AFC West Champion Kansas City Chiefs Are Playing for More Than Just Playoff Seed

Mike SettleContributor IDecember 30, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 26:  Receiver Dwayne Bowe #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs is congratulated by fans as he jumps into the stands after making a 75 yard touchdown catch during the game against the Tennessee Titans on December 26, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 2010 Kansas City Chiefs have the division all wrapped up. It's in the books, and there's no looking back.

Yet one more game is still left to be played before the postseason begins. One last go-round with the improving Oakland Raiders to cap off a season filled with excitement.

The only thing left for Kansas City to play for is a higher playoff seed. If the Chiefs beat Oakland this weekend, they are guaranteed the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. Lose, and the Indianapolis Colts could easily take that spot with a win over Tennessee, moving K.C. down to No. 4.

In reality, the Chiefs have more to play for than a seed. They have a chance to beat down a Raiders team that could potentially carry the momentum of 2010 into the 2011 season in similar fashion to what the Chiefs did against Denver last year.

Oakland is currently a team that rides and dies off momentum, and the Chiefs have an opportunity to bring any kind of 2011 success to a halt with a solid victory in Kansas City.

Also, the Chiefs are in a position were they are playing a game when they already know their fate. Will the team show up motivated and play like they usually do at home? Or will they lay an egg because they aren't emotionally involved in the game?

The problem with question number two is that if the Chiefs were to mentally not show up for this game, it could carry over into the playoffs when the Chiefs face the New York Jets or Baltimore Ravens. That would be the last thing the Chiefs would want after going 17 years without winning a playoff game.

The Chiefs are a team starting to get hot again. In case you missed it, Matt Cassel is undefeated since November 11. 

Kansas City needs another win this weekend to help prime the Chiefs for this playoff run. 

Todd Haley will then have to tear this team back down to earth after winning three in a row heading into the playoffs. Three is the number. They seem to be stuck getting past three wins, and the playoffs could be that breaking point.

From Weeks 1-3, the Chiefs were undefeated as they trotted into Indianapolis only to be dropped by a good Colts team.

The red tribe then went on to defeat Arizona in Week 11, Seattle in Week 12 and Denver in Week 13. After that, the Chiefs were shut out by a fired up Chargers squad, and a Cassel-less Chiefs team. 

Their win streak was once again snapped at three.

The playoffs could be a chance to finally break that wall and learn how to not only win in spurts, but win multiple games in a row and keep the success sustained.

The Oakland Raiders still have something to play for also: bragging rights by sweeping the entire division. 

If Oakland defeats Kansas City, not only would the Raiders be the first team other than Kansas City to win in the New Arrowhead, but they would finish the season 6-0 in the division, a goal that is extremely hard to reach in all of football, not just the AFC West.

With the playoffs looming just around the corner, the most important thing Kansas City can do is keep momentum, and keep their Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles fresh for the long run. Those two elements could be deadly for any team that is forced to play the Chiefs in the postseason.