AFC Playoff Picture, Week 13: KC Chiefs bounce back in Las Vegas

How does the AFC playoff picture look after the 12th week of the NFL season and where do the KC Chiefs stack up?

Nov 26, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice (4) makes a
Nov 26, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice (4) makes a / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

After a tough loss against the Eagles a week ago, the Kansas City Chiefs bounced back and defeated their arch-rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders.

Hopefully, Sunday afternoon was a sign of what's to come for the Kansas City offense and not just a fluke performance against a bad defense. If they can get their passing game rolling, there are very few teams that can compete with them.

Last week, the Chiefs stumbled from the one seed to the two seed. Since every other divisional leader won in Week 12, the Chiefs' position in the standings remains unchanged.

Heading into Week 12, the Chiefs were within a game of every other playoff team, but how do the standings look today?

AFC playoff picture, Week 13

1. Baltimore Ravens (9-3)

2. Kansas City Chiefs (8-3)

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3)

4. Miami Dolphins (8-3)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)

6. Cleveland Browns (7-4)

7. Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

In the hunt: Houston Texans (6-5), Denver Broncos (6-5), Buffalo Bills (6-6), Cincinnati Bengals (5-6), Las Vegas Raiders (5-7), Los Angeles Chargers (4-7), Tennessee Titans (4-7), and New York Jets (4-7).

The Jets beat the Dolphins in the NFL's first edition of Black Friday Football. The Steelers topped the Bengals in Cincinnati's first game without Joe Burrow. The Jaguars outlasted the Texans in Houston. Russell Wilson and the Broncos won their fifth consecutive game against the Browns. The Chiefs beat the Raiders after a very rocky start to the game.

The Giants defeated the Patriots in the "Tank for Caleb Williams Bowl". The Colts squeaked past the Buccaneers. The Titans ended their losing streak with a win over the 1-win Carolina Panthers. The Bills lost a heartbreaker against the Eagles as they fell to 6-6. The Chargers failed to complete the comeback win against the Ravens, falling to 4-7.

The Chiefs are still in a great position to finish atop the AFC. They control their own destiny as they play a very favorable schedule down the road. As of today, they play zero teams currently in a playoff position and Josh Allen and Justin Herbert are the only quarterbacks even close to Patrick Mahomes' level on Kansas City's schedule.

It's pretty clear that the relevant teams in the AFC are the Chiefs, Ravens, Jaguars, and Dolphins. The Bills have potential but have consistently underperformed in crunch time. The Steelers, Texans, Browns, Broncos, and Colts are firmly in the playoff race but are not true threats in the playoffs.

According to Team Rankings, the Chiefs are still the favorites to land the #1 seed at 43.4%. After them are the Ravens at 25.3%, then the Dolphins at 13.6%, and finally the Jaguars at 12.2%. The Chiefs are very slim favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII in the AFC at 14.5%, while the Ravens are at 14.3%. They're both followed by the Dolphins (7.8%), Jaguars (3.8%), and the Browns (2.3%).

Despite having their fair share of flaws, the Chiefs proved on Sunday afternoon that they're still capable of playing like an elite offense. 31 points and nearly 350 yards of total offense in three quarters is impressive against any team. The real question is if they can keep it up against the elite teams of the NFL. They're still in a solid position to earn home-field advantage. If they can do that, it's going to be difficult to keep them out of the Super Bowl this year.