Kansas City clinch a playoff berth, while the Washington Football Team and Alex Smith do the Chiefs a huge favor.
With Week 13 of the NFL in the books, the playoff race in the AFC is really heating up. The Kansas City Chiefs will officially be returning to the playoffs after a 22-16 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday night secured them a postseason berth.
The Chiefs are the first team in the AFC to have heir playoff status confirmed, and as things stand, they would face the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead in the first round if the season concluded today.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1)
- Kansas City Chiefs (11-1)*
- Buffalo Bills (9-3)
- Tennessee Titans (8-4)
- Cleveland Browns (9-3)
- Miami Dolphins (8-4)
- Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
- Las Vegas Raiders (7-5)
- Baltimore Ravens (7-5)
- New England Patriots (6-6)
Kansas City was also just a second away from clinching the division in Week 13. If it wasn’t for a bizarre defensive call by the New York Jets in the dying stages of their game against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Chiefs could have already claimed their fifth-straight AFC West title. The Raiders were down by four against the winless Jets, before Derek Carr’s 46-yard pass found Henry Ruggs III wide open in the end zone for the go-ahead score with just five seconds left on the clock.
There was good elsewhere for the Chiefs however, with their chances of claiming the AFC’s number one seed receiving a huge boost thanks to an old friend and the Washington Football Team. Former Chiefs QB Alex Smith and Washington caused one of the upsets of the season, overcoming a 14-0 deficit to beat the previously undefeated Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh still hold on to the AFC’s number one seed ahead of Kansas City thanks to their higher conference win percentage, but with games still to come against the Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns, the Steelers face a tough run home.
Buffalo currently holds the AFC’s three seed and are on track to claim their first division title since 1995. If the season ended today, the Bills would square off against their division rival the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Round.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins themselves are no guarantee to make the playoffs. Miami currently holds the number six seed but still have a difficult schedule ahead, with games against current playoff teams the Chiefs and Bills, as well as fellow postseason contenders in the Raiders and Patriots.
Elsewhere, Cleveland secured its first winning season in 13 years with a 41-35 win over the Tennessee Titans. With Pittsburgh’s loss, the Browns still have an outside shot at the AFC North crown, but as things stand, they would face the Titans again in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite their loss over the weekend, Tennessee still sits atop the AFC South, but the Titans have seen their lead shrink after the Colts’ 26-20 win over the Houston Texans. They now sit in first place thanks only to their higher division win percentage. Indianapolis will face the Raiders, Texans, Steelers and Jaguars over the last four weeks of the regular season, while the Titans will play the Jaguars, Lions, Packers and Texans.
On the outside looking in, the Raiders, Ravens and Patriots all kept themselves in the playoff hunt with wins in Week 13 over the Jets, Cowboys and Chargers, respectively.
Playoff matchups as things stand:
- 1. Pittsburgh (bye)
- 2. Kansas City vs 7. Indianapolis Colts
- 3. Buffalo Bills vs 6. Miami Dolphins
- 4. Tennessee Titans vs 5. Cleveland Browns