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NFL playoff picture: What does Chiefs-Bengals mean for AFC standings

The Chiefs face the Bengals in Cincinnati on Sunday. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

NFL: SEP 29 Dolphins at Bengals

The Chiefs and Bengals are facing off at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati in one of the biggest games on the Week 13 slate. The Chiefs closed as 2.5-point favorites in a critical AFC showdown. Both teams are in the playoff picture, but both need a win for different reasons.

Chiefs playoff picture

The Chiefs entered Sunday sitting atop the AFC playoff standings with a 9-2 record. They entered with a half game lead on the Bills for the No. 1 seed and a three-game lead on the Chargers in the AFC West standings.

If Kansas City wins, they retain their one-game lead on whomever is the AFC East leader after the Dolphins play the 49ers. If the Chiefs lose, they will drop to No. 2 behind either Buffalo or Miami. They lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Bills and the conference record tiebreaker with the Dolphins.

Bengals playoff picture

Cincinnati entered Sunday tied with Baltimore atop the AFC North, but trailing due to the head-to-head tiebreaker. With the Ravens beating the Broncos, the Bengals need a win to maintain pace. The Bengals are currently sixth in the AFC overall standings, sitting a half game up on the Jets and a game back of the Dolphins.

If the Bengals win, they will be fifth with a Dolphins loss or sixth with a Dolphins win. If the Bengals lose, they will remain in the sixth position.

Tiebreaker implications

The winner claims the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two teams. This also will impact conference record and common opponent tiebreakers.