Bengals' loss might help Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In a normal year or maybe in most other divisions, the 8-0 Kansas City Chiefs could already be looking ahead to playoff seedings and trying to secure home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

But since they have a mere one game lead over the 7-1 Denver Broncos for the lead in the AFC West, they're busy right now merely trying to secure a division championship.

We, however, can look ahead toward playoff seeding, and the Chiefs received some help Thursday night when the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Miami Dolphins. The Bengals, most likely the eventual AFC North champions, are now 6-3 and 2 1/2 games behind the Chiefs, a deficit that grows to three games if Kansas City beats the Bills on Sunday in Buffalo.

That helps the Chiefs, of course, only if they win the AFC West. As wild-card playoff entrants, they would be buried in the seeding process by any division champion, even if they have a better record.

The leaders in the other two divisions, Indianapolis and New England, each have two losses. Each also has some tough upcoming games. The Colts are at Houston on Sunday night, at Tennessee on Nov. 14, and at Cincinnati on Dec. 8. The Patriots are at Carolina on Nov. 18 and play the Broncos at home on the following Sunday.

Kansas City's schedule also gets more difficult after Sunday's game in Buffalo. The Chiefs have two games against Denver, two against the San Diego Chargers, and a home game with the Colts in the final seven weeks.

Not counting the Broncos, the Chiefs have some margin for error with regard to playoff seeding and the AFC's other top teams. They have enough of an edge at this point that, as long as they win their division, the Chiefs shouldn't have to leave the comforts of home during the playoffs.