SEATTLE — The Kansas City Chiefs, who failed in chances to clinch the AFC West championship the past two weeks, have one more shot to make things right.
The Chiefs would win the AFC West, get a first-round bye and have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating the Oakland Raiders next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs could still win the division title with a loss to the Raiders, if the Los Angeles Chargers also lose their game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. But even by winning the AFC West at 11-5, the Chiefs wouldn’t necessarily get a first-round bye or home-field advantage.
If the Chiefs lose next weekend and the Chargers win, the Chiefs would get a wild-card playoff berth.
Of the Chiefs’ four losses, Sunday’s was the first by more than three points.
“In this league, it’s that close, the margin between winning and losing,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, holding his index finger close to his thumb. “We’ve got to straighten a couple of things out and we’ll be OK. It seems extreme right now but that’s not the reality of it. If we fix a couple things we’ll be all right.
“We have an opportunity to finish this thing the right way. It’s important that we do that, that we pull it all together and get ourselves ready to go. If we play the way we can play and we’re going to play, we’re a tough team right there, as good as any in the National Football League.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for three touchdowns, giving him 48 this season. That’s tied with Dan Marino for the fourth most in a season.
But Mahomes completed just 23 of 40 passes for 273 yards.
“Losing games,” Mahomes said when asked what was the bigger concern, the way the Chiefs are playing or the fact they haven’t clinched the division despite two chances to do so. “We’ve been in every game that we’ve lost, but you have to find ways to win. … We haven’t lately. That’s the most frustrating thing.
“You can’t be satisfied with what’s gotten us here. This is when it counts. … We’re not satisfied with just being here.”
The Chiefs beat the Raiders 40-33 in Oakland in Week 13, but it seems like forever ago. In three December games since, they’ve escaped with an overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens, and lost by a combined eight points to the Chargers and Seahawks.