The Kansas City Chiefs find themselves in control of the AFC playoff picture, including the outlook for the No. 1 seed. After a tough loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 15 which made the AFC West battle quite a bit tighter, things changed even before Sunday’s action began. The Chiefs were given a bit of an early Christmas present from the Baltimore Ravens to start the week.
Baltimore went into Los Angeles and knocked off the Chargers, giving the Chiefs extra breathing room ahead of Sunday’s game. Now, Patrick Mahomes and company square off with the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16, who are also battling for playoff position currently.
Let’s take a look at the best and worse case scenarios for the Chiefs this weekend, factoring outcomes of other games as well. Fortunately, we have a better idea of how things look considering this is the second-to-last game of the week.
*Note: Updated outlook and odds for Chiefs will be listed below.
AFC Playoff Standings
*Note: Updated after Sunday’s games, prior to the night game.
|1. Kansas City Chiefs||11||4||0|
|2. New England Patriots||10||5||0|
|3. Houston Texans||10||5||0|
|4. Baltimore Ravens||9||6||0|
|5. L.A. Chargers||11||4||0|
|6. Indianapolis Colts||9||6||0|
|7. Tennessee Titans||9||6||0|
|8. Pittsburgh Steelers||8||6||1|
The loss which dropped the Chargers to 11-4 sets the Chiefs up in prime position to hold their rival off for the division title. Kansas City already holds the tiebreaker and even sat in the No. 1 seed prior to Week 16 getting underway.
Although the New England Patriots won this week and the Houston Texans remain just one game back, the Chiefs have full control over not only the division but the conference as well. Kansas City holds the edge on a number of tiebreakers, and before we dive into their scenarios, here’s how the tiebreakers work, courtesy of NFL.com.
Head-to-head, if applicable.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in conference games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
Chiefs’ Best and Worst Case Week 16 Scenarios
It would take a major slip-up for the Chiefs to lose the No. 1 seed in the AFC at this point. As Playoff Status shows, they hold a 97 percent chance to earn the top spot. The only other possible outlooks include a two percent chance at the No. 5 seed and one percent to finish in the No. 3 spot.
The Chiefs have a direct line to clinching the No. 1 seed and it includes either defeating the Seahawks or the Oakland Raiders in Week 17. Kansas City will have each of the last two games to handle business on their own, but even if by some chance they were unable to, they can still finish in the top spot. Things get a bit hectic in that outlook, though, as it would either require ties or both the Patriots and Texans losing (to the Jets and Jaguars).
In turn, the worst case scenario is the No. 5 seed and even that’s a longshot. The Chiefs are close to being a lock for home field throughout the playoffs currently and it can become official on Sunday night.
Update: With the loss to the Seahawks, the Chiefs hold a 93 percent chance to earn the No. 1 seed. Their odds of finishing in the No. 5 spot increased to five percent and they now have a two percent chance to finish as the No. 3 seed, per Playoff Status.