It’s been awhile since the words “Kansas City Chiefs, Playoffs and Week 14″ were all used in the same sentence without the word “elimination” being thrown in there somewhere. Actually, I think about 10 years ago was the last time there was all this talk about the Chiefs making the playoffs before Christmas. But the fact remains that if the Chiefs are able to pull off a win this weekend, they will secure a playoff birth.
You heard that right.
Of course, as these playoff scenarios usually go, they’ll need some help. Funny enough, in order for the Chiefs to get an asterisks next to their name in the standings list, indicating they’ve secured that playoff berth, two other teams will have to get victories. The Minnesota Vikings will have to beat the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers will have to beat the Miami Dolphins.
Wait for it…wait for it…
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this all means that not only will you be rooting for the Chiefs this weekend, but also former Chiefs signal caller Matt Cassel and former head coach Todd Haley.
Karma, what did we ever do to you?
But what exactly is that playoff spot that the Chiefs will secure?
Most Chiefs fans realize that with the last three losses, the chance of running away with the AFC’s #1 or even #2 seed in the playoffs is a very slim chance. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not impossible. The Denver Broncos could drop their next two games to the Tennessee Titans and the San Diego Chargers while the Chiefs could win their next two games against the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders. Stranger things have happened in this league. But I’m not sitting here thinking that’s how the Chiefs will find their way into the post season tournament.
No, more likely is that the Chiefs will enter the post season exactly how they started. At the bottom and as the under dog.
Currently, the Chiefs own the #5 seed. That means that they will play who ever ends the season as the #4 seed on Wildcard Weekend either January 4th or 5th. Currently, they’re slotted to play the Cincinnati Bengals but that could flip flop with the Indianapolis Colts and any time.
Obviously having home field is important, and so I’m not going to blow smoke up your backside and call it sunshine. I’m not going to
tell you that the Chiefs are better off at the #5 than the #1. However, what I will tell you is that while the Broncos and the New England Patriots — who currently own the #2 seed — sit at home and watch the playoffs, the Chiefs will be playing and if they win gaining momentum into the divisional round.
Now, I’ll pause this lesson in NFL Playoff mechanics to say that there are many Chiefs fans who have stated that a playoff victory — and relief from the curse of the last 20 years — would signal the ultimate success for the Andy Reid and John Dorsey regime era in its first year. I don’t disagree with that. However, I’ll be hard pressed to say that if the Chiefs win, I’ll head into the second week of the playoffs saying “it’s okay if they lose. After all, they’ve already won one playoff game.” It’s just not going to happen. I’ll be devastated. And so will all you. And you’re liars if you say otherwise.
Should the Chiefs win on the opening weekend of the playoffs, the only way they will face a team not named the Denver Broncos is if the #6 seed wins as well. Of course, that’s not out of the realm of possibility. With the Colts as up and down as they are currently holding the #3 seed, I think any of the teams who could potentially be the #6 — right now the Ravens, Dolphins, Titans, Steelers and even the Chargers — could beat them. If that happened, the Chiefs would then face the New England Patriots in Foxboro Stadium.
Either way, it’s an uphill battle for the Chiefs. On the one hand, the Broncos have been the Chiefs kryptonite this season, beating them twice. Although, as one AA commenter said earlier this week, “I’ve never seen a team beat another team three times in one season.” I have to admit, I’ve never seen that either. If you combine that with the fact that Peyton Manning has an affinity for choking in the playoffs, perhaps the Chiefs taking the trip back to the Mile High city after winning their first playoff game in 20 years isn’t so daunting.
On the other hand, taking on a limping Patriots team with a receiving corps even the NFL Network needs a program to identify, isn’t an impossible task. Yes, Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, but he’s no spring chicken and at what point does he stop being able to carry the team on his back?
The ultimate scenario, though?
The Chiefs playing the Bengals in the first round and winning and having the #6 seed beat the Colts. Then the Chiefs defeating the Pats and facing the Broncos for the AFC title in Mile High.
Okay, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. There are still four games to go in the regular season games left and the Chiefs need to win every single one of them. But the fact that we’re talking Chiefs and playoffs in Week 14 has me excited.
I’ve never been more eager for Matt Cassel and Todd Haley to win a game!
Go Chiefs…and Vikings…and Steelers!
**Special thanks to Stacy “Reach” Smith for pointing out the fact that we’d have to root for Cassel and Haley this weekend. Good looking out Stacy!