Red Zone

Chiefs looking solid for wild card, not division

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley reached the end zone during a 23-13 win over the Steelers on Oct. 25. The Chiefs have an edge on the Steelers in the playoff race thanks to that victory.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley reached the end zone during a 23-13 win over the Steelers on Oct. 25. The Chiefs have an edge on the Steelers in the playoff race thanks to that victory. jledford@kcstar.com

The playoff scenario for the Chiefs is simple: Keep winning, and the postseason is no problem.

But winning the AFC West may be out of reach.

The dream of catching the Broncos and winning the division has been slipping away for a couple of weeks with Denver winning three straight after falling to the Chiefs.

The Chiefs take a 7-5 record into Sunday’s home game against the Chargers, three games behind the Broncos, who entertain the Raiders this weekend.

The Broncos would have to lose three of their final four for the Chiefs to have a chance.

The AFC playoff picture is developing on three fronts.

At the top of the conference, three division leaders stand 10-2 with a tie-breaker order of Cincinnati, Denver and New England.

Kansas City Star Chiefs beat reporter Terez Paylor recaps Wednesday's updates from the team's practice facility. VIDEO BY DAVID EULITT, deulitt@kcstar.com

The top seed gets homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, and the third seed plays on the opening weekend against the sixth seed.

In the wild-card race, one spot is firmly in the Chiefs’ sights. If the season ended today, they’d be the No. 5 seed, or the first wild-card team, and would travel to the No. 4 seed team, another division winner.

The Chiefs, Jets and Steelers each own 7-5 records. A better AFC record gives the Chiefs (6-2) the edge over the Jets (5-4), and the Chiefs’ victory over the Steelers breaks that tie.

The Chiefs have the same head-to-head edge over the two teams — the Bills and Texans — that stand 6-6.

The third playoff battle is for the AFC South between the Colts and Texans. They’re coming off losses, own the same record with the Colts having won in Houston earlier this season, giving them the edge today.

The AFC South teams meet Dec. 20 in Indianapolis. The winner of the division is probably going to be the bracket’s No. 4 seed.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith spoke Wednesday about the team's offensive play-calling and whether he knows if the play will work before the snap of the ball. VIDEO BY DAVID EULITT, deulitt@kcstar.com

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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