Chiefs Playoff Picture: Week 13

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Arrowhead Guys tells you who to root for this week!


Chiefs: 8-3

Broncos: 6-5

Raiders: 5-7

Chargers: 4-7

The division race is getting closer and closer to the end. The Raiders and Chargers are hanging on by the thinnest of threads. With 7 losses, they both have to win their remaining game against the Chiefs if they want any hope of winning the division. If we win that game, that gives them 8 losses and we have the tiebreaker. With 3 losses and only 5 other games left, we would at worst have 8 losses as well, and with the tiebreaker we’d still finish over them.

But if they won their matchup against us they’d still have to make up 3 losses in those other 5 games (4 for the Raiders). With the Bills being the only team left on the Chiefs schedule that doesn’t have a losing record, that’s an extremely tough ask even if they otherwise went undefeated.

Strangely it’s Denver who has somehow become the biggest threat, despite being the worst team in the division (of course it’s just because they’ve had a ridiculous run of luck but whatever). Now there’s the long version, and the short version.

Long Version

The ironic part is that they also need the Chiefs to lose to the Raiders or Chargers to have a realistic shot, otherwise we would have the tiebreaker due to division record (they lost to the Raiders). If we win those 2 games (or otherwise have the same record as Denver in the division moving forward) they would also need to make up 3 losses but in 4 other games. That isn’t going to happen.

If the Chiefs lost both remaining divisional games, and Denver finished 3-0 in the division (this won’t happen but let’s pretend), then they would have the tiebreaker and would be equal to us in losses. They would just have to lose fewer games in their 3 other games (Texans, Lions, Patriots) than we would in our remaining 4 (Packers, Bills, Patriots, Bengals). Even in this ridiculous best case scenario for Denver, I still think the Chiefs would be favored to win the division.

But the most likely path the Broncos would have is for the Chiefs to lose a game against the Raiders or Chargers, while going undefeated themselves in those 3 games, going to common games. Outside of the AFCW (which is by definition a tie), the common games are the 8 NFC North and AFC East matchups we have. They are currently 4-2 in those game, with the Lions and Patriots remaining. We are 3-1, with the Packers, Bills, and Patriots. So like in the division, they need us to lose 1 more game than them in those games to get to the next tiebreaker, or 2 more to win the tiebreaker. But with the 2 more they are already requiring 3 more losses by us so tiebreakers don’t matter.

But the tiebreaker after that is conference games, and they already have 4 losses there to our 1. So they’d have to make up 3 losses, which would put them ahead of us anyway. So they must win the division tiebreaker if they don’t want to have to make up 3 losses.

Short Version

Got all that? Or did you just skip to the short version?

Without the tiebreaker they have to make up 3 losses in 6 games to have a better record than us. There is only one tiebreaker they can get without having the scenario require 3 fewer losses than us anyway, which is for us to lose to both to the Raiders and to the Chargers, while they win their 3 remaining games against them. In that scenario they would make up the 2 losses in those games and have the tiebreaker, so they’d just have to have the same number of losses as us in the other games (3 for them, 4 for us) to win the division.


  1. Ravens (8-3)
  2. Chiefs (7-3)
  3. Jaguars (7-3)
  4. Dolphins (7-3)
  5. Steelers (7-4)
  6. Browns (7-4)
  7. Colts (6-5)
  8. Texans (6-5)
  9. Broncos (6-5)

Tiebreakers: Since we’ll be talking the same tiebreakers for all of these teams, I’ll just list them at the top. They are:

  1. Head-to-Head
  2. Conference Record
  3. Common Games
  4. Strength of Victory

Plus some others, but it’s very unlikely to get past that point.

Don’t read too much into the Ravens being at the top. They’re on a bye this week, so if we beat the Packers we’ll overtake them.

That being said, the conference standings are much simpler than the division standings. We will always have the tiebreaker over the Jaguars and Dolphins because of head-to-head. We are almost certainly going to have the tiebreaker over Baltimore if it comes down to it because they’d have to lose 2 NFC games moving forward to even have a chance at it, and if they lose 2 games they probably aren’t contending for the top seed.

So the path toe the top seed is simple. We have to lose the same number of games or fewer moving forward as the Ravens, Jaguars, and Dolphins, and the top seed is ours.

13@ PackersBYEvs Bengals@ Commanders
14vs Billsvs Rams@ Brownsvs Titans
15@ Patriots@ Jaguarsvs Ravensvs Jets
16vs Raiders@ 49ers@ Buccaneersvs Cowboys
17vs Bengalsvs Dolphinsvs Panthers@ Ravens
18@ Chargersvs Steelers@ Titansvs Bills

The good news is that our remaining schedule is super easy. We’re going to be big favorites over every team except the Bills in 2 weeks. So if we are sitting at the top of the AFC after that Bills game, I would be very confident that we’ll get the top seed.

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12/01/2023 5:30 pm

Win Chiefs Win

12/01/2023 1:25 pm

I should have just jumped to the short version. now I have a headache!

12/01/2023 12:48 pm

Gotta really like the playoff field right now. Even if we end up as the 2 seed we will be playing an unworthy 7th seed opponent with a shitty qb.

Reply to  DenverDonkeyHater
12/01/2023 5:12 pm

I like our chances.

12/01/2023 12:38 pm

for KC it’s “win and you’re in” only better: if KC end up at 14-3 then KC has HFA for playoffs, regardless of of what other teams do … the Dolphins can end up at 14-3 but KC would have better AFC record (conference) and thus be #1 Seed

Reply to  upamtn
12/01/2023 3:48 pm

More important, we hold the Head-to-Head tie break.

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