Who will Chiefs play next in AFC championship game? Kansas City’s playoff path explained
The Kansas City Chiefs had to struggle for a bit, but they managed to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20 and qualify for the AFC Championship Game to be played next weekend.
Kansas City had a major blow during the game. Patrick Mahomes had a very good start, but he suffered a high ankle sprain in a play where Jaguars’ defensive end Arden Key fell over his leg, affecting his mobility and sending him to the locker room for exams. Although the X-Rays came back negative, he was far from healthy.
The Chiefs now have eight days until the AFC Championship Game for Mahomes to recover. While they don’t know their opponents yet, they can be sure they’re up for a huge brawl.
They’ll discover their opponents on Sunday, after the other AFC Divisional Round game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills.
Will Mahomes play for the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game?
It’s too early to tell, but he’ll probably play. He returned to the game against the Jaguars and, while he was in clear pain, he did finish the game. With a week to rest and heal from his injury, there’s a good chance that he’ll be available for the Chiefs.
Now, there’s an interesting tweak to next week’s game.
Kansas City holds the first seed in the AFC, but they’re not guaranteed to play the AFC Championship Game at home. If Cincinnati beats Buffalo, then the Chiefs will host the game.
But if Buffalo beats Cincinnati, the AFC Championship Game will be moved to a neutral field at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, taking away Kansas City’s home-field advantage.
This was a change made by the NFL because of what transpired in Week 17 when the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills played on Monday Night Football. Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest, had CPR performed on the field and the game was suspended – and later canceled by the league.
Since the game had major playoff seeding implications, the league decided that the Chiefs would earn the first seed based on their winning percentage, but would not get the home field if they played the Bills in the playoffs.
In the NFC, the two divisional games are the New York Giants against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Dallas Cowboys against the San Francisco 49ers.
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