The Kansas City Chiefs have clinched a playoff berth but they have no idea which seed they will be or who they will be playing. Well, they have some idea. The Chiefs could be the No. 3, 5 or 6 seed at this point.
The Chiefs can get the No. 3 seed and a home playoff game by beating the Raiders on Sunday while the Broncos lose to the Chargers. That would even them up with the Broncos in the AFC West and the Chiefs own the tiebreaker.
The Chiefs most likely scenario seems to be the No. 5 seed. That's where the they currently sit and if both the Chiefs and Broncos win then the Chiefs will remain at the No. 5 seed and go on the road to face the AFC South division winner (likely the Texans).
The Chiefs could also be the No. 6 seed, which would mean dropping behind the Jets in the AFC Wild Card. It would likely mean playing the Bengals or Broncos on the road in the first round.
I went through the playoff machine to figure out the Chiefs potential round one playoff opponents. I prefer that the Chiefs win the division and have a home game but matchups do matter in round one. Here's how I would rank those potential first round matchups. Please tell me how wrong I am in the comments.
No. 3 seed hosting the Jets: This would mean the Chiefs win the division and enter the playoffs on a 10-game winning streak. The Jets are a good team with a solid defense and a great receiver in Brandon Marshall. This would be a difficult game for sure but given the alternatives (Broncos) I'll say this is my preferred playoff scenario. I see the argument some have that the Chiefs would prefer to be the fifth seed and play the Texans. I say take the home playoff game because the Chiefs goals are bigger than just one playoff win. It's better for your Super Bowl chances to be the No. 3 seed and playing at home.
No. 5 seed visiting the Colts: There are like nine things that need to happen for the Colts to make the playoffs but if they would be without Andrew Luck then this would be a better matchup than Houston.
No. 5 seed visiting the Texans: The Chiefs can win this game. The Texans defense, like the Chiefs defense, is for real. However, the Chiefs can shut down the Texans offense. They generally beat the non-elite quarterbacks. Double up DeAndre Hopkins all day and make Brian Hoyer beat you. This is also worth it because of the Chiefs last playoff win over 20 years ago came in ... Houston.
No. 6 seed visiting Bengals: If the Chiefs lose then they open themselves up to the possibility of being the No. 6 seed. One of those scenarios has them visiting Cincy, who has an even longer playoff win drought than the Chiefs. The reason I put this here is because it seems unlikely, as of now, that Andy Dalton would be back for this game. So the Chiefs would be facing AJ McCarron. I'd put the Bengals near the bottom of this list if Dalton were to return for it.
No. 3 seed hosting the Broncos: If the Chiefs win the AFC West and the Jets win, the Jets would win the tiebreaker over the Broncos and push Denver to the No. 6 seed. The Chiefs are the better team. We saw that over two games against the Broncos. This is a winnable matchup. That said, the Broncos have one of the league's best defenses. The KC defense couldn't have any screwups.
No. 3 seed hosting the Steelers: Chiefs win the AFC West while the Jets lose and the Steelers win. The Steelers are in and visiting Arrowhead. I do NOT like this matchup at all. The Steelers are certainly more boom or bust than some other opponents but unfortunately their boom is better than almost any team in the AFC field. I would be nervous that Pittsburgh would have a good day and beat the Chiefs.
No. 6 seed visiting Broncos: I'm guessing the Chiefs can't count on another four-interception day from Peyton Manning.