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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NFL schedule is officially here. With free agency mostly over with and the 2021 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, we can begin to preview the 2021 season. The AFC West should be one of the best divisions in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs will be motivated after falling short in the Super Bowl last year, the Los Angeles Chargers are excited to move forward with their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, the Las Vegas Raiders feel they made some improvements to become more competitive and the Denver Broncos appeared to have had one of the best drafts of any NFL team

The Chiefs have won the division five years in a row, but could that change in 2021? Additionally, how many teams will the AFC West send to the playoffs? Below, we will break down the Chiefs' 2021 schedule. We will list all 17 games, examine key matchups and give an initial season prediction:

2021 Chiefs schedule

WeekOpponentDateTime (ET)Network

1

vs. Browns

Sept. 12

4:25 p.m.

CBS

2

at Ravens

Sept. 19

8:20 p.m.

NBC

3

vs. Chargers

Sept. 26

1 p.m.

CBS

4

at Eagles

Oct. 3

1 p.m.

CBS

5

vs. Bills

Oct. 10

8:20 p.m.

NBC

6

at Washington

Oct. 17

1 p.m.

CBS

7

at Titans

Oct. 24

1 p.m.

CBS

8

vs. Giants

Nov. 1

8:15 p.m.

ESPN

9

vs. Packers

Nov. 7

4:25 p.m.

FOX

10

at Raiders

Nov. 14

8:20 p.m.

NBC

11

vs. Cowboys

Nov. 21

4:25 p.m.

FOX

12

BYE

Nov. 28

13

vs. Broncos

Dec. 5

1 p.m.

CBS

14

vs. Raiders

Dec. 12

1 p.m.

CBS

15

at Chargers

Dec. 16

8:20 p.m.

FOX/NFL/Amazon

16

vs. Steelers

Dec. 26

4:25 p.m.

CBS

17

at Bengals

Jan. 2

1 p.m.

CBS

18at BroncosJan. 94:25 p.m.CBS

Chiefs key games

  • Week 1 vs. Cleveland Browns: It's wild to consider, but the Browns may be one of the best teams in the NFL this season. This roster has talent on both sides of the ball, and it may just come down to whether Baker Mayfield can take another step forward. The Browns had the Chiefs on the ropes a few months ago when Patrick Mahomes went down with an injury in the divisional round, so Kansas City can't sleepwalk through this one. 
  • Week 5 vs. Buffalo Bills: Kansas City defeated Buffalo in the AFC Championship game, so the Bills will be out for revenge. Remember, Josh Allen and Co. held a 9-0 lead in the second quarter before the Chiefs finally started to get things going.    
  • Week 11 vs. Dallas Cowboys : Mahomes grew up a big Cowboys fan, and this will be the first time he takes on "America's Team." The Cowboys always seem to fall short of the preseason hype they receive every year, but maybe this season will be different. Dallas made some improvements to its defense, and star quarterback Dak Prescott finally got the extension he had been hoping for. 

Chiefs toughest matchup

Week: 9 | Date: Nov. 7 | Time: 4:25
Opponent: Green Bay Packers

Let's assume Aaron Rodgers softens his stance with the Packers franchise and does in fact stay and play in Green Bay. Then the Packers would certainly be one of the toughest matchups the Chiefs have in the regular season. Rodgers put together an MVP campaign while leading Green Bay to a 13-3 record last year. The Packers have made it to the NFC Championship game two years in a row now, and are looking to get over that hump in 2021. Chiefs vs. Packers could have a Super Bowl-like feel to it this year. 

Chiefs projected win total

2021 record prediction: 14-3

The Chiefs are one of the best teams in football, and they also get the benefit of playing a few of their toughest opponents in Arrowhead this season. This team rolled through the regular season last year, as they slipped up once against the Raiders and then their backups lost to the Chargers in Week 17. We will see if the offensive line is as good as their healthy unit was last year, but I'm still confident in this team. I'm adding just one more loss to their record with the addition of one more game, but maybe even that is aggressive.