Carding the 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs: Are they who they say they are?
Kansas City won the mid-October tilt handily. After drawing first blood in the first quarter, the Oakland Raiders managed just three points in the last 45 minutes of regulation. The Chiefs produced 400+ yards of total offense, dominated the time of possession battle and converted 7-of-13 third down situations. Defensively, they didn’t allow a single point in the second half, and held every offensive player not named Amari Cooper in check. The Chiefs will need a similar performance on Thursday night. The Raiders are Top 5 in scoring and total offense.
If the Chiefs are to make a deeper run into the postseason, a good way to facilitate that process would be to earn themselves a bye in the opening round of the playoffs and at least one home game in the divisional round. Thursday’s game won’t seal that for them, but it would give them a slight edge with just three games left to play in the regular season. A win would give the Chiefs a 7-2 conference record, a 4-0 record within the division and a 10-3 record overall. Most importantly, it would give Reid and company the top divisional tie-breaker should Kansas City and Oakland finish the season with the same record.
Let’s assume the Chiefs win on Thursday night. The Chiefs would then become the AFC’s No. 2 seed (Oakland would fall to the No. 5 seed). If the playoffs began the week following, the Chiefs would have the weekend off and Oakland would travel to Baltimore in the Wildcard Round. With a loss, the Chiefs would meet the Ravens — a team that has won four its last five games. We all know the playoffs don’t start in Week 15, but that establishes a clear enough picture of just how big a game this is for Kansas City.