KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With a loss Sunday at Cincinnati, the Kansas City Chiefs slipped from the top spot in the AFC playoff standings.
Coach Andy Reid’s squad no longer controls its own fate in the race for the No. 1 seed and a postseason bye, but their prospects remain quite good.
Kansas City and Buffalo are tied at 9-3 for the best record in the conference. The Bills own the tiebreaker after a 24-20 win during Week 6 against the Chiefs.
However, Kansas City has a much easier schedule during the final five weeks of the season.
Only one of the Chiefs’ remaining opponents — Seattle, which improved to 7-5 by rallying past the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday — has a winning record.
The rest of Kansas City’s upcoming schedule is packed with teams jockeying for top-10 picks when the NFL Draft comes to town in four months.
The Chiefs play Denver (3-9) twice and visit Houston (1-10-1) and Las Vegas (5-7).
The @Chiefs ought to win out and finished 14-3. #ChiefsKingdom #Chiefs41 pic.twitter.com/YWHhOXjp08— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) December 5, 2022
Even the Raiders game comes in Week 18, so coach Andy Reid’s squad will have the luxury of knowing whether the outcome matters.
Meanwhile, all but one of Buffalo’s remaining games are against teams at .500 or better — home games against the New York Jets (7-5) and Miami (8-4), road games at Chicago (3-10) and Cincinnati (8-4) and a home finale against New England (6-6).
If Buffalo loses once, the @Chiefs would be back in control of the top seed. pic.twitter.com/OouZsxb8Mr— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) December 5, 2022
That’s not to say that the Chiefs can’t lose or that the Bills can’t win out, but Kansas City certainly has far better odds of running the table — and it may yet be enough to ensure that the road to the AFC Championship Game runs through GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium for a fifth straight season.
Thanks to the Los Angeles Chargers’ loss Sunday against Las Vegas, Kansas City maintained its three-game lead in the AFC West standings, effectively a four-game lead with the season’s head-to-head sweep.
The Chiefs’ magic number — with respect to their wins or losses by the Chargers — is two.
Kansas City could clinch a seventh straight division title next Sunday with a win at Denver coupled with a Chargers loss versus Miami.
At the very least, the Chiefs are close to being guaranteed a home playoff game as the AFC West champ.