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Chiefs weekend playoff scenarios, explained

What fun would this be if we weren’t looking up ridiculous playoff scenarios?


As we noted on Monday, the Chiefs have already clinched a berth in the playoffs. The only question at this point is which seed they will get. The answer to that question could be settled before Monday.

We have this official word on potential playoff scenarios this weekend from NFL Communications’ list of playoff scenarios in Week 16.


Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and a first-round bye with:

Chiefs win + Los Angeles Chargers loss to Baltimore Ravens

Kansas City clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

Chiefs win + Chargers loss + Houston Texans loss (or tie) to Philadelphia Eagles OR

Chiefs win + Chargers loss + Chiefs clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over Texans

Most of this is straightforward. The Chiefs want the Ravens to win on Saturday night against the Chargers, and the Eagles to win against the Texans on Sunday afternoon. If those two things happen, the Chiefs will know they can lock up the one seed with a victory against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.

But what the devil does “Chiefs clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over Texans” mean?

Many fans misunderstand this tiebreaker. The term sounds like it refers to points scored minus points allowed. But it has nothing to do with points. Strength of victory refers to the combined records of the teams you have defeated. The tiebreaker is called strength of victory to clearly distinguish it from the next tiebreaker — strength of schedule.

So what would it take for the Chiefs to clinch the strength of victory tiebreaker over the Texans this weekend?

First, it would have to matter: the Texans would have to win or tie against the Eagles.

Then... quite a bit has to take place. On Saturday, the Titans beat the Redskins. On Sunday, the Bengals defeat the Browns, the Patriots win over the Bills, the Steelers beat the Saints, the Packers defeat the Jets, the Lions win against the Vikings and the Cardinals beat the Rams.

There are other scenarios, too... but none are less complicated or more likely. But you get the point: it’s a very long shot that the strength of victory tiebreaker will come into play this weekend.

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