AFC Playoff Picture: Chiefs lose No. 1 seed in Week 17

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  • Cincinnati Bengals
    Cincinnati Bengals
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  • Kansas City Chiefs
    Kansas City Chiefs
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After holding on to the No. 1 seed for a couple weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs have lost the top spot in the AFC with one week to go.

The Chiefs’ 34-31 loss to the Bengals in Week 17 made K.C. fall to the No. 2 seed, while the Tennessee Titans moved up to the No. 1 spot. Here’s how the standings look:

Standings after Week 17

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Playoff seeds
1. Tennessee Titans (11-5) [AFC South winner]*
2. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) [AFC West winner]*
3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) [AFC North winner]*
4. Buffalo Bills (10-6) [AFC East leader]*
5. New England Patriots (10-6)*
6. Indianapolis Colts (9-7)
7. Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)

*clinched playoff berth

In the hunt
8. Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
9. Baltimore Ravens (8-8)
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7-1)

Eliminated
Miami Dolphins (8-8)
Cleveland Browns (7-8)
Denver Broncos (7-9)
New York Jets (4-12)
Houston Texans (4-12)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)

The Titans hold a tiebreaker over the Chiefs thanks to their Week 7 win against them. That’s why the Chiefs dropped to the No. 2 seed after their loss to the Bengals.

The good news is the Chiefs have already won the AFC West, so the lowest seed they can get is No. 4. If the Chiefs end up playing in the wild-card round, it will be a home game for Kansas City. There’s also a good chance that game could be played against a division rival since the winner of the Chargers-Raiders Week 18 matchup will make it to the playoffs as a wild-card team.

Can the Chiefs still get the No. 1 seed?

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The odds are against Kansas City, but yes, the Chiefs could still get the No. 1 seed in Week 18. Here’s how:

  • The Chiefs need to defeat the Broncos.

  • The Titans need to lose to the Texans.

Both the Broncos and Texans are eliminated from playoff contention, so those teams have nothing to play for except pride. It’s likely that both of those teams would love to play spoiler against their division rivals, so both will probably still be playing for the win.

It’s also worth noting that the Chiefs and Broncos play at 3:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Jan. 8 while the Titans and Texans play at noon CT on Sunday, Jan. 9. That means the Chiefs will have to play their game at full strength with hopes that the Titans will lose the next day.

Looking across the pond at the NFC

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Playoff seeds
1. Green Bay Packers (13-3) [NFC North winner]**
2. Los Angeles Rams (12-4) [NFC West leader]*
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4) [NFC South winner]*
4. Dallas Cowboys (11-5) [NFC East winner]*
5. Arizona Cardinals (11-5)*
6. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)*
7. San Francisco 49ers (9-7)

**clinched No. 1 seed
*clinched playoff berth

In the hunt
8. New Orleans Saints (8-8)

Eliminated
Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
Atlanta Falcons (7-9)
Washington Football Team (6-10)
Chicago Bears (6-10)
Seattle Seahawks (6-10)
Carolina Panthers (5-11)
New York Giants (4-12)
Detroit Lions (2-13-1)

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