Kansas City's Thursday night win over the Raiders reshuffles the AFC playoff picture. The Chiefs are now in first place in the AFC West at 10-3. It's the same record as the Raiders, but having swept Oakland this season, Kansas City has the tiebreaker. (Speaking of playoff tiebreakers, you should bookmark this page explaining how all that works).
That gives the Chiefs the second seed in the AFC, for now, behind the Patriots. The question now is which team will end up with the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
First, here's what the playoff order looks like, for now, in the AFC.
1. Patriots (AFC East)
2. Chiefs (AFC West)
3. Ravens (AFC North)
4. Texans (AFC South)
5. Raiders (Wild Card)
6. Broncos (Wild Card)
Right now, the Chiefs and Patriots each have 10 wins, 10-3 and 10-2, respectively. New England has yet to play its 13th game (that happens Monday night when they host the Ravens). The Patriots have a conference record of 7-1 versus 7-2 for the Chiefs, which gives New England a leg up in the first tiebreaker scenario.
The question now is how they'll finish the season. New England plays the Ravens at home and then the Broncos on the road, before easier games against division rivals the Jets and Dolphins.
The Chiefs have the Titans and Broncos at home over the next two weeks, and finish the season in San Diego.
If both teams win the rest of their games or finish the season with an identical record, the Patriots still have an edge because of their record against common opponents. The Chiefs and Patriots have both played the Broncos, Jets, Steelers, and Texans. So far, the Patriots are 3-0 against those teams and the Chiefs are 2-2, with losses to the Steelers and Texans. That puts the Patriots in a better position for the top seed as they finish out the season. Still, Kansas City would get a bye and at least one playoff game at home, thus giving them a good shot to go to the conference championship game.
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