FanPost

The road to the playoffs: 2013 Kansas City Chiefs

Kyle Rivas

From the FanPosts -Joel

Just the Facts, Ma'am.

Playoffs?

PLAYOFFS?!?

Yeah boys...playoffs.

Our Kansas City Chiefs are 6 and 0 -- FACT

Since 1990, 27 of the 29 teams that started 6-0 made the playoffs -- FACT

That means the Chiefs have a 93.1% chance of making the playoffs -- NOT A FACT

Percentages are not probabilities, probabilities are not predictions, and failed predictions don't invalidate probabilities or percentages. That being said, many of the talking heads around the NFL have thrown out these historical numbers without any analysis of what they mean to the 2013 Chiefs. Thus, I decided to delve into the Chiefs potential road to the playoffs a little deeper.

Is it too early to be talking about this? Well, yes actually. I have to make a ton of assumptions as I work this puzzle out. But, I'll explain my decisions as we go. And besides, it beats the heck out of talking about next year's draft in week seven of a season (on that note, thank you Mr. Clark, Mr. Reid, and Mr. Dorsey (you kind, kind sirs) for keeping me from throwing yet another "lucky" football through my television on Sundays...but I digress).

My Breakdown

So, why doesn't history mean that we have a 93.1% chance of making the playoffs? Well, first, as I stated above, that's a percentage...not necessarily a probability. But that's math stuff. Let's talk NFL stuff. You see, most of those teams that went 6 and 0 went on to the playoffs by winning their division. There's one small hiccup in applying that logic to the Chiefs, and that hiccup has a huge forehead, gets lusty looks from a horse-faced man, and plays for the stinking Doncos. Yes, for the first time since 1934, two teams in the same division are both 6-0.

So what would be the easy way into the playoffs? Well, beat Denver twice and win the division. The hard way involves grabbing one of two Wild Card spots. But how difficult is "the hard way?" I decided to look at the absolutely worst case scenario for the Chiefs to determine just what our boys have to do to guarantee a playoff spot.

Step 1: Finding the Second Place Teams

Grabbing a Wild Card spot means beating all but one of the other "second best teams" in each division of the AFC. We currently have ties for second place in the AFC East and AFC North, and a single second place team in the AFC South, each with 3 wins. I mapped out the remaining schedules for each of those five teams.

Now, all of those teams have a number of divisional games left to play, many of them against their current division leader. The first assumption in my analysis was to split remaining games between the leaders and the second place teams within each division. Why? Because we are trying to build the worst case scenario. If the division leader wins both games, it makes our second place competition weaker. If our second place team wins both games, they swap places and become weaker division leaders.

Thus, the worst thing for the Chiefs is for those teams to split games--it sets up the strongest second place competition. That being said, I need to assume that the second place teams all lose to the other AFC division leaders--it is the only way to keep them the division leaders.

The worst case for the Chiefs is to lose all of our games to the AFC division leaders, including both of our games with Denver (ptooey!) After all of those assumptions, the AFC record book would look like this:

Division

Winner

Final Record

AFC East

NE PATRIOTS

Wins:

5

Losses:

1

2nd Place

MIA DOLPHINS

@NE

CIN

@TB

SD

CAR

@NYJ

@PIT

NE

@BUF

NYJ

Total:

Wins:

3

Wins:

4

Losses:

2

L

L

W

Losses:

4

NY JETS

NE

@CIN

NO

@BUF

@BAL

MIA

OAK

@CAR

CLE

@MIA

Wins:

3

Wins:

3

Losses:

3

L

L

Losses:

5

Division

Winner

AFC North

CIN BENGALS

Wins:

4

Losses:

2

2nd Place

BAL RAVENS

@PIT

@CLE

CIN

@CHI

NYJ

PIT

MIN

@DET

NE

@CIN

Wins:

3

Wins:

4

Losses:

3

W

L

L

Losses:

5

CLE BROWNS

@GB

@KC

BAL

@CIN

PIT

JAX

@NE

CHI

@NYJ

@PIT

Wins:

3

Wins:

3

Losses:

3

L

L

Losses:

5

Division

Winner

AFC South

IND COLTS

Wins:

4

Losses:

2

2nd Place

TEN TITANS

SF

@STL

JAX

IND

@OAK

@IND

@DEN

ARI

@JAX

HOU

Wins:

3

W

Wins:

4

Losses:

3

L

L

Losses:

5

Division

Winner

AFC West

DEN BRONCOS

Wins:

6

Losses:

0

2nd Place

Remaining Games:

KC CHIEFS

HOU

CLE

@BUF

@DEN

SD

DEN

@WAS

@OAK

IND

@SD

Wins:

6

Wins:

6

Losses:

0

L

L

L

Losses:

3


















Step 2: Breaking the Ties

Now, our second place teams also play each other. They can't both win the game, so how should we assume those games will go? Again, keeping with the worst case scenario, we want to give wins to whichever of those teams is a bigger threat to our Chiefs. To determine the biggest threat, I went through and marked a win for every game that the second place teams play that is not against another second place AFC team. Is this realistic? No. Is this worst case? Yes. After doing so, the standings would look like this:

Division

Second Place

Record

Remaining Games:

AFC East

MIA DOLPHINS

BUF

@NE

CIN

@TB

SD

CAR

@NYJ

@PIT

NE

@BUF

NYJ

Total:

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

10

Losses:

2

L

L

Losses:

4

NY JETS

NE

@CIN

NO

@BUF

@BAL

MIA

OAK

@CAR

CLE

@MIA

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

Wins:

7

Losses:

3

L

L

Losses:

5

AFC North

BAL RAVENS

@PIT

@CLE

CIN

@CHI

NYJ

PIT

MIN

@DET

NE

@CIN

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

9

Losses:

3

L

L

Losses:

5

CLE BROWNS

@GB

@KC

BAL

@CIN

PIT

JAX

@NE

CHI

@NYJ

@PIT

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

9

Losses:

3

L

L

Losses:

5

AFC South

TEN TITANS

SF

@STL

JAX

IND

@OAK

@IND

@DEN

ARI

@JAX

HOU

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

11

Losses:

3

L

L

Losses:

5

AFC West

KC CHIEFS

HOU

CLE

@BUF

@DEN

SD

DEN

@WAS

@OAK

IND

@SD

Wins:

6

Wins:

6

Losses:

0

L

L

L

L

Losses:

4

Step 3: Finishing the Worst Case

Still with me? Good. From step 2, we can see that the Dolphins are a bigger threat than the Jets in the AFC East. In the North, the Ravens and Browns appear tied, but there's a catch. In order to get to their hypothetical 9-5, the Browns would have to beat the Chiefs but the Ravens would not. Thus, seeing a Browns team with a 9-5 prediction is worse than a 9-5 Ravens, and therefore the Browns are our AFC North second finisher. With that determined, we go to the Dolphins vs. Jets games and the Browns vs. Ravens games and give wins to the Fins and Brownies in both games. Again, real? Not so much. Worst case? Yes. And that absolute worst case looks like this:

Division

Second Place Challenger

Remaining Games:

AFC East

MIA DOLPHINS

BUF

@NE

CIN

@TB

SD

CAR

@NYJ

@PIT

NE

@BUF

NYJ

Total:

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

12

Losses:

2

L

L

Losses:

4

AFC North

CLE BROWNS

@GB

@KC

BAL

@CIN

PIT

JAX

@NE

CHI

@NYJ

@PIT

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

11

Losses:

3

L

L

Losses:

5

AFC South

TEN TITANS

SF

@STL

JAX

IND

@OAK

@IND

@DEN

ARI

@JAX

HOU

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

11

Losses:

3

L

L

Losses:

5

AFC West

KC CHIEFS

HOU

CLE

@BUF

@DEN

SD

DEN

@WAS

@OAK

IND

@SD

Wins:

6

?

?

?

?

?

?

Wins:

?

Losses:

0

L

L

L

L

Losses:

4

What Does This Tell Us?

Well, first, it tells us that the Chiefs could miss the playoffs with an 11 and 5 record, just like the 2008 Patriots. How? The Dolphins would be sitting at 12-4 with the Browns and Titans at 11-5. We own the tie-breaker over the Titans, but in our worst case scenario, we have lost to the Browns. We miss the playoffs by one.

Now, do we necessarily have to be 11-5 in this worst case scenario? No. If you look, even after losing to five-head twice, to Indy, and to Cleveland (which is all necessary to construct our worst case) we still have six games remaining. Thus, even in this mythical horrific situation, the Chiefs still control their own destiny--but they need to win out over Houston, Buffalo, Oakland, the Skins, and twice over Phyllis and the Bolts to secure their playoff berth. Bottom line is: there is absolutely no way for a 12 and 4 Chiefs team to miss the playoffs.

A Bit of a Prediction

As mentioned, this construct makes some far fetched assumptions, like our AFC teams winning every game over their NFC opponents (okay, maybe not that far fetched.) So, I went back and put questions marks by those games I thought had questionable results. Sure, we all know "any given Sunday" can strike, but I tried to keep wins over weaker teams in place, and only question close games. I then counted each of my question marks as a 50/50 shot at winning or losing, and thus added half of a loss and half of a win to each record in order to create a more "realistic" prediction for each of our teams. Noticeably, doing this moved the Ravens back up over the Browns as the second best team in the AFC North. Here is what those results look like:

Division

Second Place Challenger

:

AFC East

MIA DOLPHINS

BUF

@NE

CIN

@TB

SD

CAR

@NYJ

@PIT

NE

@BUF

NYJ

Worst Case:

Better Guess:

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

12

10.5

Losses:

2

L

L

?

?

?

Losses:

4

5.5

AFC North

BAL RAVENS

@PIT

@CLE

CIN

@CHI

NYJ

PIT

MIN

@DET

NE

@CIN

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

?

Wins:

11

10.5

Losses:

3

?

?

L

L

Losses:

5

5.5

CLE BROWNS

@GB

@KC

BAL

@CIN

PIT

JAX

@NE

CHI

@NYJ

@PIT

Wins:

3

W

W

W

?

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

11

9

Losses:

3

?

?

?

L

L

?

?

Losses:

5

7

AFC South

TEN TITANS

SF

@STL

JAX

IND

@OAK

@IND

@DEN

ARI

@JAX

HOU

Wins:

3

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

Wins:

11

10

Losses:

3

?

?

L

L

Losses:

5

6

AFC West

KC CHIEFS

HOU

CLE

@BUF

@DEN

SD

DEN

@WAS

@OAK

IND

@SD

Wins:

6

W

?

W

W

?

W

W

?

W

Wins:

12

13

Losses:

0

L

L

L

L

?

Losses:

4

3

So, this little breakdown shows the Chiefs waltzing into a Wild Card spot with a pretty comfortable margin. Can we put stock in any of this? No, not really, but I was curious to see what the rockiest road to the playoffs could look like... and it sure beats week seven mock drafts.

When all is said and done, however, I'd prefer we just beat the living tar out the Broncos and make the road to the Lombardi run through Arrowhead!

Go Chiefs!

(Final note: These tables looked much better when I created them in Numbers, but I could not figure out how to import that formatting. Hopefully they are still readable. Cheers. /juvatbull)

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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