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Chiefs Control Their Playoff Destiny

Despite dropping two consecutive divisional games, Chiefs still control their future

Now that a couple of days have passed and the hangover of a 29-16 Sunday Night Football loss to the division-leading Denver Broncos has at least moved from the forefront of people's minds, the truth is that the Chiefs still control their AFC playoff chances.

That might be hard to swallow based on how the team has played over the past couple of weeks, and they'll certainly need to play better over the final four regular season games if they're to keep that control, but as we sit today, the Chiefs are very much alive in the AFC playoff picture.


With seven teams currently fighting for two wildcard spots, the final four games of the season for the Chiefs consist of two teams in that group: the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers.

There's no doubting that the Chiefs cannot play like they have over the past two weeks and expect to stay in the race, but if they can play more like the team that beat the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks or the 9-3 New England Patriots, they could find themselves back in the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Sure, the defense needs to shore up their run defense, which has surrendered 393 yards on the ground over the last two games, and the offensive line can't give up six sacks like they did against the Broncos on Sunday, but there's still time to remedy these issues.

"We are starting the last quarter of the season," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "We didn't finish the third quarter the way that we wanted to. We've got to go back to it and get that part fixed.

"That's a part of this game; nobody's going to hand you anything in this game. We've got some good character people on this team so you count on that at this time."

While fans continue to cope with the swings of a relevant season of football, which would be demonstrated by the Chiefs' shot at back-to-back winning seasons for just the second time in 17 years (2005-06), the team takes it in stride.

"It's football. You're going to have ups and downs," Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston said of the second consecutive loss. "We'll use it as motivation and continue to work hard, put this behind us and don't let it beat us again."

Photos from the Chiefs Week 13 matchup against the Denver Broncos

When asked how the team responded to starting the season with two losses before winning seven of the next eight, tight end Travis Kelce said it's about staying the course and being accountable to the guy next to you.

"We dug deep, we pulled out of our hearts something special and we kind of have lost that these last two games," Kelce said. "It's one of those things where you've got to keep chugging away and playing your heart out for each other. That is just how you win football games.

"Go ahead and look at film, look at each other and see what we can do. It's a tough situation we're in right now but with our backs against the wall—everybody has got to really come together." The Chiefs will prepare this week for the Arizona Cardinals, who have also dropped two straight games and will host the Chiefs next Sunday.

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