If the Bengals lose to the Baltimore Ravens and the Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Chiefs will face Cincy. If the Patriots lose to the Buffalo Bills and both the Bengals and Colts win, the Chiefs will take on New England. If it plays out any other way this weekend, Kansas City will face Indianapolis.
Going up against any of these teams on the road doesn’t sound very appealing, but one team does stand out as the most attractive opponent for the Chiefs.
You can eliminate the Bengals. Not only are they undefeated at home, but in their last four games at Paul Brown Stadium, they’ve outscored opponents 174-71 and never put up fewer than 41 points. Cincy has also beaten both the Patriots and Colts this season.
Foxboro Stadium is probably the other destination where the Chiefs would prefer not to see in the first round. Tom Brady is 11-3 at home in the playoffs in his career, and a struggling Kansas City defense does not want to face a quarterback with that kind of postseason experience. Brady’s history of clutch performances and the fact that the Patriots are undefeated at home this year also don’t bode well for whoever draws them in the Wild Card round.
That leaves the Colts. It sounds strange, but the team that just handily beat the Chiefs at home 23-7 would be their most appealing possible first-round opponent. In Week 16, Kansas City was outfought by a team that wanted it a lot more, but they were not beaten by a better team.
The Chiefs played uninspired, terrible football and probably would’ve lost to anybody that day. The offense laid an egg, the defense refused to tackle, and they uncharacteristically turned the ball over four times without getting a single takeaway. Every team puts out a stinker once in a while, and Kansas City’s was against Indy.
The Colts are beatable at home. They were taken down by the Miami Dolphins, blown out by the St. Louis Rams (their stinker of the season) and barely scraped by the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans. On top of that, Indy has allowed the most points and scored the fewest of the three teams the Chiefs could possibly face in the first round.
The Colts are the team Kansas City wants to see, and also the team their most likely to see in the first round of the playoffs. The Chiefs were very vocal about the shame they felt after their bush-league performance against Indianapolis, and they would love a chance to redeem themselves. Kansas City has the league’s best road record at 6-1, and a rematch with the Colts would be a much closer game than one would assume based on their Week 16 matchup.