Arrowhead Will Be Key Chiefs Playoff Run


The Chiefs and Seahawks don’t play often. The way that the NFL schedules games, they are guaranteed to meet once every four years. Except for these quadrennial games, and potential preseason match-ups, the teams could only meet in the Super Bowl.

Yet, last Sunday’s game felt a bit like a rivalry. Maybe not for the players, but certainly for two fan bases that have been taking turns one-upping each for the loudest on the planet. If you are reading this post, you are probably well aware that that honor reside with Arrowhead’s sea of red.

More from Kansas City Chiefs News

The passion that fills Arrowhead for every Chiefs home game is, in my humble and biased opinion, the best home-field advantage in the NFL. Sure, Green Bay may be cold, and Denver may have thin air, but that isn’t the same as the intensity of tens of thousands of screaming Chiefs fans. Also, the sea of red has never inspired their own starting QB to give them the finger (especially not in a game they won). If you are not sure what I am talking about, then look up Jake Plummer.

The Arrowhead advantage is more than just a source of pride though. It just may end up playing a big role in how the AFC playoff picture turns out.

The Chiefs’ final six games are at Oakland, Denver, at Arizona, Oakland, at Pittsburgh, and San Diego.  As the standings sit today, the Chiefs own the fifth seed in the AFC, with the Broncos having the second, and the Steelers having the sixth. The Chargers are in a log jam of teams at 6-4 waiting just a half game behind Pittsburgh.

That means that pretty much every game from here on out is going to be important. Thankfully, the two (likely) most important will be played in the loudest stadium on earth.

Though the Chiefs will need to show up in a big way for there road games against the Steelers and Cardinals, the most impactful games to their playoff hopes are likely to be at home against the Broncos and Chargers.

Oct 19, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) makes a fourth quarter catch while defended by San Diego Chargers cornerback Richard Marshall (31) at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City’s week 7 win over the Chargers can easily be seen as the turning point in this season for the Chiefs. It was their biggest road win, and it brought them back to .500 after starting 0-2. It also kicked off the Chiefs current five-game win streak.  They play the bolts again in the last game of the regular season, and the way things are shaping up, it may be a must win for either of both teams.

As noted above, both teams are in the middle of the playoff race, and barring a collapse are unlikely to be either eliminated or so comfortable that they have nothing left to play for. Leading up to this game both sides will have to play a number of  high quality opponents, but the Chargers have to run an absolute gauntlet. That gauntlet includes successive games against the Ravens, Patriots, Broncos, and 49ers. That could end up creating a desperate team, or one that is coming off a hot streak.

If the Chiefs continue winning, they’ll likely be trying to solidify playoff ranking. If they stumble between now and then, they could be fighting to get into the playoffs at all.

Suffice to say that it won’t be shocking if there is a lot on the line when Arrowhead starts rocking for the final time in the regular season. Exactly what Chiefs fans are cheering about in week 17 will have a lot to do with what happens in week 13 against Denver.

This hardly needs explanation, but I’ll go ahead anyway. The Chiefs and Broncos are currently tied for the lead in the AFC West at 7-3. The Broncos hold the tiebreaker by way of an oh-so-close victory over the Chiefs in Denver back in week 2. Both teams should be favored in their week 12 games (KC at Oakland, and Miami at Denver), which means that the week 13 winner would take control of the division. If the Patriots happen lose to the Packers that same day, or to Detroit a week prior, then beating Denver would make the Chiefs not only first place in the AFC West, but the first overall seed in the AFC.

Sep 14, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Cyrus Gray (32) carries as Denver Broncos outside linebacker Nate Irving (56) attempts to tackle in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos may be on a bit of a winning streak against the Chiefs (and that may be a bit of an understatement), but they barely outlasted them back in September. This time around the Chiefs will have Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, De’Anthony Thomas, and Donald Stephenson at their disposal, unlike the first meeting. Beyond the roster improvement is the fact that the Chiefs have been trending steadily upward since they last played the Broncos. Kansas City still hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown, and their passing defense is ranked first in the league.

Oh, and did I mention that the Broncos have a losing record on the road? Yep, the mighty horse men are only 2-3 when traveling outside of the Mile High city.

Every game will matter for the Chiefs the rest of the season. But their final two divisional games could end up deciding the difference between making the playoffs, being a wild card, winning the division, and potentially even taking the top seed in the AFC.

I can’t think of a better environment for these games than the 142.2 decibel sound machine that is Arrowhead. Can you?