Though playoff talks is remote, Baltimore helped Kansas City's cause Sunday night with a 20-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens have helped the Chiefs the last four weeks with three of the games in the loss column.
Baltimore has a road game this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team the Ravens beat early in the season. It's been the only loss for the Steelers thus far in 2004, and Pittsburgh can wrap up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a win.
The Steelers have the tie-breaker over the New England Patriots, when Pittsburgh ended the NFL's longest winning streak at 21 games. The Patriots were hoping for Pittsburgh loss against the Ravens so they could stay tied for the conference's best record, but that idea was derailed when New England was upset Monday night in Miami, 29-28.
The Ravens last game of the season will be against the nothing to lose Dolphins, a team they lost last season 9-6. The Broncos are also hoping for Baltimore losses, because the Ravens hold the tie-breaker over Denver with the strength of victory against opponents.
There are other hurdles the Chiefs have to climb before they can get in, but they can start cheering for whomever Jacksonville and Buffalo play the rest of the way. The Bills are on the road against the 49ers and at home against the Steelers.
The Jaguars right now are holding on to the final place in the hunt for the playoffs, with the tie breaker over Buffalo, Kansas City and Denver. Jacksonville has not played Baltimore this season.
"You start thinking about what could have been or should have been." Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said about making the playoffs, "I can think back to at least five different games where one play made a difference. We didn't make the play so we have to give credit to the opponent for winning the ball game. It's not to use it as an excuse. It helps to focus on things that we have control of now."
There are other under .500 teams that are also fighting for their playoff lives, Cincinnati and Houston that just as much of a shot at the post season as the Chiefs. Houston has to beat Jacksonville this weekend to stay in contention and the Bengals have to beat the New York Giants at home.
"It means we're not as far along as I hoped we would be," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said about making the playoffs. "We got off to a good start and then let them back in, and then we imploded from there."