The 2011 NFL playoff picture became a bit clearer yesterday, with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the St. Louis Rams to remain one game ahead of the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West. Right now, as it stands, the 9-5 Chiefs would be the 3rd seed in the AFC playoffs if they end up winning the AFC West. Yes, that means a home playoff game.
It also means Kansas City would face whoever the 6th seed is coming out of the AFC. There are four potential teams we're looking right now to fill that sixth seed spot:
San Diego Chargers, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Indianapolis Colts have a shot to make the playoffs but their only way in is essentially going to be winning the division. Their record isn't good enough for a wildcard spot. An AFC South title means Indy would be the 4th seed.
Here is who those four teams play in the next two games:
- San Diego: @ Cincy, @ Denver
- New York: @ Chicago, Buffalo
- Baltimore: @ Cleveland, Cincy
- Pittsburgh: Carolina, @ Cleveland
The Ravens and Steelers will be fighting it out for the AFC North title. Whoever doesn't win that division has a shot to play KC at Arrowhead.
The Chargers would only be playing Kansas City if they nab a wildcard spot, which is unlikely considering they're two games down to a couple of those teams already.
I think the Chiefs' first round opponent, if they make the playoffs, is going to be either the loser of the AFC North race or the New York Jets. Right now, my money says the Chiefs play the Jets in the first round at Arrowhead. I see the other three teams all winning their games but I see the Jets losing to Chicago.
Who do you think the Chiefs will play in the first round, if they make the playoffs?