The Kansas City Chiefs are below .500 through the first seven games of the NFL season for the first time since 2015, when they had a 2-5 record.
There is a sliver of good news in that comparison: the Chiefs ended up making the playoffs and were in the hunt for the AFC West title late in that season.
Can this year’s Chiefs team, which has a 3-4 record, repeat the feat? The computer models aren’t so sure.
The New York Times’ playoff picture gives the Chiefs a 34% chance of making the playoffs and a 12% shot of winning the division. Eight AFC teams have a higher percentage of qualifying for the postseason.
FiveThirtyEight.com is a bit more bullish on the Chiefs, giving them a 43% chance of being in the postseason and a 15% chance of being AFC West champions. There are eight conference teams ahead of the Chiefs in postseason chances.
PlayoffStatus.com gives the Chiefs just a 25% chance of making the playoffs and has 10 AFC teams ahead of them. They have an 11% chance of winning the West.
While the numbers aren’t favorable, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he’s embracing the opportunity to turn things around.
“I’m excited for it,” Mahomes said on “The Rich Eisen Show”. “I think the guys in this locker room are excited for the challenge and hopefully when we look back on this .. adversity we have and we can show that that was the reason why we became the team that we wanted to become.”
There is plenty of time for the Chiefs to improve their playoff chances. They have 10 games remaining, but five of them are against teams leading their division: Packers, Cowboys, Bengals and Raiders (twice).
In fact, no team faces a tougher slate of games to finish the season than the Chiefs, as James Palmer of the NFL Network noted.
Toughest Remaining Strength of Schedule
Team Opp Win Pct Opp Record
1. Chiefs .612 41-26
2. Panthers .591 39-27
3. Vikings .589 43-30
4. Browns .588 40-28
5. 49ers .568 42-32
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) October 27, 2021
Tankathon has those same numbers, and it’s worth noting the Raiders, who lead the AFC West, have the 16th most difficult remaining schedule (opponents have a combined .500 record). The remaining schedule for the Chargers, who have a 4-2 record, is ranked 27th (.440 opponent records).
Two other teams of note: the Bills’ schedule is ranked 30th (.403) and the Titans’ is 32nd (.379).