This is a loss that’s going to sting for a few for the Kansas City Chiefs. After the game, even the players admitted as much. That’s not just because it’s the nature of a defeat to hurt, but rather because the Chiefs only needed to get past the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 and the Denver Broncos next Sunday in order to sit back and rest for a week as the top seed in the AFC.
Now that position belongs to the Tennessee Titans.
The Chiefs came into Week 17 with a one-game lead over the Titans for the No.1 seed (and the lone first-round postseason bye) in the conference, but they needed to keep pace with two more wins (or a Tennessee loss) given that Mike Vrabel‘s team owns the tiebreaker over the Chiefs. Unfortunately, the Chiefs failed to win their very next game after finally securing that top spot for a brief moment.
Let’s look at where the Chiefs stand in the AFC Playoff Picture heading into Week 18.
The Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC North title with a 34-31 win over the Chiefs in Week 17 that had everyone talking about the ups (offense), downs (officiating), and Ja’Marr Chase (of course). Just like that, the Chiefs found themselves back at No. 2 overall and in danger of falling further.
It’s possible, with a loss against the Broncos in Week 18, that the Chiefs could fall behind the Bengals and even Bills, depending on if they win or not. Both teams hold the tiebreaker against K.C., which means the Chiefs could technically fall from a first-round bye and hosting every game at Arrowhead before the Super Bowl to playing Wild Card weekend on the road.
Of course, all of this is dependent on the Chiefs losing next week and the other teams winning. That’s a glass-half-empty scenario because we can just as easily say that the Chiefs still have a chance to top the Titans for that first-round bye.
The Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, and Miami Dolphins were all eliminated from contention in Week 17, which clears the postseason picture at least a bit on the bottom. Here’s a present look at the AFC playoff picture heading into Week 18 (but before Monday Night Football).
Here’s the current AFC playoff picture:
- Tennessee Titans*
- Kansas City Chiefs*
- Cincinnati Bengals*
- Buffalo Bills*
- New England Patriots
- Indianapolis Colts
- L.A. Chargers
- Baltimore Ravens
- Las Vegas Raiders
- Pittsburgh Steelers
(*= current division lead)