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NFL Playoff Scenarios: Kansas City Chiefs Change Their Fortunes

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Now we've finally got some clarity to the NFL playoff picture. A few spots have already been clinched and most of the spots should be secured before the final week.

And down the stretch we come. With just two weeks left in the NFL season, the playoff scenarios are becoming clearer. Some teams have locked down their spots while others have little work to do to get themselves a ticket to the dance.

Unfortunately for those of you holding out that sliver of hope that the Cardinals would make the playoffs, that dream died Sunday in fitting fashion -- with a loss to the worst team in the NFL. What's more pathetic than that is that the Niners are still alive at 5-9. Sick.

Here's the breakdown as it currently stands:


Current Division Leaders:

Atlanta Falcons (12-2) - New Orleans losing to Baltimore ensures that all Atlanta has to do is win one of its final two games to clinch home field advantage. If you can't beat Carolina at home, you don't deserve home field.

Remaining games: v. New Orleans, v. Carolina

Prediction: 13-3, NFC South winner, home field advantage throughout NFC playoffs.

Chicago Bears (10-4) - The North is clinched following a Monday Night domination of the Vikings. Now, the only question is whether the Bears can play their way into a bye. I still don't buy this team all the way, so I'll say no. Playing the Seahawks in the first round is a decent consolation prize.

Remaining games: v. New York Jets, @Green Bay

Prediction: 10-6, NFC North winner

Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) - Home games against the Joe Webb-led Vikings and deceased Cowboys are all that stands between this team and a bye. Consider it done.

Remaining games: v. Minnesota, v. Dallas

Prediction: 12-4, NFC East winner, first round bye

St. Louis Rams (6-8) - Probably going to need to win their next two to claim the NFC West.

Remaining games: v. San Francisco, @Seattle

Prediction: 7-9, out of playoffs (lose in-division tiebreaker to Seahawks)

Current Wild Cards:

New Orleans Saints (10-4) - The easy way to get into the playoffs is to win one of their final two games. They won't need any other scenario.

Remaining games: @Atlanta, v. Tampa Bay

Prediction: 11-5, wild card

New York Giants (9-5) - All-time great gut-punch loss to the Eagles and now they have to get themselves off the mat and travel to Green Bay in a loss that could be devastating to their playoff hopes.

Remaining games: @Green Bay, @Washington

Prediction: 10-6, out of playoffs (lose head-to-head tiebreaker with Packers)

In the hunt:

Green Bay Packers (8-6) - I guess I'm in the business of predictions here, so I'll say this: Aaron Rodgers is going to return this week (still unknown as of the printing of this column) and the Packers are going to grab the vital tiebreaker game against New York that will help vault them into the playoffs.

Remaining games: v. New York Giants, v. Chicago

Prediction: 10-6, wild card (win head-to-head tiebreaker with Giants)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6) - Losing to the Lions at home is almost crippling to the Bucs' already thin playoff hopes.

Remaining games: v. Seattle, @New Orleans

Prediction: 9-7, out of playoffs

Seattle Seahawks (6-8) - Probably going to get rocked by the Bucs this week, but should be able to muster enough at home against the Rams to limp into the playoffs. That's what it's all about.

Remaining games: @Tampa Bay, v. St. Louis

Prediction: 7-9, NFC West winner (win on in-division tiebreaker over Rams)

San Francisco 49ers (5-9) - Win out and have a chance. Lose once and the party is over. I think the Rams get their revenge this week.

Remaining games: v. St. Louis, v. Arizona

Prediction: 6-10, out of playoffs

Not even math gives them a chance:

  • Arizona Cardinals (4-10) - The remote playoff hopes are finally dead and we can officially concentrate on the offseason.
  • Washington Redskins (5-9) - Benched for the Sex Cannon -- that's the guy you signed to a large extension, Skins fans.
  • Minnesota Vikings (5-9) - Apparently Joe Webb won't be the answer.
  • Dallas Cowboys (5-9) - Jon Kitna has been surprisingly solid for the 'Boys.
  • Detroit Lions (4-10) - At least they show some fight.
  • Carolina Panthers (2-12) - Beating the Cardinals is easy, but these guys still suck.


Current Division Leaders:

New England Patriots (12-2) - The AFC is going through Foxboro. It's that simple.

Remaining games: @Buffalo, v. Miami

Prediction: 14-2, AFC East winner, home field advantage throughout AFC playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4) - Surprising loss to the Jets doesn't really harm them much since Carolina/Cleveland are on the schedule and they have the division record tiebreaker over the Ravens.

Remaining games: v. Carolina, @Browns

Prediction: 12-4, AFC North winner, first round bye

Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) - Big, big win for the Chiefs in a road game against St. Louis. If they manage to win out with two winnable games at home then there is nothing the Chargers can do to stop KC from winning the division.

Remaining games: v. Tennessee, v. Oakland

Prediction: 11-5, AFC West winner

Indianapolis Colts (8-6) - As it stands currently, the Colts have the tiebreaker over Jacksonville based on common games. Wins over the Raiders and the Titans will keep it that way no matter what the Jags do.

Remaining games: @Oakland, v. Tennessee

Prediction: 10-6, AFC South winner

Current Wild Cards:

New York Jets (10-4) - Excellent win over Pittsburgh probably gets them the confidence they'll need to win out and then be a real threat in the playoffs.

Remaining games: @Chicago, v. Buffalo

Prediction: 12-4, wild card

Baltimore Ravens (10-4) - Like the Jets, they'll probably win out after an impressive win. They might want to reconsider, though since by virtue of the tiebreaker with New York, they'd have the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs and a date with the Colts, as opposed to the sixth seed and a potential matchup with the Chiefs.

Remaining games: @Cleveland, v. Cincinnati

Prediction: 12-4, wild card

In the hunt:

San Diego Chargers (8-6) - Need to win out and get either the Titans or Raiders to knock off the Chiefs. It's their fault this is out of their hands.

Remaining games: @Cincinnati, @Denver

Prediction: 10-6, out of playoffs

Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6) - Same boat as the Chargers -- need to win out and have some divine intervention from the Raiders or Titans. Seriously, same teams.

Remaining games: v. Washington, @Houston

Prediction: 10-6, out of playoffs

Hanging by a thread:

Oakland Raiders (7-7) - Mathematically slim playoff chance will expire with a loss to the Colts this week.

Remaining games: v. Indianapolis, @Kansas City

Prediction: 7-9, out of playoffs

Tennessee Titans (6-8) - Same boat as the Raiders. Need tons and tons of help.

Remaining games: @Kansas City, @Indianapolis

Prediction: 6-10, out of playoffs

Not even math gives them a chance:

  • Miami Dolphins (7-7) - Probably should have won some home games if they really wanted to make the playoffs.
  • Houston Texans (5-9) - I don't see how this fan base puts up with this crap.
  • Cleveland Browns (5-9) - Is the loss to the Bengals the excuse Mike Holmgren needs to can Eric Mangini?
  • Denver Broncos (3-11) - At least Bronco fans can watch Tim Tebow struggle for the rest of the year.
  • Buffalo Bills (4-10) - They're better than the Cardinals.
  • Cincinnati Bengals (3-11) - Carson Palmer is probably trying to save his job by keeping the Bengals out of the first position in the draft.