The Chiefs may not have much but they do have a chance make a major impact on the playoff race. They have already contributed to the potential downfall of the defending Super Bowl Champion Steelers and can now turn their attention to the stumbling Bengals and Broncos.
The AFC playoff picture is slowly coming into focus. The Chargers clinched the AFC West yesterday with a win and Denver’s loss. The Colts clinched the AFC South and home field advantage throughout the playoffs ages ago and with 2 games to go and a 2 game lead, the Patriots have all but wrapped up the AFC East.
That leaves the AFC North and two Wild Card spots yet to be decided. The Chiefs next opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals currently hold a 1 game lead in the North over the Baltimore Ravens. The lead is really two games as Cinci swept the series between the two teams and holds the tie-breaker over the Ravens. The Bengals simply need to defeat the Chiefs next Sunday to clinch the division. A Bengals loss, however, and a Baltimore win would throw the AFC playoff race into total chaos.
The reason is because of a very tight Wild Card race. The Ravens (8-6) and Broncos (8-6) are currently in the drivers seats. If both win out they will clinch the two Wild Cards. The clean way for this all to go would be for Cinci to win 1 of their last 2 games and for Baltimore and Denver to win out. The monkey in the wrench, however, is the Kansas City Chiefs and a slew of 7-7 teams in the AFC.
Let me illustrate how crowded and complicated the Chiefs can make the AFC Wild Card race.
Current Wild Card Standings:
I don’t even want to think of what tie breaking nightmare will occur if 8 teams finish 9-7! Now I haven’t looked at everyone’s schedule to see if that is even possible, and I highly doubt that it is, but you get the idea.
The Chiefs may have had a failed season but their remaining games are very important, if not for their confidence going into the off season, then to the teams they are facing. The Ravens play the Steelers and the Raiders for their final two games. If they win out and the Chiefs beat the Bengals it would set up what might be a win and your in game between the Bengals and Jets in Week 17.
The Chiefs can also do some damage in week 17. If the Broncos get by the Eagles next week they will be 9-6 going into their game against Kansas City at Mile High. The Chiefs and Broncos play at 4:15 EST on January 3rd. The Chiefs may have some extra fans in this game as supporters of potential Wild Card Teams that won earlier in the day and sit at 9-7, holding a tie-breaker over the Broncos cheer for a Chiefs victory. The Broncos conference record is an average 6-5 so losing to the Chiefs could be a death-blow to their tie-breaker chances.
Chiefs don’t have much to celebrate this year but a chance to eliminate the rival Denver Broncos from playoff contention on their own field in the last game of the season might make the off season just a little more bearable.