The Chiefs’ 10-3 victory over the Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday moved them one week closer to the playoffs as a wild-card team.
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The Broncos’ home loss to the Raiders means two games separate Denver, 10-3, and Kansas City, 8-5, in the AFC West, and the Broncos have the more difficult remaining schedule.
Next week, Denver plays at Pittsburgh and finishes with home games against the Bengals and Chargers.
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The Chiefs play at Baltimore next week and finish at home against the Browns and Raiders.
If the teams finish with the same record, the first tie-breaker is head-to-head, and the Chiefs and Broncos split the regular-season meetings.
The second tie-breaker is games within the division. At the moment, the Chiefs are 4-1 and the Broncos are 3-2.
If the season ended today, the Chiefs would be the fifth seed, making them the top wild card team. They would open the playoffs at the winner of the South Division, which is a jumbled mess after the Colts were bombed by the Jaguars 51-16.
The Colts, Jaguars and Texans, who played host to the Patriots on Sunday night, are fighting for the South Division title.
Victories by the Jets and Steelers on Sunday keep them in the same position they were in heading into the weekend. The Jets, 8-5, would be the sixth seed, the Steelers, 8-5, one game out of the playoffs.
The Chiefs own the tie-breaker over the Jets and Steelers because of better conference records over both and a victory over the Steelers.
Four teams are eliminated from the AFC race: the Ravens, Chargers, Browns and Titans.
In the NFC, the undefeated Panthers have clinched a first-round bye with a win Sunday, and the Cardinals clinched a playoff berth on Thursday.
The Packers would be the third seed and Washington the fourth seed as division winners. The Seahawks would be the fifth seed and the Vikings the sixth.