Sideline Report: A look ahead to the upcoming NFL season


Braden Shaw, JagWire editor-in-chief

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting for this time of year since Tom Brady and the New England Patriots held up the Lombardi Trophy in this year’s Super Bowl. Football season is finally here, with the first week of the NFL season kicking off on Thursday night.

It feels like it’s been a long offseason. The ongoing controversy between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Brady took over most headlines as Brady defended himself in multiple court appearances during Deflategate. Even after all of the nonsense in court, Brady got out of trouble and is eligible to play Thursday night in the Patriots’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Besides the Brady controversy, this offseason contained the same flow of injuries — such as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler, Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson and Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin — and brand-new contracts — like Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston’s and Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s monster deals.

Needless to say, I’m ready for football season. It’s been far too long since I’ve constantly checked my fantasy football lineup and watched the Chiefs in all of their mediocrity. I always hope that the Chiefs can make a deep playoff run, but I’m always left disappointed. Nonetheless, I’ll try my hand at prognosticating the 2015-16 Chiefs season and will probably fail miserably.

The Chiefs come into this season tied for seventh with the Oakland Raiders in strength of schedule. With additions like wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and the return of defensive back Eric Berry, the Chiefs look to push for a playoff berth this season.

It also helps that Arrowhead Stadium is arguably the best home field advantage in the NFL, even though the Chiefs gave up a home game to play in London against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Nov. 1. If the Chiefs can win five or six home games this year, a playoff might just be in reach. It won’t be easy, considering the Chiefs play Chicago, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Cleveland, as well as division rivals San Diego, Oakland and Denver.

The road will be possibly even more difficult this year. The Chiefs have to face Houston, Green Bay, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Denver, San Diego, Oakland and Baltimore on the road this season. The key here is to get division wins against Oakland, San Diego and Denver, and steal a few wins from the Cincinnati and Houston. Green Bay and Denver seem slightly out of reach, but if the Chiefs can get through this brutal road schedule, it will be very interesting late in the playoff race.

When it’s all said and done, I see the Chiefs getting to 10-6 on the season. I believe the Chiefs have improved from last season and are able to secure a wild card spot for the playoffs. It probably won’t happen, knowing the Chiefs usually find a way to lose games they should win, but I have confidence in this team. No matter what happens, though, this is going to be another amazing season in the NFL.

Junior Braden Shaw is a passionate sports fan who follows sports at both the college and professional level. He loves to defend his unpopular opinions on the University of Nebraska, Sporting KC, Chiefs and Royals and is always up for a debate over any game or team.

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