7. New England Patriots
Odds they meet: ~4%
After a 6-4 start to the season, it appeared that the Patriots would return to the postseason for the second time since Tom Brady left. But they have gone just 1-4 over the past five games and a loss to Miami would be catastrophic to their playoff hopes.
The main thing that scares me about New England is Bill Belichick designing a defensive game plan that gives Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes trouble. They do have a strong offensive line and running game but their quarterback and the overall passing game are just too putrid for them to have any realistic chance of an upset.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars
Odds they meet: <1%
The Jaguars looked like they were dead after Week 13, but three straight victories for them and five straight losses for the Tennessee Titans put them back in the playoff hunt. The odds of them earning a wild card are incredibly low, although they are the strong favorites to win the AFC South.
It’s never ideal to play a hot team in the playoffs, but the Chiefs are a better team than Jacksonville in most areas, including coach and quarterback, so they will likely not be an easy out.
5. New York Jets
Odds they meet: ~7%
The New York Jets looked promising after a 7-4 start to the season, but Zach Wilson likely cost them their first playoff birth since 2010. If they can beat Seattle and Miami to close out the season, only a single Patriots loss will net them a playoff spot. Not likely but not unrealistic at the same time.
The Jets are this high because I respect Robert Saleh as a coach; their defense is objectively great, and they have a rising star wide receiver in Garrett Wilson. Mike White is a nice story, but the Chiefs will be 8-11 point favorites against this team at home and the score shouldn’t even be that close.
4. Baltimore Ravens
Odds they meet: ~7%
The Chiefs are not likely to meet the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round, but it’s not off the table. The easiest path for a Baltimore-Kansas City Wild Card game involved the Chiefs stumbling to the #6 seed and the Ravens sliding to the #6 seed.
The Ravens, in my opinion, are the worst team in the AFC that has a realistic chance to make a Super Bowl run. Lamar Jackson is scary, but the team lacks weapons in the passing game to hang with the Chiefs. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if they came into Arrowhead and won, but it would be a significant upset.