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: Raiders over Broncos
2: Bengals over Dolphins
3: Ravens over Bills
4: Texans over Chargers
There’s a very clear split between the top 4 games and the bottom 4 games, although if the Jaguars keep winning they might become scary enough to really root against. But what’s also interesting is that these games (except the Texans) are meteor games (i.e. we want both to lose). The Bengals seem to have our number so it’d be nice if they don’t make the playoffs, but the undefeated Dolphins need losses more. The Ravens are also a sneaky good team, but the Bills have far more potential to be a problem.
And the Raiders are, well, the Raiders, so it sucks to root for them, but the Broncos are 2-1 and Russell Wilson could conceivably turn it around so it’s better if they lose some more games.
5: Eagles over Jaguars
6: Falcons over Browns
7: Titans over Colts
8: Jets over Steelers
I think the Jaguars and/or Titans make the playoffs, but I’m still not worried about them topping the Chiefs in that standings. On the other hand the Browns could maybe be good when they get Watson, and the Colts seem to have our number, so best for them to lose as well.
Jets and Steelers are just waiting for the 3 game rule to eliminate them from the list.