The Kansas City Chiefs are now in complete control of their own destiny in the AFC after Week 14.
The Kansas City Chiefs are in the driver’s seat to claim the AFC’s number one seed heading into the playoffs thanks to a crucial road win and some help from the Buffalo Bills.
Kansas City’s 33-27 win over the Miami Dolphins coupled with Pittsburgh’s 26-15 loss to Buffalo means the Chiefs (12-1) now hold the best record in the AFC ahead of the Steelers (11-2), and have a clear pathway to securing a first-round bye and home field advantage in the playoffs.
Crucially, Sunday’s results mean the Chiefs are in total control their own destiny. They hold a one-game lead in the conference, and are no longer reliant on other teams or results elsewhere going their way. Instead, the keys to the AFC playoff race are now in the hands of the reigning Super Bowl champs.
The road to the number one seed is now clear, and the path there is simple: If the Chiefs win all of of their remaining three games, they will finish with the AFC’s best record.
But should things go down to the wire, Pittsburgh’s loss to Buffalo gives the Chiefs a potentially huge tiebreaker advantage over the Steelers, a better win-loss percentage in games vs common opponents thanks to their Week 6 win over the Bills.
Therefore, if the Chiefs and Steelers finish with the same win-loss record overall and vs AFC opponents (they currently have one AFC loss each), Kansas City will have the edge.
All of that means that even if the Steelers win out, the Chiefs would only need to win one of their remaining NFC matchups – against the New Orleans Saints (10-3) and Atlanta Falcons (4-9) – and beat the Los Angeles Chargers (4-9) in Week 17 to clinch the top seed.
On top of everything else, Kansas City has another factor in its favor: remaining strength of schedule. The Steelers face a far tougher run home than the Chiefs, with two games against fellow playoff contenders still to come.
According to Tankathon, Pittsburgh’s remaining opponents—the Bengals, Colts and Browns—have a combined winning percentage of .539 (11th highest in the league), while Kansas City’s remaining opponents have a combined winning percentage of .462 (22nd highest in the league).
Meanwhile, Buffalo, who still mathematically has a chance at the number one seed, rank 19th in combined opponent win percentage (.487) for their last three games. They will face the Broncos, Patriots and Dolphins.
But with three weeks left in the regular season, the Chiefs are right where they want to be. They are a franchise-best 12-1 and sit atop the AFC with the NFL’s best record, having just clinched their fifth consecutive division title.
With plenty still on the line, the Chiefs are in control of their own destiny. With the playoff race really heating up, Kansas City is in the driver’s seat of the run it back tour bus, cruising in the fast lane to the AFC’s number one seed.