It's a matter of playoff seeding: No. 3 or No. 4. There are legitimate arguments for both sides. We'll examine them and see which side you come down on.
Right now, the Chiefs are a remarkably healthy team for Week 17. The biggest upside to resting the team's starters is to have them stay that way.
There is a great deal to be said about going into the playoffs with momentum. In 2007, the Giants won three of their last five. One of those losses, however, was to the Patriots, and many viewed it as a "moral victory," as New York took New England down to the wire. That 10-6 Giant team went on to win the Super Bowl, riding incredible momentum.
In addition to ensuring the health of many of players at this juncture of the season, the rest is also well-needed. It's been a long season, especially with so many rookies unaccustomed to playing so many games. With no bye week, many starters could use the break.
The No. 3 seed does have advantages over the No. 4 seed, obviously. If the Chiefs win their first-round game, it would most likely mean the difference between going to New England as the four seed, or to Pittsburgh as the three seed. Though both are excellent teams, I like the Chiefs' chances at Pittsburgh better.
Though there is an obvious advantage to being seeded higher, the difference between the three and four seed is not huge. It is not like fighting for the spot between the two and three, which obviously means a week off and possibly two home games, including the championship.
Lastly, in regard to seeding, anything can happen in the NFL, as we know. Thank you, Cincinnati. If by any chance the top-seeded teams lose, as the three seed, the Chiefs would host the AFC Championship Game.
Who the hell wants to lose to the Raiders? If may seem trivial, but when it comes to a division rival, and one that looks like it may be a legitimate NFL team, it does matter. The Chiefs lost a tough game in Oakland this year, and they should be able to handle them at Arrowhead. If they play like they did against the Titans, they can start pulling starters.
Very quietly, it seems, the Chiefs have won five of their last six. The only loss was that debacle in San Diego. If they win six out their last seven, they will be one of the hottest teams going into the playoffs.
I'm sure many of you can come up with more reasons, for and against. Please feel free to comment and we'll battle it out.
I don't think Coach Haley wants anything to do with losing, and I believe he'll play this game like most games. He may make changes as the game goes along, though, depending on various factors.
I think the Chiefs should play this game with the same passion and all-out intensity they've been playing with. There is always a risk to a player. No matter what a team does, there will be starters on the field, and someone can get hurt.
I think beating the Raiders—and beating them soundly—will increase the Chiefs' chances in the playoffs by firing up the fans in Kansas City and giving this team even more of the confidence it has already gained.
Additionally, it is going to make any opponent coming into Arrowhead very aware that this is not the Chiefs team of the past few years.
I look forward to your comments.
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