Chiefs path to No. 1 seed always meant win vs. Raiders in Week 18
It’s been a tumultuous week in the NFL.
Between the concern for Buffalo Bills S Damar Hamlin and the uncertainty surrounding AFC playoffs seeding, the Kansas City Chiefs have been trying to compartmentalize and focus on the things they can control. Even before the NFL’s recently-passed resolution involving playoff seeding and the AFC title game, the team knew that they had to prepare to get a win against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18.
“Yeah so, we know with whatever scenario we’ve got to go play to try to win the football game,” Chiefs HC Andy Reid said on Wednesday. “That’s what we have to do. It wouldn’t have mattered before, we would still have to do that, so that’s what we’re going to do. And the players have worked through practice and done a nice job with it up to this point.”
Getting the No. 1 seed in the AFC has been a season-long goal for Kansas City. We’ll never know the would-be results of the Bills-Bengals game in Week 17, but a possible outcome was for the Chiefs to enter this week with the same level of control they have now.
That level of control: Defeat the Raiders and become the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
“It’s been one of our goals since the beginning of the season – win the division, get the number one seed, be able to get an extra bye week in before the playoffs start,” Chiefs TE Travis Kelce said on Thursday. “And that’s always on our mind and we know what’s at stake – it’s been at stake and we’ve been trying to play our tails off to put ourselves in the best position when it comes playoff time.”
Leading up to Week 18, the team hasn’t had many conversations about what the league would do and how it would impact their pursuit of the No. 1 seed. Instead, they’ve been focusing on preparing to face a bitter division rival in the regular season finale. They know that winning the game in front of them will lead to the best results, no matter what decisions are made by the NFL.
“The thing we talked about the most is the game plan, the process, going through that (and) staying in tune with that at this time,” Reid said on Thursday. “That’s what we can control. I’ve never been concerned with all that other stuff, it’s about what you can control right now and then it’s taking care of business. Do your best that you can do.”