The Super Bowl champs now know what they need to do to make history after the full 2024 NFL schedule was released. If the Kansas City Chiefs want to get back to the big game to win their third consecutive title and fourth in six years, it will be a unique journey.

Coming off a Super Bowl title, the champions rarely get the easiest schedule. This has always been the approach of the NFL schedule makers, aiming to maintain competitive balance. Typically, teams that finished near the bottom in wins the previous season receive a much lighter schedule.

For the upcoming season, the Chiefs rank around the middle of the pack in schedule difficulty, coming in at No. 12, according to Sharp Football Analysis. This ranking is based on the projected win totals of the teams they face. However, the difficulty of a schedule isn't solely determined by the opponents. Several other factors can influence how challenging a schedule can be.

This year's Chiefs team has perhaps the most unique schedule of any NFL team in recent memory, which could become problematic as they attempt to compile wins over a 17-game season.

Chiefs may have to find wins early in the 2024 NFL schedule

Jan. 29, 2023: Patrick Mahomes raises the Lamar Hunt Trophy while Travis Kelce celebrates after the Kansas City Chiefs' 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC championship game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Being the NFL's latest dynasty has its ups and downs. The upside is that you're the best team in the league and have been for some time. The downside is that everyone is gunning for you, and a good chunk of your games will be in prime time for everyone to see, as they are considered must-see matchups.

When you look at Kansas City's schedule, there are two portions that look daunting, all because of how the games are positioned. Within the first five weeks of the season, the Chiefs have three prime-time games, all on different days. They begin the season with the season opener on Thursday Night Football against their AFC Championship Game opponent from last season, the Baltimore Ravens. Then, two weeks later, it's off to Atlanta to face the Falcons, where Patrick Mahomes will make his first regular-season appearance inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday Night Football. Then it's onto October play, where they'll face the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.

But what's scary is what's in between some of those games. Though they'll have extra rest, the Chiefs have to go from facing last year's MVP Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in Week 1 to then facing Joe Burrow and the Bengals in Week 2. Then after taking on the new-look Falcons with Kirk Cousins under center the following week, it's off to challenge the Jim Harbaugh-led Chargers with Justin Herbert under center before ending their first set of prime-time games against New Orleans the following week.

Having the Ravens and Bengals at home in the first two weeks is helpful, but traveling to opposite sides of the country — Atlanta and Los Angeles — on back-to-back weeks the next two is concerning. And a large part of that is due to the quarterback play they'll be facing all in that first month.

Chiefs' last part of the 2024 schedule presents unique challenges

Those first five weeks will be extremely challenging, where the Chiefs will have to avoid any major skids. While the middle part of their schedule eases up a bit, it's the last part of their season they will have to creatively maneuver through.

With the NFL deciding to have the Chiefs play on Christmas Day, Kansas City will be going through a stretch of playing three games in 10 days, as CBSSports John Breech noted. They'll begin on Sunday, December 15, against the Browns in Cleveland, then the Texans at home on Saturday, December 21, and then back on the road in Pittsburgh for a Yuletide matchup against the Steelers.

That will be three straight games against opponents who made the playoffs last season, not to mention two road games (and three if you count the season closer against the Broncos in Denver). Safe to say the Chiefs know they have coal in their stocking waiting for them this year.

It's this last part of the schedule that impacts the first so much. This may be the most experienced, veteran team in all of the NFL, but not many teams have had to maneuver through a schedule like this. Travis Kelce got part of his wish with a top heavy portion of the schedule. But it will be the bottom portion that may be the most pressing. If the Chiefs want to seek their spot in NFL history, they will likely need to win early and often and stay as healthy as possible.