Chiefs' playoff scenarios as of Week 15

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(WIBW) -- Playoff scenarios tend to get a bit messy and technical.

This is especially true after the Kansas City Chiefs' 29-28 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

As of Week 15, the Chiefs are still the No. 1 team in the AFC, but share the same record as the Chargers at 11-3.

With two games left in the NFL regular season, the Chiefs have multiple possible playoff scenarios to determine the winner of the AFC West and of the AFC as a whole.


Dec. 23 at Seattle Seahawks (7:20 p.m.) (NBC)

Dec. 30 vs. Oakland Raiders (12 p.m.) (CBS)


If the Chiefs win both of their remaining two regular season games, they will maintain the No. 1 overall spot in the AFC, clinching a first-round bye and home field advantage.


Kansas City first needs to win the AFC West, which means this result hinges first on the result of Los Angeles' final two games.

If the Chiefs lose one of their remaining two regular season games, the Chargers must also. This means if Los Angeles records a better two-game record than Kansas City, the Chiefs will move down to the first wild card spot. However, if the two teams record identical two-game records, Kansas City holds the tiebreaker due to points.

In one weird twist of fate, though, things could finalize after just one week.

After the Steelers' win over the Patriots, if the Chargers lose to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday and the Chiefs beat Seattle on Sunday, Kansas City will win the AFC West.


If the Chiefs lose one of their remaining two regular season games, the division and the AFC's top overall spot come into question.

This result also hinges on the result of Los Angeles' final two games. Two losses, though, could also push Kansas City down in the overall AFC playoff picture.

After New England's loss to Pittsburgh, the Patriots sit at 9-5 and in third place as of week 15. Houston sits in second with a 10-4 record.

Should Kansas City finish with an 11-5 record, the possibility exists that Houston surpasses them. The possibility of New England also finishing with an 11-5 record also exists, and the Patriots hold the head-to-head tiebreaker after a 43-40 win over the Chiefs.


The possibility for a tie with Houston exists (a) if the Texans win out their remaining regular season games and the Chiefs drop one of their two remaining games, or (b) if the Texans win one of their remaining regular season games and the Chiefs lose their two remaining games.

Should this occur, a whole lot of mess will also.

In this instance, the NFL refers to it's wild-card tie-breaking procedures.

The first move would be to examine the two teams' head-to-head records, but Kansas City and Houston did not play this year in the regular season.

The second move would be to examine their records within the AFC. As of right now, the Chiefs hold an advantage with a 9-2 record in the AFC, while the Texans sit at 8-3.

Both teams each have yet to play a NFC team (Kansas City plays Seattle; Houston plays Philadelphia) and an AFC team (Kansas City plays Oakland; Houston plays Jacksonville). A tie could occur if the Chiefs were to lose to the Raiders and the Texans were to beat the Jaguars.

If that happens, the league then moves to its third tiebreaker: best record in common games, with a minimum of four.

Both teams lost to New England and beat Jacksonville, Denver and Cleveland. The Chiefs common-opponent record comes out to 4-1. Houston's comes out to 3-1, but the Texans also have a remaining game against the Jaguars that could even that out.

If Houston beats Jacksonville in week 17, the tiebreaker will move to strength of victory, which translates to a point-by-point breakdown of each team's wins and losses.

Should it progress any further, here are the remaining tiebreakers:

- Strength of schedule
- Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
- Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
- Base net points in conference games.
- Best net points in all games.
- Best net touchdowns in all games.
- Coin toss.


Even with only two games remaining, the possibilities in the AFC playoff picture are many.

As of right now, FiveThirtyEight projects Kansas City to have a 76 percent chance of winning the division and clinching a first-round bye.

A win against Seattle bumps that chance to 96 percent, but a loss or a tie drops it to about 52 percent.

In a major extrapolation, Kansas City also holds an 18 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl--second only to New Orleans who holds a 28 percent chance.