Chiefs must beat Lions for shred of playoff hope


The Kansas City Chiefs are 2-5. If the season ended today, the only teams that would be below them in the AFC standings include the San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns.

This means the Chiefs would be 11th out of 16 teams, hardly good enough to make the postseason. Here is the good news, Kansas City has a chance in what is a woeful AFC.

The Chiefs “host” the Detroit Lions this Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, England. If the Chiefs should beat the 1-6 Lions, they would be 3-5 going into their BYE week. With Kansas City, beating anybody seems like a feat, but after taking down the Pittsburgh Steelers, there is a smidge of optimism in the ranks.

After the BYE week, as Stacy Smith pointed out on Tuesday, this is the schedule:

At Denver (6-0)
At San Diego (2-5)
Buffalo (3-4)
At Oakland (3-3)
San Diego (2-5)
At Baltimore (1-6)
Cleveland (2-5)
Oakland (3-3)

Beyond the game against Denver, which we can likely chalk up as a loss, the rest of that schedule is absurdly light. Even if the Chiefs fell to 3-6, they would be able to make the postseason by going 6-1 the rest of the way, with four home games and trips to San Diego, Oakland and Baltimore.

Would it be easy? No. But look at it like this …

The AFC playoff picture is simple for the Chiefs if they get to nine wins, with one of those wins being against Buffalo.

The division winners are going to be the New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. Out of the remaining teams, none of the teams already behind Kansas City would catch it should Andy Reid’s group get to nine wins.

That means that the Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills would all be fighting for two spots.

If Kansas City beats Buffalo, that means the Bills would need to go 7-1 the rest of the way. With trips to New York, New England, Philadelphia and a home date versus Dallas, good luck.

Oakland already has three losses. To make the playoffs, Kansas City likely needs to sweep the Raiders. If they split, the Raiders would have four losses and still play the Broncos in Denver, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh on the road. Odds are, Oakland is losing at least one other game and doing no better than 8-8.

Miami has no shot of hitting nine wins. The Dolphins already have three losses and play at New England, at San Diego, home to New England, at Buffalo, at Philadelphia, at New York, home to Dallas (w/ Romo) and home to Indianapolis. They are going to lose at least four games, and already have three conference losses. The Chiefs only have two.

Pittsburgh lost to Kansas City, meaning it must go 10-6 or better to beat out a Chiefs team with nine wins. The Steelers play the Seahawks, Bengals, Ravens and Browns on the road, while hosting the Broncos, Colts and Raiders. Is it possible for Pittsburgh to go 10-6? Sure, but I wouldn’t bet on it. That division always beats on one another.

Ultimately, this breakdown could be a huge waste of time. Kansas City could finish 5-11 or even lose to the Lions. That said, a win before the BYE and the Chiefs have a glimmer of hope headed into the stretch.