In a normal year, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs would be sitting pretty right now. That's not to say things aren't going well for this team, they are 8-1 after all. But the NFL made a significant change to the playoff format this season, opting to add another wild card team by eliminating the No. 2 seed's typical first-round bye week.
With the Pittsburgh Steelers sitting at 9-0, there's a real chance Kansas City won't get a first-round bye this postseason. That's a serious disadvantage – especially with the AFC looking deeper than ever.
If the playoffs started today, the Chiefs would have a brutal path to the Super Bowl. Kansas City would host the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round, then likely face the explosive Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round before traveling to Heinz Field to take on the undefeated Steelers.
While the Chiefs would likely be favored in two of those games (and potentially all three), that would be one of the more difficult Super Bowl paths we've seen in a while.
And don't discount just how important bye weeks have been. Each of the last 14 teams to make the last seven Super Bowls have had a first-round bye.
It has to be frustrating for Chiefs fans to know they'd essentially be a lock for a first-round bye any other year. And knowing that they'd be the clear-cut No. 1 seed if they were in the NFC certainly doesn't help matters.
To be fair, there's still plenty of time for Kansas City to catch Pittsburgh and earn the No. 1 seed. Even if they don't, the Chiefs could luck out and face a much-less intimidating team than the Ravens in the Wild Card Round.
But the NFL's new playoff format is undoubtedly a huge blow to whatever team ends up with the No. 2 seed. Right now, that just so happens to be the Chiefs.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.