The Chiefs will be tested with six primetime games this year, with five of the primetime games being in the first eight weeks of the season. Amazingly, the Chiefs six primetime games exceeds the number of primetime games the Patriots, Cowboys, and Packers all have in 2017.
The reason this season could be special is the Chiefs are open to change. They drafted a quarterback in the first round for the first time since 1983. Also, they made an unpopular move by parting ways with general manager John Dorsey. However, many are pleased with how new GM Brett Veach is running things. This season isn’t all or nothing, as the Chiefs are set up well for the future while still contending in the present.
Braden Holecek is a writer for cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.