NFL playoff picture: Chefs Watch turns to the dark side with second round draft pick in hand

Micky Pain

The Kansas City Chiefs have improved to 8-0, securing the 49ers a second round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. We take a look at the Chiefs and what lies ahead for them in 2013. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

And just like that, Chefs Watch is mixing things up on you! The Kansas City Chiefs held off the Cleveland Browns 23-17 to improve to 8-0. The eighth win means the 49ers now have the Chiefs second round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Alex Smith trade included a 2014 third round pick that would bump up to the second round if the Chiefs reached the eight win threshold.

While I am happy with the success Alex Smith is having in Kansas City, Chefs Watch now has to take a turn to the dark side. The 49ers have their second round pick, but the more the Chiefs win, the lower it goes in the first round. The Chiefs have rolled off eight straight wins, but as they head into the second half of their schedule, they face some serious tests.

Next week, the Chiefs head out to Buffalo to face an up and down Bills team. Buffalo is 3-5 and trying to figure out their identity with E.J. Manuel on the sideline. But in Buffalo they can be tricky.

The Chiefs follow that with a bye, and then face the Broncos two out of the next three weeks. Those two games very well could decide the division. It is kind of crazy to think but the AFC West could have a 13-win team having to go on the road in the playoffs as a wildcard. The Chiefs remaining schedule is as follows:

@ Buffalo Bills
BYE
@ Denver Broncos
vs. San Diego Chargers
vs. Denver Broncos
@ Washington
@ Oakland Raiders
vs. Indianapolis Colts
@ San Diego Chargers

The Broncos remaining schedule is as follows:

BYE
@ San Diego Chargers
vs. Kansas City Chiefs
@ New England Patriots
@ Kansas City Chiefs
vs. Tennessee Titans
vs. San Diego Chargers
@ Houston Texans
@ Oakland Raiders

The road game at Oakland could be tough for both teams. The Raiders are wildly inconsistent, but they're dangerous. On the Chiefs schedule, that home game against Indianapolis and that road game against Washington will both be tough ones. On the Broncos schedule, traveling to New England will be a tough one. Traveling to Houston seemed tough at the beginning of the year, but now that the Texans are awful, maybe not so much.

The Chiefs are not the prettiest of 8-0 teams, but an undefeated record halfway through the season is impressive. People will quickly point to their schedule, but for those that do, look at the five opponents the 49ers have knocked off to improve to 6-2.

The 49ers defeated the Rams, Texans, Cardinals, Titans and Jaguars. The Titans are arguably the best of that group (I still don't know what to say about the Texans). The 49ers did beat the Packers early on, and we can make all sorts of excuses for the two losses. And yet, the 49ers win streak has still come against a mix of average or mediocre to bad teams.

If the Chiefs can secure a split with Denver, they will be in line for the best record in the AFC. That would get them home field at Arrowhead through the AFC title game. They've actually lost four straight at Arrowhead, but even still, it provides a potentially imposing home field advantage.

I don't know that they will find themselves in the Super Bowl, but the opportunity is there for them. The AFC has some solid teams, but with home field, the Chiefs could do some damage. The top of the heap includes the Chiefs, the Broncos, the Indianapolis Colts, the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots. And maybe even the Chargers work their way into the mix. There is some talent there, but with the right situation, the Chiefs could find themselves in a very enviable position.

That being said, every Chiefs loss is welcome for 49ers draft purposes!

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