The AFC playoff picture is becoming more clear by the day, and it has come down to seven teams. Yes, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts can technically still win the AFC South, but we are excluding those boys for the purposes of this article, since we only care about the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here is how the AFC playoff picture looks going into Week 16:
1. New England Patriots (12-2)*
2. Cincinnati Bengals (11-3)*
3. Denver Broncos (10-4)
4. Houston Texans (7-7)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
7. New York Jets (9-5)
So, here are the scenarios for each of the teams that impact Kansas City:
- If the Broncos win out, they will earn a first-round playoff BYE and if they tie with the Patriots, would get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
- If Denver splits its remaining games, and the Chiefs, Steelers and Jets all win out, the Broncos miss the playoffs. Should the Steelers and/or Jets lose one game and Denver splits, and the Chiefs win out, Denver is the sixth seed. If Denver splits and Kansas City splits or does worse, the Broncos win the AFC West.
- If the Chiefs win against Cleveland, and either the Steelers or Jets lose, Kansas City clinches a playoff berth.
- If the Chiefs lose against Cleveland, they need the Jets or Steelers to lose to remain in the current playoff picture.
- If the Chiefs win out, they will finish no worse than the fifth seed and play the winner of the AFC South, unless Pittsburgh wins out and Cincinnati loses out. In that case, the Chiefs would be the sixth seed.
- If the Chiefs win out and Denver loses one or more games, the Chiefs win the AFC West.
- If the Steelers win out, they reach the postseason. If the Bengals win once,or twice, the Steelers would be a wild card. If the Bengals also lose out, the Steelers are the AFC North champion.
- The Jets must finish a game better of either Pittsburgh or Kansas City to make it into the postseason, unless it has an equal record to the Broncos. In that case, Denver loses the tiebreaker provided Kansas City wins the AFC West.
- The Chiefs win the tiebreaker against all of the above teams.
Week 16 schedule
- Pittsburgh at Baltimore
- Cleveland at Kansas City
- Cincinnati at Denver (MNF)
- New England at New York
- Indianapolis at Miami
- Houston at Tennessee