AFC Playoff Picture, Week 16: Chiefs hit their rock bottom for 2023

How does the AFC playoff picture look after the 16th week of the NFL season and where do the KC Chiefs stack up?

Dec 25, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) runs
Dec 25, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) runs / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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When the Kansas City Chiefs woke up on Christmas morning, they had an opportunity to clinch their eighth consecutive AFC West title. Instead, they fell flat on their face in a demoralizing defeat at the hands of arch-rival Las Vegas Raiders.

For fans who prefer to think positively, the Chiefs offense outgained the Raiders offense by over 100 yards and outscored the Las Vegas offense 14-6. The problem was that the offense surrendered two defensive touchdowns on back-to-back plays. If you had told Kansas City fans that the defense would have allowed not even 210 yards and just 6 points, most would have assumed it was a blowout victory. Instead, they lost for the fifth time in the last eight games.

Although they won last week, K.C.'s spot in the standings didn't change as they stood pat as the #3 seed. Where are they after their loss against the Raiders?

AFC playoff picture, Week 17

1. Baltimore Ravens (12-3)

2. Miami Dolphins (11-4)

3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-6)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-7)

5. Cleveland Browns (10-5)

6. Buffalo Bills (9-6)

7. Indianapolis Colts (8-7)

In the hunt: Houston Texans (8-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7), Cincinnati Bengals (8-7), Las Vegas Raiders (7-8), and Denver Broncos (7-8).

The Steelers demolished the Bengals as George Pickens had a monster game. The Bills escaped the Chargers on a last-second field goal. The Browns crushed the Texans behind monster games by Joe Flacco and Amari Cooper. The Jets outlasted the Commanders' comeback attempt. The Colts were smashed by the Falcons in Atlanta.

The Titans fell to the Seahawks as Ryan Tannehill couldn't get the job done. The Buccaneers dominated the Jaguars. The Dolphins squeaked by the Cowboys in a thriller. The Raiders upset the Chiefs at Arrowhead on Christmas. The Ravens dismantled the 49ers after picking off Brock Purdy four times.

Even though the rest of the AFC is very beatable, barring a miracle on offense, the Chiefs aren't making a Super Bowl run this season and fans need to come to terms with that. Their dreams of the #1 seed are officially dead and the streak of five straight AFC Championship Games at Arrowhead should come to an end. Their offense is a disaster and if Patrick Mahomes isn't on his A game, the offense is incapable of scoring points. The defense is awesome but likely not enough to carry them through the playoffs.

The AFC will very likely be represented in the Super Bowl by the Ravens, Dolphins, or Bills, unless Joe Flacco can recapture the magic from his 2012-13 playoff run for the Browns.

According to Team Rankings, the Ravens are the clear favorites to land the #1 seed at 75.2%, while the Dolphins have a 24.8% chance. Next week's Dolphins-Ravens matchup will likely determine the #1 seed in the AFC. The Ravens are also the strong favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII in the AFC at 22.0%. They're followed by the Dolphins (10.7%), the Bills (7.8%), and then the Chiefs (5.2%).

Get ready for the Chiefs to play a true road playoff game for the first time in seven years. Unless they get bounced in the Wild Card round, which is very realistic, Kansas City will need to travel to another AFC city to go back to the Super Bowl. This appears to be a lost season for the Chiefs, but it's not over yet, so maybe there's a bit of Mahomes Magic still left to help save their season.

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