AFC playoff picture after Week 16: Raiders eliminated, Chiefs clinch No. 1 seed

Levi Damien
·3 min read

Let me take you back. To October 11 of the year 2020. That was the day the Raiders went into Arrowhead and beat the mighty Chiefs. It was the first time in eight years the Raiders had won at Kansas City, which means it was also the first time in Derek Carr’s career.

After that game, just one game separated the Raiders (3-2) and Chiefs (4-1).

Four weeks later, the two teams would face each other again. In between, the Chiefs went 4-0 and the Raiders went 3-1, so there were just two games separating them. This means the Raiders could bring it back to a one-game difference with a win.

They nearly did it too, taking a 31-28 lead with just under two minutes remaining. The Chiefs would do what the Chiefs do and drive for a game-winning touchdown.

Even at 6-4, the Raiders were in control of their own playoff destiny. Then that all came crashing down. They went on to lose five of their next six games and with their loss to the Dolphins on Saturday night they were officially eliminated from the playoffs.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, just kept rolling. With their win over the Falcons on Sunday, they improved to 14-1 on the season and clinched the number one seed heading into the season’s final game. Which means they are the only team that can comfortably rest all their starters in the finale.

This year the No. 1 seed is the only one that has a first-round bye. So, their starters get a couple of weeks of rest before they have to take the field to try and defend their Super Bowl title.

The Raiders will face the Broncos in Denver in a game that means only pride for either team.

Here’s what the AFC playoff picture looks like:

Seed

Team

Division

Record

Div Seed

Conf record

1

*zyx-Kansas City

West

14-1-0

1

10-1-0

2

yx-Buffalo

East

12-3-0

1

9-2-0

3

yx-Pittsburgh

North

12-3-0

1

9-2-0

4

Tennessee

South

10-5-0

1

7-4-0

5

Miami

East

10-5-0

2

7-4-0

6

Baltimore

North

10-5-0

2

6-5-0

7

Cleveland

North

10-5-0

3

6-5-0

In the hunt:

Seed

Team

Division

Record

Div Seed

Conf record

8

Indianapolis

South

10-5-0

2

6-5-0

As you can see, only three teams have clinched a playoff spot as of now. All of the others could conceivably find themselves out of the playoffs should they lose and the other teams with identical records win. The only team that isn’t a ‘win and you’re in’ situation is the Colts, who need to win and have one of the teams ahead of them to lose for them to get in.

The Steelers and Bills will want to win their games because they’re battling for the number two seed. As it happens, both teams are playing teams also battling for playoff spots. The Bills face the Dolphins and the Steelers face the Browns.