After a 27-24 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens, the Kansas City Chiefs remain atop the AFC standings.
If the playoffs started tomorrow, here’s what the AFC playoff seeding would look like:
1. Chiefs: 11-2
2. Patriots: 9-4
3. Texans: 9-4
4. Steelers: 7-5-1
5. Chargers: 10-3
6. Ravens: 7-6
In the Hunt:
You may be scratching your heads about why the Chargers at 10-3 are the No. 5 seed and the 9-4 Patriots are the No. 6 seed. By rule since the Chargers are in the same division as the Chiefs they’re unable to have a top four seed as long as they have a worse record than the Chiefs. Each of those four seeds are reserved for the top teams in each division in the AFC conference. It’s a loophole that has allowed the Patriots, Texans, and Steelers to stay on top despite worse records than the Chargers.
The Chiefs face the Chargers on a short week in Week 15. It’ll be an extremely difficult matchup for both teams, however the Chiefs have the advantage of Arrowhead stadium.
Two teams that were vying for the top seed lost their games today. Those teams are the Texans and the Patriots. This gives the Chiefs some much needed breathing room.
Both the Texans and the Patriots were just a single game behind the Chiefs. After Sunday’s outcomes they’ve got more ground to make up and have to rely on the Chiefs dropping multiple games on the way to the postseason.
Now the only team threatening the Chiefs is the Chargers and they’re heading to Arrowhead to play the Chiefs on Thursday.
The Chiefs have some extremely valuable tie-breakers in play now.
If the Chargers happen to win against the Chiefs in Thursday Night Football and both teams finish with the same record, the Chiefs would own a tie-breaker over the Chargers. This is because the Chiefs own the better division record.
The team the Chiefs don’t currently own a tie-breaker over would be Patriots, but since they lost on Sunday to the Dolphins, the Chiefs are comfortably ahead and don’t have to worry about that tie-breaker coming into play.
With a better conference record than the Texans, the Chiefs have to win just one of their two remaining AFC games to hold a tie-breaker over them.
The Chiefs got a little banged up on Sunday against the Ravens. At least on the offensive side of the ball. Spencer Ware reportedly had a hamstring injury that he fought through. Tyreek Hill had hand and heel injuries that he fought through. Cameron Erving left the game with a knee injury.
On Thursday against the Chargers, the Chiefs will get a boost on offense and defense. Newly signed receiver Kelvin Benjamin is on track to make his debut with the Chiefs. It’s unclear how much he’ll work in for the team and what exactly his role will be, but the Chiefs expect him to suit up.
This could be big if Tyreek Hill is still dealing with his injury. While Benjamin hasn’t had a great 2018, just look what a change of scenery and winning culture has done for former Raiders receiver Amari Cooper.
Thursday is also expected to be the long-awaited return of Chiefs star safety Eric Berry. The message that Eric Berry first sent Chiefs fans when he injured his Achilles in 2017 rings loud and clear:
“I’m coming back to change the game. I’m not coming with that BS. So everybody just watch out and just know that I’m serious when I come back. Straight up.”
Adding another game-changing player on defense could be exactly what this team needs to get them over the hump during the postseason.