All that remains of the Week 12 NFL action is tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens on the east coast. Let’s see how what happened on Sunday impacted playoff scenarios for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The New York Jets’ 34-3 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday was significant, putting the Chiefs a full game in front of the Raiders in the AFC West race. With five games yet to play, the New York Times playoff calculator gives the Chiefs an 89% chance to make the playoffs, an 85% chance to win their fourth consecutive AFC West championship (which would guarantee the Chiefs a home game to start the playoffs) and a 14% chance for a first-round bye.
A victory against the Raiders on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium won’t quite assure a playoff spot for the Chiefs — but it will come very close; that win alone would give the Chiefs a 98% chance to make the postseason. The Chiefs could clinch a playoff spot as soon as the following week with a victory against the New England Patriots and a Raiders loss to the Tennessee Titans.
But as long as the Chiefs win this Sunday, any combination of two wins in the following four games will clinch a playoff berth. In other words, with a victory against the Raiders, a 10-6 record will buy the Chiefs a ticket to the dance.
But that still leaves the question of whether the Chiefs can get a bye week. As we explained on Friday, a Cowboys victory over the Patriots on Sunday afternoon would have improved the team’s chance at securing a week off to begin the postseason. But that didn’t happen.
As it turns out, however, that Patriots victory was a relatively small part of the scenario we constructed on Friday. That’s because it isn’t really the Patriots standing in the way of the Chiefs securing a bye week. Instead, it is the Ravens — and also the Houston Texans. Essentially the Chiefs need for the Ravens to lose two games and the Texans to lose one. With that — and a 12-4 record — the Chiefs will get a bye.
Those circumstances could still line up as early as this weekend. If the Ravens lose to the Rams on Monday night — and then the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 — a Texans loss to the Patriots will still allow the Chiefs an opportunity to grab a bye.
That’s a lot of ifs. But if they can take care of business, a Chiefs bye week is still on the table.