Get your party hats ready, because unless the 4-9 Oakland Raiders channel the power of “the black hole” and pull a quick one on Kansas City, the Chiefs will make the playoffs this weekend.
Even so, even if Oakland does somehow find a way to win—and let’s be frank, that’s always possible considering how hard it is to win on the road in the NFL—there are still two other scenarios that would see the Chiefs clinch a playoff spot.
First and foremost though, let’s talk about a Kansas City win.
Things were admittedly dark and dreary during the three-game losing skid that saw the Chiefs lose to the Broncos twice and the Chargers at home, but Chiefs’ Kingdom seems to be back in the holiday spirit now that the team is back on the winning track.
Yes, Kansas City beat a Redskins team in turmoil, but a win is a win is a win in the NFL, and it’s especially impressive when it happens on the road. In inclement, snowy weather, mind you. Not only that, but the way the Chiefs won was incredibly impressive.
For possibly the first time all season, the Chiefs put together a complete game. They dominated all three phases for all four quarters, and the scoreboard reflected that. Leaning on another great performance from the defense, an exhilarating day from special teams and a solid day from the offense; the Chiefs left Washington with a 45-10 win.
Celebrate good times, come on.
Kansas City must head back onto the road again in Week 15, and against a divisional rival. This game promises to be a tough one.
The Raiders have the fourth best rushing attack in the NFL, averaging 134.4 yard per game on the ground. Running back Rashad Jennings leads the way with 588 yards and four touchdowns, and quarterback Terrelle Pryor can get it done with his legs as well. He’s rushed for 508 yards and two touchdowns this season. For the record, Matt McGloin will start for Oakland, but expect to see Pryor as well.
Remember what Kansas City did to Washington, though. The Redskins had the best rushing average in the league, and Kansas City’s defense held them to just 65-yards on the ground, with only 31 from Alfred Morris. If the Chiefs can put together another complete performance, they can compete with the best teams in this league, let alone the Raiders. So, a win should be the expectation here this weekend.
If the Chiefs win (or tie), they’ll clinch the wildcard spot, and that’s scenario No. 1.
Scenario No. 2 is a bit trickier, but it’s still a good possibility.
The 7-6 Dolphins welcome New England this weekend, and if the ‘Phins lose or tie, Kansas City will clinch. New England is 10-3 and can clinch the AFC East Division with a win. This seems like the type of game that Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick live for, so, I wouldn’t bet against the Pats.
Finally, if Kansas City loses and Miami wins—both improbable in my estimation—the Chiefs will have to rely on the Detroit Lions, which is never a fun thing to do.
The Lions play the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football this week, and the Chiefs can make the playoffs if the Ravens lose or tie. This would be the scariest of all three scenarios, considering the Lions are in the middle of an implosion, but Detroit usually plays well at home, and Ford Field will be loud for Monday Night.
The likely scenario this weekend is that Kansas City will beat Oakland, and with that, the Chiefs will make the playoffs. If not though, they’ll still have two more opportunities to clinch, so in all likelihood, Kansas City will make the playoffs in week 15.
Like I said, get out your party hats.