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What Chiefs win over Bengals in Week 17 means for NFL playoff picture in AFC

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17. We break down what it means for the AFC playoff picture.

Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after a first down during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on December 31, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 25-17 in Week 17. Kansas City struggled this season but picked up an important win. Cincinnati played well despite not having Joe Burrow under center, but the team is passing the cupcake phase of having Jake Browning under center. Let’s look at how this result affects the rest of the AFC playoff picture.

Kansas City moves to 10-6 and has clinched its eighth AFC West division title in a row. They are locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoff picture. The Miami Dolphins or Buffalo Bills, who play each other in Week 18, will be the No. 2 seed behind the Baltimore Ravens. If Miami wins, they would have a better record than Kansas City, and Buffalo owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over KC if they were to win. The Chiefs would have a better record and/or own the tiebreaker over whatever team wins the AFC South, so they will face the No. 6 seed in the Wild Card round. The Chiefs will likely rest players against the Los Angeles Chargers next week.

This loss is a tough one for Cincinnati. Since the Bengals lost, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to beat the Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati has been eliminated from playoff contention. They will be playing for pride as they take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 18.