The NFL has returned, and not only will we be rooting for the Chiefs, but we will be rooting against those teams that stand in between us and another Super Bowl championship. This is the weekly piece where I rank exactly which teams we should be rooting against that maximize the Chiefs’ odds of reaching the final game of the season.
But first the rules.
- The rankings and interests are based solely on which outcomes benefit the Chiefs the most. So while some may root for the Bills to beat the Raiders because we hate the Raiders, from the Chiefs perspective it’s best for the Raiders to win and make it easier for the Chiefs to get the top seed.
- NFC vs. NFC matchups won’t be ranked. The only way they impact the Chiefs is if we get down to the 4th tiebreaker for playoff seeding (meaning head-to-head, win-loss record in conference games, and win-loss record in common games are all tied) in which case they factor into strength of victory and strength of schedule. Not only is this unlikely to be relevant, but even if it is, we already know to root for NFC West teams (since that’s who we play this year).
- The Chiefs game won’t be ranked because, duh, we root for the Chiefs to win, and it will always be our most important game.
- I will continue to include AFC teams that are within 3 games of the Chiefs. If a team is more than 3 games back, we’ll assume they’re no longer a threat.
1: Jaguars over Chargers
2: Dolphins over Bills
Right now the Chargers and Bills are clearly the biggest threats to the Chiefs. The Bills are better, and we do have a win over the Chargers, but I’m still keeping the Chargers ahead because I’d like to wrap up the division before worrying about seeding.
Also, a Dolphins win is a bit frightening as well. They’re actually technically the top seed right now as they’re 2-0 with two conference wins. They aren’t as scary as the Bills obviously, but they do have potential.
3: 49ers over Broncos
4: Patriots over Ravens
Yes I know the Broncos have looked terrible, but they would immediately look a lot less terrible if they managed to knock off the 49ers. The Ravens are also still a quality team that’s likely to win their division, so they’ll be competing with us for seeding.
5: Titans over Raiders
There’s a realistic chance the Raiders will be eliminated from this ranking altogether after next week with the 3 game rule, but for now they’ve been close in those 2 losses, and those losses were against quality teams, so they’re not completely out of it yet.
6: Jets over Bengals
The Bengals are 0-2 and have looked terrible, but they’ve had the Chiefs’ number so I’m still worried about them. I’m hoping they miss the playoffs.
7: Steelers over Browns
8: Bears over Texans
None of these teams should be much of a concern. The Browns maybe if Watson plays well when he returns from suspension, but I expect them to be well behind the Chiefs in the standings by that point.