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NFL playoff picture: What does Chiefs-Chargers mean for AFC standings

The Chiefs face the Chargers in LA on Thursday Night Football. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers passes during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers host the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football to open Week 15, and whooo boy it’s a big one. The AFC West won’t be clinched in this game, but we’ll get a better handle on the race. Either the Chiefs take a potentially insurmountable lead or the Chargers tie this up and take it down to the wire.

The game kicks off at 8:20 p.m. ET on FOX and the Chiefs are a 3.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

AFC West playoff picture

The Chiefs are 9-4 and in the midst of a six-game win streak. The Chargers are 8-5 and have won two in a row. LA beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, which means a win on Thursday gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker.

And we can’t forget the Broncos. They’ve won two of three including a win over the Chargers and sit a game back of LA. They have a game each with Kansas City and LA remaining, so we can’t count them out yet.

Overall AFC playoff picture

The Chiefs are tied with the Patriots and Titans atop the AFC standings, but are third in the tiebreaker scenarios. For now though they remain a game up on the fourth place Ravens.

The Chargers hold the top wild card spot in what is turning into a messy playoff picture. Five different teams are 7-6, the Steelers are 6-6-1, and the Raiders and Dolphins are 6-7. With three weeks remaining, there is so much room for maneuvering.

Week 15 schedule

Raiders (6-7) @ Browns (7-6)
Patriots (9-4) @ Colts (7-6)
Panthers (5-8) @ Bills (7-6)
Jets (3-10) @ Dolphins (6-7)
Titans (9-4) @ Steelers (6-6-1)
Bengals (7-6) @ Broncos (7-6)
Packers (10-3) @ Ravens (8-5)