Keeping an eye on the Broncos…

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Dec 6, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) calls a play against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

If the Chiefs manage to win out and Denver drops its games against the Steelers and Bengals (or there final game of the season against San Diego, but that seems rather unlikely), then  Kansas City will reclaim the AFC West title for the first time since 2010 (by virtue of having a better conference record than the Broncos to win the tiebreaker). Granted, there are a lot of ifs in that scenario, but they are all within the realistic realm of possibility.

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But there is a problem with the Broncos losing this weekend – it would mean that the Steelers win. And every Steelers win is bad for the Chiefs’ Wild Card positioning. The Steelers have almost as cushy a remaining schedule as K.C. with their final two games being against the Ravens and Brown (each game the week after those teams play the Chiefs). So if Pittsburgh is going to lose, it probably needs to happen this weekend against Denver.

By now, I am sure you see the conundrum: If the Broncos win then K.C. gets some breathing room in the Wild Card race, but essentially loses the ability to win the division and start the playoffs in arrowhead. If the Steelers win, the Chiefs keep their division title hopes alive, but have little to no room for a slip up in their final three games.

According to ESPN’s Adam Teicher, this is not really much of conundrum at all. He argues that winning the AFC West would not be in K.C.’s best interest.  It is an interesting concept for sure – hoping your team does not win its division and likely has no chance to play at home at all. But he postulates that hosting in Arrowhead and facing off against the Broncos, Jets, or Steelers would be a worse position than maintaining the five seed and going on the road to either Houston or Indianapolis.

I get the logic of that argument. And I am inclined to agree with him, but for different reasons.

Next: Rather the wild card?