Heading into Week 17, the Chiefs are expected to be the number 3 seed. The Kansas City Chiefs can still earn a bye, hold the three seed or fall to the four seed. If the playoff standings hold as expected, the Chiefs will play Wild Card Weekend.
There are three scenarios for the Chiefs as the enter the NFL Playoffs
- The Chiefs hold the three seed – This scenario occurs if the Chiefs win and New England defeats the Dolphins. In this case the Chiefs would play one of three teams. (Titans, Steelers, or Raiders)
- The Chiefs fall to the four seed – In this scenario, the Chiefs would have to lose to the struggling Los Angeles Chargers and a Houston Texans victory over the Tennessee Titans.
- The Chiefs get a bye in the 1st round of the playoffs – For this scenario to happen, the Chiefs need a win against the Chargers and a win by the Miami Dolphins. This scenario would require the Dolphins to beat the Patriots in New England. For what it’s worth, the Dolphins have beat New England at least once, five of the last six years.
The best outcome would be the Chiefs getting a bye week, the worst would be losing and falling to the four seed. The Chiefs have a tough decision to make as they can play to hold the three seed or rest and risk the chance to hold the three seed. As the three seed, a Chiefs Wild Card victory would mean playing New England in the Divisional Round instead of Baltimore, with the Ravens coming off a bye. The Chiefs resting Week 17 would ensure the health of most key players.
My expectation is that the Chiefs play most of their players against the Chargers hoping for a chance at a bye. Given the Chargers struggles, a quick lead may make the Chargers check out of the game mentally. In this scenario, if New England is winning big, I think the Chiefs pull their starters. If the Dolphins can find a way to stay close to the Patriots, I think the Chiefs will keep the starters in. If this happens, expect a fairly conservative game-plan.
My prediction is that the Chiefs will end up with the three seed. In terms of who they play, I’ll go ahead and say they play the Oakland Raiders.
My reasoning is that I think the Ravens will beat the Steelers. Even without Lamar Jackson and some of their starters, I believe the Ravens have more talent and a better QB than the Steelers. I don’t trust any of the Steelers QBs and I’m not sure they can outscore RG3, who is the best QB that will play in this game. I am not confident about the outcome of the Texans and Titans game, but I think they end up playing their starters. The Texans played so bad against the Colts in last year’s Wild Card game that I believe they’ll make it point to go into playoffs playing well. In the end, I don’t have a ton of confidence in this pick. The Texans may want to see what they look like against a physical team as they would play the Buffalo Bills the next week. The Raiders need 4 or 5 things to happen to get into the playoffs, but none of them seem unreasonable. The two most difficult necessities are the Texans to beat the Titans, even though they aren’t really playing for anything. The other task is beating a Broncos in Denver. The Broncos have played much better with Drew Lock at QB, but I’ll go with the Raiders, mostly because I expect Jon Gruden to throw everything he has at Denver, at least if the Texans and Titans game is close.
Chiefs Wild Card opponent Probability (Estimate):
- Titans – 75%
- Steelers – 20%
- Raiders – 5%
Chiefs Wild Card Round Prediction: Raiders @ Chiefs