Updating Kansas City Chiefs Playoff Situation


A big win for the Kansas City Chiefs over the Oakland Raiders today means the Chiefs’ playoff hopes are still very much alive. Now that all of the AFC games are completed, here’s an update of the standings and what the picture looks like for the Chiefs heading into the final two weeks of the season.

Seed – Team, Overall Record (AFC Record)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers, 9-5 (7-3)

6. Baltimore Ravens, 9-5 (5-5)


7. Kansas City Chiefs, 8-6 (6-4)

8. San Diego Chargers, 8-6 (6-5)

9. Buffalo Bills, 8-6 (4-6)

10. Houston Texans, 7-7 (6-4)

11. Miami Dolphins, 7-7 (6-5)

12. Cleveland Brown, 7-7 (4-7)

The primary scenario for the Chiefs is pretty simple: Win out.

If the Chiefs win out then they will make the playoffs no matter what. Ten wins plus tie-breakers over the Bills and Steelers would ensure the Chiefs make the postseason. Winning out would also mean a win over the Chargers which would give them seven losses, one more than the Chiefs and thus putting the Chiefs over the Chargers in the standings.

So even with the three-game losing streak and the loss to the Raiders and Titans, the Chiefs still control their own destiny. One can’t ask for more given the situation.

The question then becomes if there is a way the Chiefs can make the playoffs at 9-7? The answer is, surprisingly, yes. Here’s the scenario for if the Chiefs lose to the Steelers or the Chargers.


A loss to the Steelers next Sunday means the focus turns to three teams: Baltimore, Buffalo, and Houston.

The scenario is pretty simple but not encouraging. Baltimore needs to lose their final two games of the season (at Houston and home to Cleveland), Houston needs to lose to the Jaguars, Buffalo needs to lose one game. It doesn’t matter what Miami or Cleveland does, and this scenario assumes the Chiefs win their season finale against San Diego.

One can see the obvious issue here. Houston has to lose one game but we need them to beat the Ravens in week 16 if the Chiefs’ hopes are going to stay alive. So who does Houston play in week 17? The Jacksonville Jaguars. Yikes.

So a loss to the Steelers means hoping Buffalo loses one game, the Ravens lose out, and the Jaguars upset Houston. That’s not a scenario you want to put yourself in, but it is at the very least a scenario that would get the Chiefs into the playoffs.


A loss to San Diego in the season finale requires a different situation for the Chiefs make the playoffs as a wild card. Here’s what we’d be looking at.

San Diego has to beat the San Francisco 49ers in week 16 (at San Francisco); Baltimore has to lose out (at Houston, vs. Cleveland); Houston has to lose to Jacksonville; New England has to beat Buffalo in week 17; Cincinnati has to beat the Steelers in week 17.

That’s a more complicated scenario than the one where the Chiefs lose to the Steelers so if the Chiefs are going to lose one of the next two games it may as well be to the Steelers. The more moving parts involved in a scenario, the lower the odds become for things falling the Chiefs’ way.

There may be another scenario I’m missing where the Chiefs make the playoffs at 9-7 but I have yet to find it. Ultimately the Chiefs can render all of this moot if they just beat the Steelers and Chargers and finish with a 10-win season.

If you’re being optimistic and want to know what the Chiefs’ seed would be if they did win 10 games well the scenario is pretty simple. If the Ravens lose one game then the Chiefs will be the five seed; if the Ravens win-out then the Chiefs will be the six seed.

There it is. Go win football games, Chiefs.