The Kansas City Chiefs sit just outside the AFC Playoff race in eighth place of the final six-team field. At 4-5, the Chiefs are one game behind the 5-4 Buffalo Bills who hold the last Wild Card spot and 1.5 games behind the 6-4 Pittsburgh Steelers, who are off on their bye week. However, with a win over San Diego, there is a way that the Chiefs could move into one of those six playoff spots by the time the final gun sounds for Monday Night Football.
New England, Denver, and Cincinnati still hold solid, if not commanding, leads in their divisions and honestly, Chiefs fans should probably hope each team continues to win every week as it can only help KC. I know there is a glimmer of hope that the Chiefs could still win the AFC West, but there is also hope you can win the grand prize in a state lottery too. It’s just not realistic to think about.
Indianapolis has a shaky hold on first place in the abysmal AFC South and since it is the league rules that someone from that division makes the playoffs, there will be one playoff spot given to the South champ. Despite the fact that no one has a winning record in Week 11, Indy, Houston, and even the god-awful Jaguars are all in contention. The Jags put themselves into the playoff picture with a 19-13 win over Tennessee Thursday night.
So who should Chiefs fans be rooting for this weekend? Here’s a quick rundown on the teams outside of Kansas City that you can give your (temporary) allegiance to for the day. Hint: We hate all the New York teams this weekend!
1. The Chiefs still need to beat the Chargers. This is the “no kidding” part of the equation as you’ll always be rooting for the Men in Red every time they take the field. However, the Chiefs can only afford to lose one or possibly two more games this year. A 10-6 record will most likely get them into the playoffs and, in what’s turning out to be a down year in the conference, 9-7 could get them in as well.
2. Texans beat Jets on Sunday. The Jets are one game in front of the Chiefs, but has one more conference loss, the second tie-breaking procedure behind head-to-head play. Since the Chiefs and Jets do not play this season, every conference loss for New York does the Chiefs good. Furthermore, since the Chiefs already beat Houston in Week One, they hold the tie-breaker over them as long as they both end up with the same record.
Unfortunately, the Texans are coming off a HUGE emotional win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football and their quarterback, Brian Hoyer, is in the concussion protocol and might night play, so there is a possibility of a let-down loss for Houston. The Texans beat Cincy 10-6 off of a wonderful defensive game plan, so hopefully defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel can come up with another good one to take out the Jets.
3. New England stays perfect and beats the Bills on Monday Night Football. The Bills are one game ahead of Kansas City, but like the Jets have one more conference loss than the Chiefs. A Chiefs win and Bills loss gives KC the tie-breaker.
The next two games could spell life or death for Rex Ryan’s boys. First up, a date with the Patriots and Ryan’s arch-nemesis, Bill Belichick. Ryan seems obsessed with beating Belichick and after some early success during his stint being the head coach of the Jets, Belichick has owned Ryan since. Then next week, the Bills take a trip to the Midwest to visit the Chiefs at Arrowhead. No matter what happens this week, that game will have a playoff atmosphere. Should Buffalo lost both games, they’ll be 5-6 and ostensibly, two games behind the Chiefs with only five games left to play.
Week 11 AFC playoff standings (Overall record, AFC record)
1. Patriots (9-0, 6-0) – AFC East Champs
2. Bengals (8-1, 7-1) – AFC North Champs
3. Broncos (7-2, 4-2) – AFC West Champs
4. Colts (4-5, 4-3) – AFC South Survivor
5. Steelers (6-4, 3-4) – First Wild Card
6. Bills (5-4, 5-3) – Second Wild Card
In the hunt
7. Jets (5-4, 4-3)
8. Chiefs (4-5, 3-2)
9. Raiders (4-5, 4-3)
10. Dolphins (4-5, 2-5)
11. Texans (4-5, 3-3)
Finally, if you want to have a leg up on everyone at your upcoming holiday dinners and parties, here are the official NFL tiebreaking procedures from NFL.com that you can memorize. Yeah, it’s nerdy, but you never know when you will impress that incredibly hot girl/guy at the holiday office party.