The Kansas City Chiefs have the second wild card playoff spot going into Week 12 and have a chance to put a firm grip on the playoff race if they can beat the Buffalo Bills Sunday at Arrowhead. The AFC playoff race is packed tight right now as six other teams are within one game of the Chiefs (5-5) and even the Baltimore Ravens are only two games back.
New England (10-0) and Cincinnati (8-2) are leading their divisions and would have first-round byes if the playoffs started today. Denver (8-2) and Indianapolis (5-5) are the other two division leaders and would host Kansas City and Pittsburgh (6-4), respectively, in the first round.
However, with six more games to play, things can change quickly. Here is a look at this weekend’s schedule and who Chiefs fans should be cheering for in order for their team to get the best playoff matchup possible:
1. The Chiefs need to beat the Bills. Buffalo is a tough, hard-hitting team that seemingly gives the Chiefs everything they can handle every time they play. However, the Chiefs have a lot of things going their way and the Bills have a quarterback with a bad wing as Tyrod Taylor has been limited in practice all week, including Friday. If Kansas City can get a win, they will have the tie-breaker over almost every playoff contender with five weeks left in the season.
2. Pittsburgh loses to the Seahawks in Seattle. The Steelers travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the schizophrenic Seahawks, who look like the NFC champions one week and then like a struggling college team the next. It will be strength versus strength as the tough Seattle defense tries to corral the powerful Steelers offense. A Chiefs win and Steelers loss will give the Chiefs the #1 wild card spot because they hold the tie-breaker over Pittsburgh due to KC’s win in Week 7. Plus, at this point, the first wild card spot means a trip to play Indy instead of Denver.
3. New England beats the Broncos Sunday night at Sports Authority Field in Denver. For those of you still holding out hope that the Chiefs can overtake Denver and capture the AFC West crown, put on your Tom Brady jerseys and cheer for the probable 2015 NFL MVP to beat Denver and move the Chiefs to within two games of the division crown.
4. The Dolphins beat the Jets in Miami Sunday afternoon in Miami. The Jets are the only other 5-5 team in the AFC and it would be nice if the Chiefs could be up one game on them going into December. KC has a better conference record (4-2) than New York (4-4) and since they do not play each other in the regular season, any kind of buffer would be nice.
As always, I’ll leave you with the official NFL tiebreaking procedures from NFL.com that you can read if you’re having trouble getting to sleep with all the holiday excitement going on right now. Remember that kickoff for the Buffalo game will be at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday at that place they call Arrowhead Stadium. It’s been a month since the Chiefs played a home game in front of their fans at their own stadium so consider this a public service announcement for those of you having trouble remembering what it was like to cheer for the Chiefs in person.