Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?

Every year, as a handful of NFL squads inevitably get off to hot starts, we hear analysts begin to discuss the playoff appearance rate of teams that win the first few games on their schedule. This season, the Chiefs' unexpected 2-0 start has pulled them into that conversation.



Looking at just the Chiefs, their percentage in that situation is lower. Starts of 2-0 in Kansas City have translated into playoff appearances just 50% of the time. And their recent history goes completely against the grain.

In 2005, they began the season 2-0 with wins over the Jets and Raiders, but they lost their next two games to even out their record at .500. Ultimately, they just missed the playoffs that year.

In 2006, the Chiefs started the season 0-2, which only gave them around a 10% chance at making the postseason. Yet they pulled together and managed to squeak in under the wire as a wildcard team.

If the Chiefs can defeat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and improve their record to 3-0, their playoff chances will naturally increase. Going from a 2-0 start to a 3-0 start raises a team's likelihood of making the playoffs around 10%, from the mid-60s to the mid-70's.

Again, though, those numbers don't mean a whole lot by themselves. Two years ago, five teams started their seasons 3-0, but only two of them went on to make the postseason. That's a rate of just 40%. And who can forget the Denver Broncos last year, starting 6-0 and still failing to make the playoffs?

Still, after only managing ten wins over the last three seasons, we'll take small victories wherever we can get them. It may not mean anything in the long run, but a win over the 49ers should guarantee us at least one thing: thanks to the upcoming bye, we'll get to spend the next two weeks hearing analysts say the words "Chiefs" and "playoffs" in the same sentence.

And it will be music to our ears.

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