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

The Chiefs face the Broncos in Denver on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

Fireworks are set off at the beginning of the fourth quarter in a general view during a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 11, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Result: Kansas City avoided a disastrous upset by defeating Denver 27-24 on Sunday. The Chiefs are still in contention for the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but it still hinges on the Bills dropping a game.

The Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos in an AFC West matchup that looked a lot better three months ago. The Broncos went all in by acquiring Russell Wilson, but things have not turned out as expected and they are one of the worst teams in the NFL. They come into Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET game as a 12.5-point underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Chiefs playoff picture

While the Broncos and Raiders couldn’t do anything with their big offseason acquisitions, Kansas City is once again the class of the AFC West. The Chargers gave them some trouble for a stretch, but a 2-4 stretch ended their division chances. They’ll be in the playoffs as a wild card, but the 12-3 Chiefs are once again division champs.

The Chiefs are tied with the Bills for the best record in the AFC, but Buffalo has the tiebreaker thanks to a Week 6 win at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City can keep the heat on them, however. The Chiefs close the season with this game and a Week 18 matchup in Las Vegas with the Raiders. The Bills travel to face the Bengals on Monday Night Football this week, and then finish the season at home against the Patriots. If the Chiefs win out, there’s a decent chance they finish with the best record in the conference.

Notably, the Bengals are a game back of Buffalo and Kansas City. If Cincinnati beats the Bills, they’ll have wins over both teams and thus the tiebreaker edge in the event of a tie with either or both teams.

Tiebreaker implications

This would impact conference record and common opponent tiebreakers, but given Kansas City’s position, it will not come into play since the Chiefs lost to both the Bills and the Bengals.