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Arrowheadlines: NFL playoff bracket, why these Chiefs are different, how far Alex Smith can go

NFL announces playoff schedule |

The NFL officially revealed its playoff schedule Sunday night. Take a look at where the road to the Super Bowl goes this year.

Chiefs win the AFC West, look forward to the playoffs | The Kansas City Star

It all feels so perfect right now. With a very notable exception against the Titans, the Chiefs have played most of their best games since Thanksgiving. This should be a party, and it will be, until it isn’t, which will be when the worrying starts. Because nobody does angst like Chiefs fans.

The formula: Why this Kansas City Chiefs team is different |

In this Any Given Sunday league, the Chiefs put out nearly the same product every weekend. They have a proven formula, one that makes them one of only three legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the AFC along with New England and Pittsburgh. Week after week, they win the turnover margin. They get big plays from their secondary. Andy Reid cooks up creative plays that get his playmakers shockingly open. And then Tyreek Hill does the rest. "The formula isn't that hard," longtime Chiefs defensive end Tamba Hali told "We have to win all three phases. We don't have one of those teams where we're just going to dominate on offense. When you have guys that want to put everything into winning special teams, winning offense and winning defense, we are really hard to beat."

Nick Canepa's Chargers (vs. Kansas City) report card | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Josh "The Hook" Lambo swiped another kickoff out of bounds, allowing KC a short field TD. To his credit, it was just his second in three games. Isaiah Burse actually returned a kickoff out of the end zone, for 30 yards. Drew Kaser’s first punt, with a minute left in the third, was returned 95 yards for a TD by Tyreek Hill. Simply, they stink.

Chiefs Take the AFC West, Second Seed in Playoffs |

The Chiefs’ first-round bye guarantees that Kansas City will be playing in the second round of the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since the Wild Card format was introduced in 1978. Kansas City defeated the Texans, 30-0, in the Wild Card round of last year’s postseason before falling to the New England Patriots, 27-20, in the Divisional round. Kansas City’s 12 wins this season are also significant, as it’s the first time the Chiefs have tallied 12 or more wins since 2003.

How far can Chiefs go with Alex Smith? | The Kansas City Star

A year after quarterback Alex Smith romped for 498 yards, a seemingly repressed or regressed version of him had rushed for a measly 67 yards through the Chiefs first 14 games. Now, Smith has rushed for 67 yards in the last two games — including on Sunday a 5-yard run for his career-best fifth rushing touchdown and a 9-yard scramble to set up his touchdown pass to West on a day Smith completed 21 of 28 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns.

Chiefs running back Charcandrick West score same touchdown twice | The Kansas City Star

The first touchdown, a 4-yard reception on an Alex Smith rollout, gave the Chiefs a 17-10 lead in the second quarter. The only thing that changed from the first to the second TD was the distance. The third-quarter touchdown from 2 yards out restored a two-score lead at 27-17. Plays so nice, the Chiefs called West’s number twice.

Chiefs' Andy Reid, Travis Kelce mum on tight end missing first quarter | The Kansas City Star

Afterward, Kelce grinned when asked about the absence but didn’t provide any details. "You know what, I’m just going to go ahead and leave it at what it was," Kelce said. "I was ready to rock and roll and whenever I got in, I was ready to go. I’ll leave it at that."

Daniel Sorensen, Marcus Peters come up with big interceptions for Chiefs | The Kansas City Star

"We wanted to get a stop, we wanted to get the ball back," Sorensen said. "The offense had been moving the ball really well. (San Diego) was able to put some drives on us, move the ball, so that was huge, a big momentum swing for us."

Chiefs’ Reid expects Justin Houston, Spencer Ware to play in divisional round | The Kansas City Star

And after the game, Chiefs coach Andy Reid confirmed as much, saying he expects Houston to be ready for the Chiefs’ divisional-round game in mid-January.

Charcandrick West, Marcus Peters are Chiefs Players of the Game for Week 17 | Chiefs Wire

I like that Andy Reid didn’t seem to let up. He knew what was at stake in this game and it paid off. Because of that you’re looking at the AFC West Champion Kansas City Chiefs (who swept the entire division) and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Take a minute to celebrate, pinch yourself and then continue reading.

Report card for the Chiefs after 37-27 win vs. Chargers | The Kansas City Star

Rushing defense: The Chargers entered the game with the league’s 27th-best rushing offense at 92.1 yards per game; they finished with 129 despite a banged-up line and their top three running backs out with injuries. New York Giants castoff Andre Williams finished with 87 yards on 18 carries, and the Chargers ran for 5 yards per carry. It was good enough for the win but the numbers aren’t great.

Chiefs earn AFC West title and the bounty that goes with it | ESPN

In their case, those benefits are considerable. The Chiefs, as the AFC’s No. 2 playoff seed, will have next weekend off. That’s like winning a playoff game, something that’s been difficult for the Chiefs over the years. They’ve lost nine of their last 10 in the postseason.

Watch: Chiefs on-field celebration of AFC West title | The Kansas City Star

Chargers fire head coach Mike McCoy following home loss to Chief | CBS News 8

The team announced McCoy's firing about an hour after the Chargers lost 37-27 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. McCoy had said in a postgame news conference he hoped to be back next year. He won't get that chance.

Bolts erred too often, familiarly so, in finale | The San Diego Union-Tribune

Ending the season as they began it, the Chargers couldn’t keep up with Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Smith, using his mobility to good effect as he did in Week 1, ran for a touchdown and threw for two others. The Helix High alum overcome a batted pass (by Mevlin Ingram) that Chargers safety Jahleel Addae grabbed for his first career interception and returned 90 yards for a touchdown.

Chiefs topple Chargers, clinch first AFC West crown since 2010 | The Kansas City Star

But the Chiefs, as they have done all season, responded to their latest bit of adversity. The offense put together a 12-play, 60-yard drive that was capped by another play-action pass from Smith to West, this time from 2 yards out, to put the Chiefs ahead 27-17.

Chargers Fire Head Coach Mike McCoy | Bolts From The Blue

McCoy did nothing with the Chargers while he was here. The team’s best record under his time at the helm was 9-7. His coaching style and philosophies, combined with the coaching staff he assembled under himself, made for a Chargers team that could not finish, were poor tacklers, and lacked a killer instinct.

NFL Wild Card round

Saturday, Jan. 7

Raiders at Texans: 4:35 pm ET | ESPN/ABC

Lions at Seahawks: 8:15 pm ET | NBC

Sunday, Jan. 8

Dolphins at Steelers: 1:05 pm ET | CBS

Giants at Packers: 4:40 pm ET | FOX

NFL Divisional Round

Saturday, Jan. 14

Seahawks or Packers or Giants at Falcons: 435 pm ET | FOX

Texans or Raiders or Dolphins at Patriots: 815 pm ET | CBS

Sunday, Jan. 15

Steelers or Texans or Raiders at Chiefs: 1:05 pm ET | NBC

Packers or Giants or Lions at Cowboys: 4:40 pm ET | FOX

AFC / NFC Championship games

Sunday, Jan. 22

NFC: 3:05 pm ET | FOX

AFC: 6:40 pm et | CBS

Super Bowl

Sunday, Feb. 5

6:30 pm ET | FOX

It's Game Time.

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