[Kansas City.com] The Chiefs remain mathematically alive for a playoff spot despite Sunday’s 20-10 loss to Baltimore at Arrowhead Stadium.
But there’s no realistic equation that gets them to the postseason if they don’t win their final three games, beginning with Sunday’s meeting with the Chargers in San Diego.
Even at 10-6, the Chiefs would need plenty of help getting in. That realization was sinking in as the Chiefs’ two-game losing streak dropped them to 7-6.
“It’s hard,” running back Larry Johnson said. “Now we realize we’re at the bottom of the pile trying to fight our way up.”
The Chiefs were eliminated from the race for the AFC West championship Sunday. San Diego clinched with its win over Denver, coupled with the Chiefs’ loss.
If the season ended today, the 8-5 Jaguars and the 8-5 Bengals would be the AFC’s two wild-card teams. The Chiefs are one of three still-hopeful 7-6 teams. The Broncos and the Jets are the others.
The Chiefs can catch the Jaguars by beating Jacksonville in the final regular-season game Dec. 31 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs would have the tie breaker against the Broncos if they win their remaining three games.
The Jets and, in particular, the Bengals are bigger obstacles. The Jets, at 10-6, would have the tie breaker against the Chiefs because of a better record against AFC opponents.
New York, after losing at home Sunday to Buffalo, has road games against the Vikings and Dolphins the next two weeks and then finishes at home against Oakland.
The Bengals would need to lose at least twice in their final three games for the Chiefs to catch them. Cincinnati beat the Chiefs 23-10 in the season opener at Arrowhead Stadium, so at 10-6 the Bengals would also win the tie breaker.
The Bengals are at Indianapolis and at Denver in the next two weeks before finishing their season at home against the Steelers.