For Pete's Sake

A quick breakdown of the AFC West race

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith entered the field with his teammates before Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith entered the field with his teammates before Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. deulitt@kcstar.com

Imagine if the Chiefs had been told at training camp that they would be in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West with four games to play.

There probably would have been a little disappointment to know two other teams were in the running, but they’d have taken it. Right?

Funny how there is a lot of disappointment among fans to see the Chiefs in this position heading into the final four games of the season.

But, after a 5-0 start to the season, this is where the Chiefs are — a 6-6 record and tied with the Chargers and Raiders.

It may be a bit early for this, but if you were wondering, here are the first four tie breakers for determining a division champion from the NFL:

1. Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the clubs).

2. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.

3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.

4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

Those four steps also are used if there is a three-way tie, but if two teams remain tied after a third team is eliminated during the process, the tie breaker reverts to step one of the two-club format.

But what are the chances of a three-way tie atop the AFC West by season’s end, right?

Heading into the final four games of the season, here is a quick breakdown of the race to win the West:

Chiefs

Remaining schedule: vs. Raiders (Sunday); Vs. Chargers (Dec. 16); vs. Dolphins (Dec. 24); at Broncos (Dec. 31)

Division record: 2-1

AFC record: 4-4

2017 meetings with other two teams: 1-1 (beat Chargers 24-10, lost to Raiders 31-30)

Record in common games: 4-4

Record in last five games: 1-4

Chance to win division, per 538.com: 59 percent

Reason to hope: Consecutive home games against Raiders, Chargers give Chiefs chance to seize control of the race

Reason to mope: The Chiefs’ have looked dreadful in their three games

Raiders

Remaining schedule: at Chiefs (Sunday); vs. Cowboys (Dec. 17); at Eagles (Dec. 25); at Chargers (Dec. 31)

Division record: 2-2

AFC record: 5-5

2017 meetings with other two teams: 1-1 (lost to Chargers 17-16, beat Chiefs 31-30)

Record in common games: 4-4

Record in last five games: 3-2

Chance to win division, per 538.com: 15 percent

Reason to hope: Marshawn Lynch and the defense are playing much better of late

Reason to mope: Three of their final four games are on the road, including a trip to Philly on Christmas night

Chargers

Remaining schedule: vs. Washington (Sunday); at Chiefs (Dec. 16); at Jets (Dec. 24); vs. Raiders (Dec. 31)

Division record: 2-2

AFC record: 4-5

2017 meetings with other two teams: 1-1 (lost to Chiefs 24-10, beat Raiders 17-16)

Record in common games: 4-4

Record in last five games: 3-2

Chance to win division, per 538.com: 26 percent

Reason to hope: After the 0-4 start, who would have guessed they would have a chance to win the division?

Reason to mope: That AFC record is the worst of the three contenders

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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