NFL schedule: Mahomes and the Chiefs' path to repeating as Super Bowl champions
- The 2020 NFL schedule release has laid out defending champions the Chiefs' path in their bid to return to the postseason reckoning.
- With the 16 regular-season games now set out, we have taken a look at the highlights from their schedule.
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will go into the 2020 NFL season rated among the favourites to win Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay.
Thursday's schedule release, which came after a dramatic free agency period and this year's draft, was another milestone ahead of the new campaign, which is currently scheduled to start in September.
If the Chiefs, led by 2018 league MVP and last year's Super Bowl MVP Mahomes, are to repeat as champions, their first task will be to reach the postseason, ideally with the number one seeding.
With the 16 regular-season games now set out, we have taken a look at the highlights from their schedule.
"This is going to be the first of many."@PatrickMahomes vs. @deshaunwatson. Can't wait for #Kickoff2020. pic.twitter.com/dj28cu509p — NFL (@NFL) May 8, 2020
Playoff rematch and divisional battle to open season
The Chiefs will begin with a playoff rematch at home to the Houston Texans, a game which will also serve to open the NFL season.
It will be a repeat of the AFC divisional round of last season's playoffs, in which the Chiefs recovered from being 24-0 down to record a memorable 51-31 win, Mahomes throwing for five touchdowns.
Week 2 then sees the Chiefs travel to Los Angeles for an AFC West rivalry game against the Chargers, a team they have beaten in 11 of their last 12 meetings.
Back-to-back against Ravens and Patriots
After those two entertaining matchups to start the season, things get even tougher for the Chiefs.
In Week 3 they will travel to play the Baltimore Ravens who, after going 14-2 in 2019 with quarterback Lamar Jackson being named MVP, are expected to provide the biggest competition in the AFC this year.
The Chiefs emerged triumphant with a 33-28 home win in the last meeting between the teams in September.
Then comes a home game against the New England Patriots, the last team to beat the Chiefs in the playoffs in the AFC Championship Game of the 2018 season.
It will be a different Pats outfit they face, though, following the departure of star QB Tom Brady.
Built to play in the spotlight pic.twitter.com/chIsTWfTxs — Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) May 8, 2020
Trips to Denver and Las Vegas
After that frantic start, the next stage of the season has fewer standout games and is highlighted by their other two divisional road trips.
In Week 7, KC face the Denver Broncos, looking for a 10th straight victory over their AFC West rivals, before two home games see them to their Week 10 bye.
After that, they travel to play the Raiders, now in Las Vegas rather than Oakland. The Chiefs scored 68 points in the teams' two games last season, winning both.
Mahomes vs Brady in Week 12
While the Week 4 game against New England is likely to see Mahomes come up against Jarrett Stidham, he should get another chance to face Brady as the Chiefs meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12.
The Chiefs will hope it is not their last game of the season at Raymond James Stadium, which will host the Super Bowl in February 2021.
Since he was drafted in 2017, Mahomes has won two of the three regular-season meetings with Brady, but the six-time Super Bowl champion came out on top when the Pats won that memorable playoff clash at Arrowhead Stadium.
While he has previous with Brady, Mahomes is yet to face the Bucs in his NFL career.
So, what do you think?? pic.twitter.com/bvdC3c0eIi — Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) May 8, 2020
Brees battle highlights final weeks
Another monumental game against a veteran QB hoping to lead his side to the Super Bowl comes in Week 15 when the Chiefs travel to play Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
This will be the first, and potentially only, career meeting between Brees and Mahomes, although the Saints should be in the postseason mix as the top NFC contenders along with the San Francisco 49ers and the Bucs.
The Chiefs will round out their season with home games against the Atlanta Falcons and then the Chargers that could be pivotal to deciding their final seeding for the playoffs.