AFC Playoff Picture: How the Chiefs look in the final picture

After the conclusion of the 2023 regular season, how do the final playoff standings in the AFC and who will the Chiefs play in the Wild Card round?

Jan 7, 2024; Inglewood, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (left)
Jan 7, 2024; Inglewood, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (left) / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

The 2023 NFL Regular Season is finally over and the Kansas City Chiefs are set to begin what they hope is another run to the Super Bowl. They'll host a Wild Card playoff game on Saturday night, but who is their opponent?

After Week 17, the Chiefs had the #3 seed locked up, but their opponent was still very much a mystery. Heading into Week 18, the options were down to the Steelers, Bills, Colts, Texans, and Dolphins. We now know that team is the Miami Dolphins.

Now that all 276 NFL regular season games are complete, what do the final AFC Playoff Standings look like? Who were the seven teams to qualify and which teams were stuck on the outside looking in?

Final AFC playoff picture

1. Baltimore Ravens (13-4)

2. Buffalo Bills (11-6)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-6)

4. Houston Texans (10-7)

5. Cleveland Browns (11-6)

6. Miami Dolphins (11-6)

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-7)

On the outside: Cincinnati Bengals (9-8), Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8), Indianapolis Colts (9-8), Las Vegas Raiders (8-9), Denver Broncos (8-9), New York Jets (7-10), Tennessee Titans (6-11), Los Angeles Chargers (5-12), and New England Patriots (4-13).

The Steelers defeated the Ravens in a rainstorm. Led by C.J. Stroud, the Texans beat the Colts to lock up a playoff spot. The Jaguars were stunned by the Titans and fell out of the playoffs. The Jets beat the Patriots for the first time in 2015 in what might have been Bill Belichick's final game in New England.

The Bengals crushed the Browns to close out their season. The Chiefs squeaked past the Chargers after a game-winning drive by Blaine Gabbert. The Raiders beat the Broncos to close out both of their seasons. The Bills went into Miami and beat the Dolphins to win the AFC East and the #2 seed.

Even though Trevor Lawrence was playing hurt, it was still a stunning loss for the Jaguars. A win over the lowly Titans would have given them the division title, but they fell behind early in the game and weren't able to get back into the game.

The Texans could be a real problem in the playoffs as Stroud has been excellent this season. The Browns can beat anyone given how good their defense is. The Steelers aren't much of a threat, but anyone in the NFL is capable of winning on any given day. The Dolphins are explosive but have had a lot of injuries and aren't built to win three playoff straight playoff games on the road.

The real threats in the AFC are the top-seeded Ravens as well as the Bills and the Chiefs. Buffalo and Kansas City are similar in the sense that they have all-world quarterbacks, but both teams have been careless with giveaways.

According to Team Rankings, among AFC teams, the Ravens are the clear favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII at 28.0%. They're followed by the Bills (11.2%), Chiefs (4.9%), Dolphins (3.3%), Browns (2.1%), Texans (0.7%), and then the Steelers (0.6%).

As long as the Chiefs have Mahomes and Andy Reid, they're capable of winning against any team. Their issues are a lack of quality wide receivers and giveaways. The former cannot be fixed, but the latter can be addressed in time to save their season.

Up next for Kansas City is the Dolphins, who are beat up and don't play well outside of the state of Florida. If the reckless Chiefs show up on Saturday night, there's a very good chance they'll be bounced from the playoffs. If they play a clean game, they should crush Miami.

manual