How Raiders-Chiefs Showdown Could Affect Patriots’ Playoff Positioning

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The AFC’s convoluted playoff picture could look a whole lot clearer Friday morning.

This week’s “Thursday Night Football” game features the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, both of whom are battling for the top spot in the loaded AFC West.

Oakland enters the game at 10-2, tied with the New England Patriots for the conference’s top seed but technically ahead of New England thanks to a strength of victory tiebreaker (more on that in a bit).

Kansas City is not far behind. The Chiefs sit at 9-3 and already have beaten the Raiders once this season (26-10 on the road in Week 6), meaning a win in the rematch would launch them into first place in the division.

Both teams have fared very well of late, going a combined 8-1 since the beginning of November. Six of those games were decided by a touchdown or less, however, as neither team’s résumé features many blowout wins.

So, what does this game mean for the Patriots?

First things first: If the Raiders win out, they will secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Even if the Patriots did the same, New England would enter the postseason as the AFC’s No. 2 seed, and if the teams were to meet in the conference title game, it would be played at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.

If the Chiefs prevail Thursday night, however, things would get interesting. Kansas City would vault into the No. 2 spot, and the Patriots would move up to No. 1, regardless of how they fare in their Monday night matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

Here’s a look at how every Week 14 scenario would affect the three teams’ playoff positioning entering Week 15:

Raiders win, Patriots win
No. 1 seed: Raiders
No. 2 seed: Patriots
First wild card: Chiefs

Raiders win, Patriots lose
No. 1 seed: Raiders
No. 2 seed: Patriots
First wild card: Chiefs

Raiders win, Patriots tie
No. 1 seed: Raiders
No. 2 seed: Patriots
First wild card: Chiefs

Chiefs win, Patriots win
No. 1 seed: Patriots
No. 2 seed: Chiefs
First wild card: Raiders

Chiefs win, Patriots lose
No. 1 seed: Patriots
No. 2 seed: Chiefs
First wild card: Raiders

Chiefs win, Patriots tie
No. 1 seed: Patriots
No. 2 seed: Chiefs
First wild card: Raiders

Raiders/Chiefs tie, Patriots win
No. 1 seed: Patriots
No. 2 seed: Raiders
First wild card: Chiefs

Raiders/Chiefs tie, Patriots lose
No. 1 seed: Raiders
No. 2 seed: Patriots
First wild card: Chiefs

Raiders/Chiefs tie, Patriots tie
No. 1 seed: Raiders
No. 2 seed: Patriots
First wild card: Chiefs

Click for an updated look at the NFL playoff picture >>

Thumbnail photo via Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images

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