The Chiefs are well aware of their predicament.
Coach Andy Reid’s team needs a win Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium and some help — losses by Baltimore and Houston — to return to the AFC playoffs.
It’s a tall order, but none of it matters unless the Chiefs take care of business first.
“I’ll tell you the same thing I just told the team, ‘You can’t worry about all that,’” Reid said. “Some of us have been through it, where we’ve had to have those things happen. Sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t. But you can’t control any of them.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
The only thing the players can control is their preparation for and performance against San Diego, he said.
“That’s where you put all your energy,” Reid said.
Apparently, his message has been received.
“Beating San Diego is the main goal right now,” defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said.
Of course, Vickerson also admitted he will be checking the stadium scoreboard for updates on the Cleveland Browns’ game in Baltimore against the Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ game in Houston against the Texans.
“You try not to, but I’m pretty sure they will flash it across the stadium every now and then on the scoreboard,” Vickerson said.
Quarterback Alex Smith said that the Chiefs, 8-7, will have an interest in the other games’ progress, but that won’t be the team’s focus.
“We’re all playing at the same time, so we’re going to be focused on playing,” Smith said. “Certainly if (the scores) come up on (the scoreboard), I’m sure we’ll be looking, but it’s not going to change anything. Regardless of the fact, it’s a division game with the Chargers coming to town. That in and of itself is enough.”
San Diego, 9-6, would clinch a playoff spot with a win.
If the Chiefs fail to qualify for the postseason, narrow losses at San Francisco, Oakland and Arizona might haunt the franchise, but the players and coaches hope it won’t come to that.
“I don’t think you want to play that what-if game,” Vickerson said. “Sometimes, you know you’ve got to do self-scouting and go back and look at the good and that bad, and just take it with a grain of salt and live with it. At the end of the day, we’re still fighting for a chance to get in the playoffs.”
Tight end Anthony Fasano (knee contusion), wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (shoulder sprain) and right guard Zach Fulton (foot strain) did not practice Tuesday, Reid said.
Fulton has started all 15 games this season and is expected to play against the Chargers.
“I think he’ll be able to go when it’s all said and done there,” Reid said.
Reid also remains optimistic that Bowe will be available.
“I just know his makeup,” Reid said. “He hates to miss anything.”
Bowe missed several practices last week because of illness, but he played against Pittsburgh and led the Chiefs with six catches for 57 yards.
“I thought he did a decent job,” Reid said. “Every game, you’re coming to come back with a couple of plays that you wish you had back, but I thought for the most part he did a pretty nice job.”
The Browns on Tuesday signed Charley Hughlett, a long snapper from Central Florida, off the Chiefs’ practice squad.
He spent a week on Cleveland’s practice earlier in the season between stints two stints on the Patriots’ practice squad.
The Chiefs signed Hughlett last Wednesday.
Former Emporia State tight end Adam Schiltz, who was released last week to make room for Hughlett, was re-signed to the Chiefs’ practice squad.