Our Cincinnati Bengals couldn't do it. Despite going to overtime, the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football, 20-17. The game was so close to being a Bengals win which would have given the Kansas City Chiefs the AFC West lead. Instead, Denver remains in first place in the division and gets bumped up to the No. 2 while the Chiefs maintain the fifth seed. The Broncos also clinched a playoff spot with the win.
The Chiefs can still win the AFC West because they own key tiebreakers over the Broncos, including division record. They need one Broncos loss and one Chiefs win. Denver plays the Chargers this weekend where the Broncos will be favorites; the Chiefs play the Oakland Raiders where the Chiefs are favorites. So KC would need an upset to win the AFC West. And that's fine. The Chiefs were once 1-5 and not supposed to be here. Everything on top of the playoffs is gravy after the way these two teams started.
The Chiefs, as of now, would be playing the Texans in Houston on Wild Card weekend. If they win, they would either play at New England or at Denver -- if today's seeding stands. If the Chiefs stay in the No. 5 seed they would need the No. 6 seed to win on Wild Card weekend in order to avoid going to New England in the Divisional round. Honestly, the Patriots are the only team here that I'm sure is better than the Chiefs. The rest? I'm not so sure.
The Patriots have clinched a first round bye, the Bengals have clinched the AFC North while the Chiefs and Broncos have merely clinched playoff spots. The Texans and Jets positions are not yet official.
Here's where we stand heading into the season's final week. You can see the NFC here.
(Overall record, AFC record)
1. New England Patriots (12-3, 9-2)
2. Denver Broncos (11-4, 7-4)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4, 8-3)
4. Houston Texans (8-7, 6-5)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (10-5, 9-2)
6. New York Jets (10-5, 7-4)
In the hunt
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-6, 6-6)
10. Indianapolis Colts (7-8, 5-6)