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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs secured their spot in the playoffs when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 16.

As AFC West champs, the Chiefs are guaranteed a top-4 seed in the AFC playoff picture; however, the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last week puts their destiny in the hands of the 4-12 Houston Texans if they want to secure the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.

Chiefs WinChiefs Lose
Titans WinTennessee – No. 1
Kansas City – No. 2
Tennessee – No. 1
Kansas City – No. 2-4
Titans LoseKansas City – No. 1
Tennessee – No. 2-3
Kansas City – No. 2-4
Tennessee – No. 1-3

Best case scenario for Kansas City is for the Chiefs to beat the Denver Broncos on Saturday afternoon.

A victory will guarantee home-field advantage through the divisional round if they make it that far. In that case, if the Chiefs make the AFC Championship for a fourth consecutive time and play any team not named the Tennessee Titans, they will play at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

If the Chiefs win and the Texans can manage to upset the Titans, Kansas City will secure the coveted first-round bye and home field advantage.


In reality, all remaining AFC matchups have implications on playoff seeding, making it near impossible to guess who will play who.

Assuming the Chiefs and Titans win (giving Kansas City the second seed), there are a few “most likely” situations, barring any major upsets.

If the playoffs started right now, the Chiefs would host AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers, whom they split the season series with 1-1, in the Wild Card round.

The Chargers play on Sunday night in a divisional must-win game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

  • If the Raiders win, the Chargers will be eliminated from the playoffs and a host of other matchups will determine Vegas’ seeding.
  • If the Raiders lose, they can still sneak into the playoffs with victories from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens, setting up a meeting at Arrowhead against the Chiefs.
  • If all “favorites” win and Las Vegas beats the Chargers, the Raiders would jump to the No. 6 seed and the Chiefs would play the Indianapolis Colts in the first round.

Things really take a chaotic turn if the Jacksonville Jaguars can upset the Colts.