Now that the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Baltimore Ravens 27-24, the Miami Dolphins dropped the New England Patriots 34-33, the Indianapolis Colts beat the Houston Texans 24-21 and the Los Angeles Chargers knocked off the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21, the playoff picture for the Chiefs has drastically changed.
Let’s get into it. But first... we have to watch the Dolphins’ game-winning play against the Patriots one more time — because we can.
Three of these four games were just what the doctor ordered: a Chiefs win, plus losses for the Patriots and Texans. It would have been nice for the Chargers to lose, too... but you know how doctors are. They always have some bad news to throw in with the good news.
Just the same, the Chiefs remain in excellent position. With three games to go, they have clinched a playoff berth. Let’s say that again — just because it’s so much fun: with three games to go, they have clinched a playoff berth! Even with three losses to close the season, the absolute worst they can do is get the #5 seed.
But that’s not going to happen. Even if the Chiefs lose to the Chargers on Thursday and Seahawks a week from Sunday, a victory against the Raiders in Week 17 would give them a better-than-even chance to have the number one seed in January, and a seven-in-10 chance to have a first-round bye.
Beating the Chargers at Arrowhead on Thursday will — by itself — clinch the AFC West for the Chiefs. That would guarantee the Chiefs a record no worse than 12-4, which the Chargers could match with victories in the last two weeks of the season. But the Chiefs would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chargers. QED.
Should the Chiefs finish 12-4 after winning on Thursday, a first-round bye is assured. The only question is whether the Chiefs will have the first or second seed. It works out to about a three-in-four chance that it will be the first seed. In this scenario, the determining factor will be the Patriots game in Pittsburgh late Sunday afternoon. With a Chiefs win on Thursday — and a Steelers win on Sunday — the Chiefs will clinch the first seed.
But even if that outcome is reversed — that is, the Chargers and Patriots win this week — the Chiefs can still nail down the number one seed with victories against the Seahawks and Raiders.
Should the Chiefs and Patriots win this week, the Chiefs need only to win one more game — either against the Seahawks or Raiders — to grab the number one seed.
So here’s the business at hand: beat the Chargers at home Thursday night, and then see what happens between the Patriots and Steelers on Sunday afternoon. That game will be on TV in Kansas City: 3:25 Arrowhead Time on KCTV5.