As you know, Chiefs fans got their Christmas present Sunday when Kansas City secured a playoff spot.
In fact, the entire AFC field is set. It’s just a matter of determining the seeds, and that’s where things get a little tricky heading into the final week of the season.
This much is certain: The Pittsburgh Steelers will be the No. 3 seed and the Houston Texans will be seeded fourth. By winning their divisions, they will play host to Wild Card games on the weekend of Jan. 7-8.
We also know that the AFC East champion Patriots will get a bye to the Divisional Round, which is Jan. 14-15. They are currently the top seed in the AFC, but could drop to No. 2 with a loss at Miami and a Raiders win at Denver. That would make Oakland the top seed, although it will be without quarterback Derek Carr, who is out for the season because of a broken fibula.
The potential seeds for the Raiders: No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5. The Miami Dolphins, who are a wild card, will be either the fifth or sixth seed.
As for the Chiefs, they could still win the AFC West and be seeded second (and get a bye), or remain a wild-card team seeded fifth (and play at Houston) or fall to the No. 6 seed (and play at Pittsburgh). Here is each scenario:
No. 2 seed
Here’s the part where Chiefs fans root for the Broncos. If Denver beats the Raiders at home and the Chiefs win in San Diego, the Chiefs would win the AFC West and get the No. 2 seed.
Result: A bye in the playoffs, and the Chiefs would play at home in the Divisional Round either Jan. 14 or 15 against the third, fourth or fifth seed. That would be the Steelers, Texans or Raiders. A victory in that game would put the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, which they would play host to if the Patriots lose.
History: The Chiefs swept the Raiders this season but lost at the Texans and Steelers.
No. 5 seed
If the Chiefs beat the Chargers but Oakland knocks off the Broncos, the Chiefs would finish a game behind the Raiders at 12-4 and remain a wild card, seeded fifth. If the Chiefs lose, KC would retain the fifth seed if the Dolphins also lose.
Result: Chiefs at Texans in a Wild Card playoff game either Jan. 7 or 8. If the Chiefs win that, they would play on the road in the Divisional Round and have a chance to be host to the AFC Championship Game, but only if the Dolphins also advance that far.
History: The Chiefs won at Houston in the Wild Card round last season, 30-0, but lost in Week 2 this year 19-12.
No. 6 seed
If the Dolphins beat the Patriots on Sunday and the Chiefs lose at San Diego, Miami would jump ahead of Kansas City for the No. 5 seed. Both teams would be 11-5 and 8-4 in the conference, but the Dolphins would get the edge in common games. Both teams played the Jets, Chargers, Steelers and Titans. The Chiefs would be 2-3 in those games, while the Dolphins would be 3-2.
Result: Chiefs at Steelers in a Wild Card game either Jan. 7 or 8. If the Chiefs win that, they would have to win two more road games to reach the Super Bowl.
History: The Chiefs were blown out at Pittsburgh in Week 4 this year, 43-14.