The first and more important question was answered with the Chiefs’ 17-13 victory over the Browns at Arrowhead Stadium.
Will the Chiefs make the playoffs? Yes.
Next are the specifics, which will be determined by the seeding.
That mystery will extend into the final weekend.
The Chiefs will take three seeding possibilities into next week, when they play the Raiders at home.
They can be the third, fifth or sixth seed, which means they’ll be playing on the first weekend of the postseason, Jan. 9-10.
To be the third seed, the Chiefs, 10-5, need to finish with the same or better record than the Broncos, 10-4, who play host to the Bengals on Monday night and finish the season with a home game against the Chargers next week.
The Chiefs own the tie-breaker with Denver. They also own the tie-breaker with the New York Jets, 10-5, who defeated the Patriots on Sunday.
If the Chiefs and Jets finish as wild-card teams with the same record the Chiefs would be the fifth seed and the Jets sixth.
The Chiefs and Jets would swap seeds if the Chiefs lose to the Raiders and the Jets defeat the Bills in Buffalo in their season finale.
The scenario for the Chiefs is not like 2013, coach Andy Reid’s first season when the team made the playoffs and was locked into its seeding entering the final weekend.
That allowed Reid to rest many of his starters. Chase Daniel made his career first NFL start. But the Chiefs would start the playoffs as home as a No. 3 seed.
Asked about personnel for next week, Reid said he’d weigh his options.
“If there’s something at stake, then you keep playing, and if there’s nothing at stake, you can mess around with those things,” Reid said.
Seeding and wild-card round matchups if the season ended today:
The opening round of the playoffs would feature these matchups:
Jets at Broncos
Chiefs at Texans