Chiefs Playoff-Clinching Scenarios: Can Kansas City Lock Up a Playoff Spot in Week 13?

Heading into Week 13, the Kansas City Chiefs are 8-3 and hold the No. 2 seed in the AFC. Can they clinch the playoffs? What's their playoff path?

The Kansas City Chiefs have been one of the top teams in the NFL for years, including 2023. With Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, they’ll always have a chance.

Coming off a 31-17 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders and heading into Week 13, the Chiefs are 8-3 and hold the No. 2 seed in the conference. The Baltimore Ravens are the only team currently ahead of them.

Can the Chiefs clinch the playoffs this week? What’s their playoff path?

Kansas City Chiefs Playoff-Clinching Scenarios

Can Kansas City clinch a playoff spot in Week 13? The short answer is no.

The only team that can clinch a playoff spot this week is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are only two games ahead of the seventh-seed Indianapolis Colts in the AFC.

Due to the competitive conference, the earliest the Chiefs can clinch the playoffs is Week 15. They do control their own destiny, however. If Kansas City wins out, they’ll be in the playoffs no matter what.

What Is the Chiefs’ Division-Clinching Path?

The most realistic playoff path for the Chiefs is winning their division. If they do that, they’ll have a home playoff game and potentially multiple. If they don’t, it’s the fifth seed or worse.

Kansas City does have a 2.5-game lead inside the AFC West. The closest team behind them is the Denver Broncos, who beat the Chiefs in Week 8. However, Kansas City did beat Denver in the first meeting in Week 6.

MORE: NFL Playoff Picture After Week 12

The Broncos sit at 6-6 on the year, and had their five-game win streak snapped by Texans in Week 13. Past them, the Las Vegas Raiders are 5-7, while the Los Angeles Chargers are 4-7.

At the earliest, the Chiefs can win the division by Week 15. Given their 2.5-game lead over the Broncos, if they just win their next three they will have it secured as Denver dropped their latest matchup.

What Is Kansas City’s Path to the No. 1 Seed?

The ultimate goal for the Chiefs right now is earning the No. 1 seed and, yet again, having a bye through Wild Card Weekend with the playoffs going through Kansas City.

With Baltimore on a bye in Week 13, the Chiefs could return to the top spot with a win. If they win out, they will secure the AFC’s top seed. But if they lose, things get a little bit interesting.

Since the Chiefs are tied in losses with the Jaguars, Dolphins, and Ravens, it’s a tight race. Kansas City holds the NFL tiebreaker over Jacksonville and Miami, giving them the edge right now. However, if either of those teams wins out and Kansas City drops a game, the Chiefs could slide behind them.

Luckily for the Chiefs, they do not play the Ravens. Additionally, Baltimore plays both Miami and Jacksonville in their remaining schedule. Nevertheless, it’s unlikely that the Chiefs will be able to clinch the top seed much before Week 18.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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