Chargers' wild win shakes up AFC playoff picture; No. 1 seed back in play for Pats?


Anthony Lynn's gutsy call to go for two with four seconds left, and Mike Williams' subsequent catch all by his lonesome self, delivered one of the biggest prime-time stunners of the 2018 season, a 29-28 thriller by the Los Angeles Chargers over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. And with it, the AFC playoff picture just got a whole lot more interesting.

With the win, the Chargers became the second AFC team to lock up a playoff spot, joining their rivals they just beat on Thursday Night Football. Whether Philip Rivers and Co. will be playing their first playoff game at home or on the road is another matter, however.

Both the Chargers and Chiefs are tied for the AFC West lead with 11-3 records, but Kansas City holds on to the No. 1 seed in the conference overall based on tiebreaking procedures. The Chiefs and Chargers split the regular-season head-to-head matchups, but Kansas City has a 4-1 record in the division, while L.A. is 3-2.

Meanwhile, with the Chiefs' loss, theoretically New England is still very much in play for home-field advantage at just a game and half behind KC for the top seed. The Patriots would have to win Sunday against the Steelers, and then their final two games against Buffalo and the New York Jets (a combined 8-18 headed into this weekend) to finish 12-4.

That's certainly a more favorable schedule than the Chargers, who still have to face the Ravens at home, and then a hungry 6-7 Denver at hallowed Mile High. The Chiefs, meanwhile, still have to head to Seattle on Dec. 23 for Sunday Night Football before finishing with a visit from the Raiders. The Texans, currently the No. 3 seed at 9-4, have a somewhat easier three-game slate in the Jets, Eagles, and Jaguars.

It's possible 12-4 gets the No. 1 seed in the AFC this season.

Or, in a potentially weird scenario, it's possible the road to Super Bowl LIII ends up going through a 27,000-seat MLS stadium.

Or, in a potentially even weirder twist of fate, a doomsday scenario is still in play where the Steelers drop their final three games, the Ravens two of their final three, and the Browns -- yes, those Browns -- win their final three games to claim the NFC North.

Here's how the AFC playoff picture looks after Thursday night's wild finish:

*1. Chiefs 11-3
2. Patriots 9-4
3. Texans 9-4
4. Steelers 7-5-1
*5. Chargers 11-3
6. Ravens 7-6
*Clinched postseason berth

Colts 7-6
Dolphins 7-6
Titans 7-6
Broncos 6-7
Browns 5-7-1
Bengals 5-8

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