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 North 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: Titans over Bengals
2: Browns over Ravens
3: Raiders over Chargers
4: Bills over Dolphins
This may be the muddiest Rooting Rankings ever. The only teams that look particularly threatening are the Bills and Dolphins, and they play each other so it’s hard to know who to pick there (I went with the Bills since the Dolphins look like they have the higher ceiling).
Otherwise I think I have to go with the Bengals, since they are still historically our biggest kryptonite even if they’re struggling right now. Then maybe the Ravens, but that means the Browns winning and that could potentially be a sign that they’re actually good.
Then there’s the Chargers, where a loss to the Raiders would put them 3 games back (assuming the Chiefs beat the lowly Jets) and all but out of the division race (the Raiders aren’t a threat no matter what happens).
5: Falcons over Jaguars
6: Cowboys over Patriots
7: Broncos over Bears
8: Texans over Steelers
Now to the group that are not a threat to us, and will likely be falling off the list from the 3 game rule over the next couple weeks.
The only one of any real note is that I decided that we should be rooting for the Broncos. As funny as a loss to the Bears would be, that could give them Caleb Williams and that could potentially be very bad. But it’s still salt in the wound that Chiefs fans are now rooting for them so they don’t get draft picks in week 4.