After the New England Patriots pulled off their most important win of the season on Saturday, getting past the Buffalo Bills, the Kansas City Chiefs saw their chances of moving into the second seed and a first-round playoff bye drop significantly.
In fact, the Pats victory dropped the Chiefs’ chances of earning the bye from 22 percent to just 6 percent, according to a New York Times calculation. But if the Chiefs lose to the Chicago Bears — winners of four of their last six games — on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, those chances drop to zero percent.
The Chiefs-Bears matchup is a rare one. The teams first met in 1973, and have played each other only 12 times in 46 years. The Chiefs trail the series, with only five wins to seven for Chicago. The franchises have not squared off since 2015, when the Bears eked out an 18-17 victory.
A Kansas City loss to Chicago would drop the Chiefs to the fourth seed, because the AFC South champion Houston Texans defeated the Chiefs in Week 6. At the same time, Kansas City holds the tiebreaker over New England by virtue of a Week 14 win at Gillette Stadium. That means, if the Chiefs beat Chicago, and finish the season with a win over the Chargers, and if the Patriots suffer a season-ending upset against the Miami Dolphins, the Chiefs will be the second seed.
The NFL Network previews the Sunday night Chiefs-Bears game in the video below.
Kansas City comes into Soldier Field as the clear favorite, with oddsmakers setting the spread in their favor at six points, as reported by Sports Illustrated. After three wins in a row, Chicago lost to the Green Bay Packers last week, ending their hopes for a second consecutive postseason appearance after an absence of seven seasons.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has taken a step back after his MVP season of 2018 when he became only the third passer in NFL history to throw for 50 touchdowns in a single season. With two games remaining on the 2019 slate, Mahomes has thrown 23 touchdowns, with only four interceptions, for a solid passer rating of 106.2. Last season, Mahomes registered a 113.8 rating, according to Pro Football Reference.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was drafted second overall in 2017, eight spots ahead of Mahomes. But this year, his numbers do not compare well with the Chiefs’ signal-caller. Trubisky has 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, while throwing for 2,774 yards.
Mahomes has totaled 3,606 yards in the air. Last season, he had 5,097 yards passing, a total that is well out of reach for this season.