clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Playoff Picture: Dramatic results in AFC playoff race may have huge benefit for Seahawks

New, comments
NFL: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago when the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Los Angeles Rams, there was some disappointment among Seattle Seahawks fans, as many were rooting for the Chiefs to have the #1 seed locked up by the time Patrick Mahomes and company rolled into town for their Week 16 game at Seattle.

Thanks to some amazing results in Week 14, the Chiefs having the #1 seed locked up before the Seahawks game is now a very realistic possibility again.

The Indianapolis Colts upset the Houston Texans to snap Houston’s nine-game winning streak. That game was a totally normal 24-21 outcome with very little drama.

At the top of the AFC seeding, the Kansas City Chiefs rallied from 24-17 down to beat the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime, improving their record to 11-2. Mahomes threw a game-tying TD with under a minute to go on 4th and 5, and Harrison Butker redeemed himself by kicking the eventual OT winner after missing at the end of regulation.

The craziest finish of the entire NFL season has to go to the Miami Dolphins’ miraculous 34-33 win over the New England Patriots. When the Dolphins got the ball back on offense with a few seconds to go, they were down 33-28 and needed something special to pull off an unlikely win. Well...

So this leaves the Chiefs two games clear of both the Patriots and Texans with three weeks to go. What does this mean for the Seahawks?

If the Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football, they will clinch the AFC West. Should the Patriots then finally lose a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, then the Chiefs have the #1 seed secured before the Seahawks game, therefore having nothing to play for. Houston cannot win a tiebreaker with Kansas City at 12-4, as the Chiefs would have a better conference record.

I’m not saying the Seahawks can’t beat the Chiefs at full strength, but if they’re playing backups then I certainly won’t complain. Andy Reid historically will rest his starters once his team has clinched its seeding. In 2004, Donovan McNabb played only one series in Week 16 and sat Week 17. Last year’s Chiefs team started Patrick Mahomes in place of Alex Smith in Week 17 after they had the #4 seed secured. The 2013 Chiefs squad started Chase Daniel when they were locked into the #5 seed. I see no reason why he’d break tradition outside of trying to get Mahomes some more stats to potentially break NFL records and cement his case as league MVP.

Of course, it’s possible that the Seahawks also enter that week 9-5 and having clinched the #5 seed, meaning neither team would have anything serious on the line in front of a nationally televised audience. Either way, this is a longwinded way of saying the Seahawks are in tremendous position to make the playoffs barring some horrific freakout. Even if they lose on Monday to the Vikings and to the Chiefs, they’re essentially assured a playoff spot.

It’s certainly a different story than how results beyond Seattle’s control played out last season, isn’t it?