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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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So Who’s Coming to Arrowhead for the 2024 NFL Opener? The Schedule Wait Begins

  • The Chiefs will play one of eight teams in the 2024 kickoff, set for Sept. 5.
  • The NFL has typically favored scheduling non-divisional games for the high-profile season-starting slot.
Kansas City Chiefs
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Chiefs have won Super Bowl LVIII, a significant part of the NFL focus turns to 2024 schedule watching. 

In the spring the league is slated to release its schedule for next season, in keeping with its normal practice. Kansas City is set to host the season-opening game Sept. 5, continuing the NFL’s tradition of the defending Super Bowl champion having a prime-time home game on a Thursday night to start the new season. 

By terms of the NFL’s long-established schedule formula, the Chiefs’ opponents for their 2024 games have already been determined, and the away team for that high-profile season opener at Arrowhead Stadium will be one of these eight possibilities: 

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Denver Broncos
  • Houston Texans
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

The NFL typically hasn’t used the season opener for a game within a single division, and instead has shown a preference for a marquee interdivision or interconference matchup in that slot on NBC Sports, such as how the 2023 season started with the Lions at the Chiefs, the ’22 season kicked off with the Bills visiting the Rams, and the ’21 season began with the Cowboys playing at the Buccaneers. 

As a result, two opponents in particular emerge as the most likely scenarios for the 2024 season opener in Kansas City: the Ravens and Bengals. The Ravens-Chiefs game will be a rematch of the recent AFC championship game won by Kansas City, while the Bengals are looking to rebound after the season-ending injury to Joe Burrow during Week 11 in ’23. And there is arguably no better stage for the star quarterback’s comeback tour than the facility that Bengals teammate Mike Hilton once called “Burrowhead Stadium.”

The Texans also loom as a possibility, given their dramatic rise in 2023 from years of mediocrity—thanks partly to phenom C.J. Stroud—to the divisional round of the playoffs. If the NFL does change course and tap an AFC West divisional opponent for the Chiefs’ opener, it would almost certainly be the Chargers and new head coach Jim Harbaugh

Meanwhile the Chiefs are scheduled to play the 49ers in 2024, a Super Bowl LVIII rematch that promises to be one of the most-anticipated games next season. But that will be a home game for San Francisco. The ’24 NFL opener will also start an expanded slate of Week 1 prime-time games.

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