Here's how Chiefs fit into playoff picture

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With the season halfway finished and the Kansas City Chiefs squarely in the middle of the postseason race, we’re going to start a weekly look at the AFC playoff picture.

Where the Chiefs stand: They are 5-3 and in second place in the AFC West, one game behind the 6-2 Denver Broncos. They are tied with three other teams (Buffalo, Cleveland and Miami) for the final wild card spot. The other division leaders are New England (7-2), Cincinnati (5-2-1) and Indianapolis (5-3). Pittsburgh (6-3) leads the wild-card race.

If the season ended today: The Chiefs would be the sixth and final seed in the AFC playoffs because of a better record in conference games (4-2) than either Cleveland (3-3) or Buffalo (2-3). Miami would be eliminated from the tiebreaker because it is 0-1 this season against the Bills.

Chiefs this week and what it means: The Chiefs play against the 5-3 Bills in Buffalo in a game fat with playoff implications. The winner holds an important tiebreaker while the loser’s path to the playoffs gets far more difficult.

Other games to watch: The game between the Chiefs and Bills is one of two featuring two AFC playoff contenders. The other is Thursday’s night meeting between the Browns and Bengals in Cincinnati. The Chiefs don’t play either of these teams in the regular season. It’s probably best for the Chiefs if the Steelers don’t win the AFC North championship. They play against the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Dec. 20 and have the chance then to pick up an important tiebreaker, but only if the Steelers don’t win their division. So it might be best for the Chiefs if the Bengals win on Thursday night and hold on to their division lead.