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Chiefs Clinch Playoff Berth While Patriots, Bengals Fall Short in Week 15

After the NFL’s Week 14 full of snowy games, Week 15 brought playoff berths and disappointing misses.

With a 56-31 win over the Oakland Raiders (4-10), the Kansas Chiefs (11-3) clinched a coveted playoff spot and while facing challenges, are still stay alive for the AFC West title race. For now, they sit tied for the division lead with the Denver Broncos (11-3) but the Broncos own the tiebreaker (2-0 for the season).

Looking ahead, the Chiefs will host the Indianapolis Colts (9-5) this week and will get the win (-7, 42 o/u). Then they’ll play a surging San Diego Chargers (7-7) team. As for the Broncos, their last two games look a little easier: the Houston Texans (a Broncos win at -11.5, 51 o/u) and the Raiders (2-12).

The Broncos sit at 3/1 to win the 2014 Super Bowl while the Chiefs are 25/1.

Jamaal Charles

Jamaal Charles

Fortunately for Kansas City, after their defense was the face of the team early in the season, their offense has been on the rise in the last month. After Sunday’s game, they have now reached 28-point game for a fourth straight time and have scored more than 35 points for a third time during this period.

As for Sunday’s 56-point game, it represented the highest score by a team this season, surpassing Week 9’s game with the New England Patriots (10-4) 55-31 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8). The Chiefs have running back Jamaal Charles to thank for Sunday’s high number with his eight catches for 195 yards and four touchdowns along with one more touchdown from the ground game.

Charles said of his play via the Associated Press, “A big part of this team depends on me. Once I’m healthy this offense can go a long way and this team can go a long way.”

After Sunday’s play, Charles sits as the league’s leader for total touchdowns (18).

For the Raiders, they’ll limp through the rest of the season with quarterback challenges. In his fifth start on Sunday, quarterback Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes but this was downplayed by his four interceptions (one pick six). He left the game late thanks to an eye injury and was replaced by the benched Terrelle Pryor. He responded to the opportunity by quickly throwing a pick.

In other Sunday AFC games, the Patriots fell to the Miami Dolphins (8-6) in a 24-20 loss. In December, the Dolphins now sit at 3-0, ending seven straight losses against the Patriots.

With the win, the Dolphins improved their wildcard chance and sit in the AFC’s six-team playoff contender pool. They now have quality wins against the Colts, the Cincinnati Bengals (9-5) and now sit 1-1 with the Patriots.

To continue their journey to the playoffs, next up is the Buffalo Bills (5-9). They’ll get the win (-2.5, 43 o/u) and wrap up the season against the New York Jets (6-8).

Not a bad path.

For the Patriots, with the loss, they saw their opportunity to grab their fifth straight AFC East title. Now they’ll look to do so from wins against the Baltimore Ravens (7-6) and the Bills. The Patriots sit at 10/1 to win the 2014 Super Bowl.

Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton

And in a final AFC game, the Bengals lost to the Steelers, 30-20, on Sunday night. This put a bump in their road to a third consecutive playoff spot and a possible No. 2 seed for the AFC. They sit in the third spot now and have given the Ravens a nice opportunity to possibly take the division.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said of the game via the Associated Press, “We didn’t make anything happen. We didn’t make any plays, create any opportunities.”

As for good Andy Dalton/bad Andy Dalton, he went 25 for 44, 230 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bengals will now play the Minnesota Vikings (4-9-1) on Sunday and then wrap up the season against division foe, the Ravens.


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