Counting Chiefs playoff chickens


Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In the days following the Kansas City Chiefs’ latest victory over the San Diego Chargers, hope springs eternal in the Kingdom. Chiefs fans are brimming with confidence about their beloved franchise’s chances of securing a bid for January football.

Apparently, I’m the Jim Mora Sr. of the Chiefs blogosphere. Maybe I’m just lowering expectations to avoid future disappointment? Or might I just be a steely-eyed realist about this NFL season? I’ll let you be the judge, but I think some of us have gotten ahead of ourselves.

Sure, the Chiefs have dug themselves out of a major hole to return to .500, but all they’ve truly done, for my money, is re-enter the postseason “conversation.” They’ve done the bare minimum to make the postseason a possibility, but their work is far from finished.

I’ve seen social media talking about the playoffs as though it’s a foregone conclusion for the Chiefs. That’s crazy talk, if you ask me. And since you’re asking me, they’re currently the AFC’s six seed, but “if the playoffs started today” is as meaningless a statement as perhaps there is in all of professional sports. They don’t start today; they start six weeks from now. Being the sixth-seed today isn’t real currency.

Here are two substantive reasons why the Chiefs are in good position:

1. Despite a 5-5 record, they’re 4-2 in the conference. That’s item No. 2 on the wildcard tie-breaker schedule.

That’s the highest conference winning percentage of any team not leading their division in the AFC. In fact, it’s the third-highest conference winning percentage of any team in the AFC. It should be noted that every team remaining on their schedule is a conference team.

2. They already own a head-to-head tiebreak (item No. 1 on the schedule) over two teams vying for wildcard spots.

If the Chiefs beat the Bills on Sunday, they’ll own a head-to-head tie-breaker over 38 percent of the teams vying for wildcard berths. That’s precisely why I said this game was so important on Tuesday of this week. Beating Buffalo would give the Chiefs a leg up on three of the best teams in this race.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Can we have a conversation today about the Chiefs and the playoffs? Absolutely, but ONLY through an “if the playoffs started today” lens. The reality is that Kansas City will most likely need nine or 10 wins to get into the postseason tournament.

Going 4-2 or 5-1 down the stretch isn’t a walk in the park no matter how soft your schedule is. We know full well that facing a team with a losing record does nothing to guarantee victory. Is it possible that the Chiefs will win two-thirds of their remaining games? Sure it is, but you might be wearing rose-colored glasses if you think it’s certain.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs’ work is far from finished. Though, beating Buffalo on Sunday should inspire confidence both for the team and the fan base. If the Chiefs can win on Sunday, they’ll be 5-2 in the conference, 6-5 overall, and own a head-to-head tiebreak over three of the seven or eight teams left in the AFC wildcard picture.

Am I spoiling the party or might there be a grain of truth to what I’ve said today? Just how likely do you think it is that the Chiefs will go on to qualify for the postseason? Who do you have winning Sunday’s game with the Bills? Use the comment section below to weigh in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!