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Here’s how the Chiefs can win the AFC West regardless of how Denver fares Monday night

Chiefs wide receivers Albert Wilson (left) and Jeremy Maclin could have more to celebrate after Sunday’s games.
Chiefs wide receivers Albert Wilson (left) and Jeremy Maclin could have more to celebrate after Sunday’s games. skeyser@kcstar.com

The Chiefs are officially in the NFL playoffs, but they still have more to play for.

Regardless of Monday night’s result — the Denver Broncos beat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-17 in overtime — the AFC West champion won’t be decided until after Week 17’s games conclude Sunday.

Both the Chiefs and Broncos kick off at 3:25 p.m. Sunday: KC is host to the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead (on Fox, Channel 4 in Kansas City) and Denver plays the San Diego Chargers at home (on CBS, likely Channel 5 in Kansas City).

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Here’s how the Chiefs can win the AFC West and enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed (meaning a home playoff game on Jan. 9 or 10).

The Chiefs are in the playoffs but will have to wait until after Sunday's games to find out who and where they will be playing in the playoffs, which start the weekend of Jan. 9. Here's a primer that explains the various scenarios.

The Broncos are 11-4 and the 10-5 Chiefs would need to finish with the same record (or better) to win the division. How can that happen? The Chiefs would need to win to have a chance. In this scenario, a Chiefs loss or tie to Oakland clinches the AFC West for Denver. As does a Denver win or tie.

A Chiefs win and Broncos loss would make both teams 11-5. They split their head-to-head games, but the Chiefs win the division on the next tiebreaker (5-1 division record vs. 3-3 for Broncos). So the Chiefs would be AFC West champs.

Chiefs' wild-card scenarios

1. A Chiefs win and Broncos tie would make the Chiefs 11-5 and Denver would be 11-4-1 and have a better winning percentage. In that scenario, the Broncos would be the West champions. The Chiefs would be the No. 5 seed and play at the AFC South winner (either Houston or Indianapolis).

2. The Chiefs will be the fifth seed if they finish behind the Broncos and are tied with either the Jets or Steelers. That would mean a game at Houston or Indianapolis.

3. Kansas City will be the sixth seed if it loses and the Jets defeat the Bills. In that case, the Chiefs would play at the No. 3 seed, which would be either Cincinnati or Denver.

The Kansas City Star's Sam Melllinger, Blair Kerkhoff, Terez A. Paylor and Vahe Gregorian dissect the Chiefs' 17-13 win over the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 27, 2015.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke on Monday about the team's playoff seeding as the Chiefs enter the final week of the 2015 NFL regular season. VIDEO BY DAVID EULITT deulitt@kcstar.com

Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is happy his team clinched a playoff spot, but they could have played better in 17-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

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