It’s amazing how one slip-up in the final 2 weeks of the season could send the Kansas City Chiefs from the No. 1 seed, and having homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, all the way down to No. 5 and playing on the road in the first round.
If the Chiefs just take care of business, with a road win on Sunday night at Seattle and then a win at home against the Oakland Raiders, they’re the No. 1 seed and will have a first-round bye.
But if they do lose one or both of the games, then things will get interesting.
San Francisco did the Chiefs no favors by upsetting the Seahawks on Sunday as that proved to be a trap game. The Seahawks are still the No. 5 seed in the NFC and need to win only one of their last two to qualify. They do know if they don’t beat the Chiefs, they have the sad-sack Arizona Cardinals at home in their final game, so they’re not in total desperation mode, but that loss Sunday probably lit a fire under them.
Los Angeles has the second-best AFC record right now, but because it’s in the same division as the Chiefs it’s only the No. 5 seed. But it can pass the Chiefs with some help.
Right now, Houston is the No. 2 seed if the season ended today. The Texans are 10-4, though they overcame a so-so-effort on Saturday to outlast the struggling New York Jets.
New England, with its second straight loss, is now No. 3 and basically lost any chance at homefield by losing to Pittsburgh.
The intriguing race is the AFC North as Pittsburgh and Baltimore are locked in a doozy. The Steelers are a half-game ahead of the Ravens, who could do the Chiefs a favor this week with a win over the Chargers.
Indianapolis and Tennessee still have a chance to get in, while Miami and Cleveland are mathematically alive, though nobody is holding their breath as a bizarre set of circumstances would have to happen for both teams to even have a chance.
The Chiefs’ last-second loss to the Chargers on Thursday hurt for so many reasons. They could have wrapped up the homefield and possibly rested some of their players. It also brought the Chargers directly back into play.
Right now, it’s really hard to say which team is playing the best in the AFC as all the teams have their flaws, with some leaning toward the Chargers. But I always say this – the road to the Super Bowl goes through New England and as long as Tom Brady is standing, the Patriots still have to be considered as the team to advance from the AFC.
The playoffs are all about being hot at the right time. And right now, I wouldn’t bet against the Chicago Bears making the Super Bowl. Their defense is the NFL’s best and they run the football well. The Rams have shown signs of faltering, especially quarterback Jared Goff, who has reverted back to his rookie year with terrible decision-making. New Orleans also has hit a bump and its game with Carolina is key tonight. Until Philadelphia is eliminated, the Eagles have to be reckoned with because of their defense.