Who To Root For: Kansas City Chiefs Playoff Scenarios (Week 16 Edition)


It is week 16 of the NFL season which means the Kansas City Chiefs are in put up or shut up time.

We’ve gone through a few scenarios earlier in the week about how the Chiefs can make the playoffs. The most obvious and guaranteed way to get in is to win each of the next two games. Finish 10-6 and the Chiefs are in the playoffs no matter what happens in any of the other games.

What if the Chiefs lose? What do the Chiefs need to happen if they want to get the fifth seed for the second-straight postseason? That’s what we’ll quickly discuss here.

Let’s begin by taking a look at what happens to the Chiefs playoff chances if the Steelers beat Kansas City.

We come into today with the knowledge of the San Diego Chargers’ miraculous victory of the San Francisco 49ers last night. That win has its positives and negatives, but ultimately doesn’t hurt any of the scenarios for the Chiefs to make the playoffs with a loss on Sunday. KC gets to play the Chargers next week and if they beat them then they’ll have eliminated the Chargers from the playoffs no matter what KC does today, and it will keep a back door open for the Chiefs to make the playoffs at 9-7.

The doom scenario involves the Chiefs losing to the Steelers and for the Baltimore Ravens to win. If that happens then the Chiefs will officially be eliminated from playoff contention. So keep an eye on the Houston Texans-Baltimore Ravens matchup that will be going on as the Chiefs are playing.

If the Ravens lose and the Chiefs lose then not all hope is lost. This is the case even if the Dolphins, Texans, Bills, and Browns all win this week.

In the event the Chiefs lose, the Texans beat the Ravens, and the Bills, Browns, and Bengals all win, then the Chiefs will need the following to play out in week 17:

A Chiefs win over the Chargers; a Browns win over the Ravens; a Patriots win over the Bills; a Jaguars win over the Texans.

The kicker in this is the Texans. The Chiefs need the Texans to beat the Ravens for the Chiefs to make the playoffs at 9-7, but asking the Texans to lose to the Jaguars seems like a stretch. And while on one hand the Texans’ quarterback situation gives hope to a possible Jaguars upset, it kills the dream of a Texans win over the Ravens. Otherwise, the possibility of the Browns and Patriots each winning their games seem pretty decent.

There’s also a plausible scenario where the Chiefs could make the playoffs at 9-7 with a win today and a loss to the Chargers next weekend. It is pretty similar to what the situation is above.

The key for today is that both the Ravens and Bills find a way to lose. A Bills loss would guarantee the Chiefs finishing ahead of them in the standings should the Chiefs and Bills end up with the same record. Getting that loss out of the way this week would decrease some stress for next week as it would render the Bills-Patriots game moot. Only problem is the Bills play the Raiders today.

A Ravens loss this week and next week is required.

When to comes to playoff seeding should the Chiefs manage to win today and next Sunday, the scenario is pretty simple. A 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs team will be the five seed in the AFC if either A) The Ravens lose one game between now and the end of the regular season OR B) If the Cincinnati Bengals lose to the Denver Broncos AND the Pittsburgh Steelers in the next two weeks. The best the Chiefs can do at 9-7 is be the six seed.

In summation: Root for the Bills to lose today. Sacrifice a small non-human creature and pray the Ravens lose today.