UPDATE: This was written before the Chargers loss. Since they now lost, the Chiefs are in if they win out.
The Kansas City Chiefs loss to the Arizona Cardinals created a situation where the Chiefs have to win out to hope to make the playoffs. The Chiefs would also possibly need some help to make it in after that. The Chiefs are capable of winning out as we saw them with a five-game winning streak earlier this season. But anyone who has watched this team lose three straight has little confidence they can do that.
The Chiefs are currently in the 10th playoff spot. They are competing with seven other teams that are either 7-6 or 8-5.
AFC playoff picture
1. New England Patriots (10-3)
2. Denver Broncos (10-3)
3. Indianapolis Colts (9-4)
4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
6. San Diego Chargers (8-5)
Ahead of the Chiefs are the 8-5 Baltimore Ravens and 7-6 Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins get the tiebreaker based on conference games, which is the tiebreaker applied here when three or more teams are in the Wild Card race.
The Chiefs need to win out (with help)
I ran a few scenarios over at ESPN's playoff machine and came up with a possible scenario being that the Chiefs had to win out their final three games -- Oakland Raiders, at Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers -- to make the playoffs. See the playoff standings here.
I also found a scenario where the Chiefs win out but do not make the playoffs. That involves the Texans winning out and finishing with the same 10-6 record as the Chiefs. The Texans would hold a better AFC record than the Chiefs in that scenario. The Texans final three games are against the Colts, Ravens and Jaguars.