What To Root For: Week 14 NFL Games That Impact The Kansas City Chiefs Playoff Hopes
By Ben Nielsen
Nov 30, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) scores a fourth quarter touchdown defended by Baltimore Ravens cornerback Danny Gorrer (37) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
BALTIMORE RAVENS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS
Line: Miami, -3
Chiefs Impact: High
Of all the Chiefs’ main competitors, the Ravens are the most dangerous the the Chiefs’ chances. Why? Because the Chiefs do not control their own destiny against the Ravens.
When it comes to the Dolphins, the Chiefs have a head-to-head win and are only one win behind in their AFC standing. If the Chiefs end up in a two-way tie with them then the Chiefs will win the tie-breaker. Miami still has a game at New England so it isn’t out of the question the Chiefs could end up with the same AFC record as Miami.
The Bills are in trouble because they are in third place in their division with a tough road to finishing in second, plus they have a head-to-head loss with the Chiefs. Add in Buffalo’s 4-5 conference record and the Chiefs have the advantage there as well.
San Diego has a brutal final schedule (we’ll get to that later) and already has a loss to the Chiefs. The Chargers still have games left against the Chiefs and Broncos so there is a good chance they could finish 3-3 or 2-4 in the division, which is a key tie-breaker that will likely favor the Chiefs (KC is 1-3 with games against Oakland and San Diego remaining).
KC also has a game left against the Pittsburgh Steelers, so the Chiefs have a chance to earn a head-t0-head tie-breaker there. Plus Pittsburgh sits in third place in their division with two games remaining against first place Cincinnati.
Baltimore, on the other hand, is a wild card for the Chiefs. KC won’t get the chance to play them in the final month of the season so earning a head-to-head tie-breaker is out of the question. Their remaining schedule suggests that a second place finish in the division is likely if they beat Miami (Ravens have Jacksonville, Houston, and Cleveland remaining).
A Baltimore loss on Sunday does two very big things for the Chiefs. One, it gets the Ravens to six losses which would earn the Chiefs some wiggle room. Second, it would give the Ravens their sixth conference loss of the season which would improve the Chiefs’ chances of having a better AFC record than them. If the Chiefs end up in a tie scenario with the Ravens that AFC record would be key.
A win for the Ravens and it would seem they are destined for at least 10 wins, if not 11. That would mean the Chiefs would be fighting for only one wild card spot as opposed to two. Yes, ‘any given Sunday’ applies to the Ravens when it comes to playing the Jaguars, Texans, and Browns, but that’s not the kind of situation you want to be in this late in the season.
This isn’t to say the Chiefs are doomed if the Dolphins lose. Miami would be down to six losses and be tied with the Chiefs in AFC record category. Buffalo still has Denver, Green Bay, and New England on their schedule in addition to holding no tie-breakers over the Chiefs, so Kansas City would still be in a good spot.
But a Ravens loss would keep both wild card spots in play and given the Chiefs the most flexibility when it comes to trying to make the playoffs.
Who To Root For: Miami Dolphins.