KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The NFL has reached the point of the regular season where numerous postseason scenarios emerge and teams in the hunt are prone to sneak a peek at the scoreboard.
Division leaders in the AFC and NFC are for the most part established, leaving the door open for other teams in contention to jockey for the wildcard positions.
And the Chiefs (5-5) are in the thick of the AFC chase based on a four-game winning streak and owning head-to-head tiebreakers against the Houston Texans (5-5) and Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4).
The Steelers, who are in second place in the AFC North, and Buffalo Bills (5-4) are currently ahead of the Chiefs for the two wildcard spots.
But scenarios can change with a little more than a month remaining in the regular season if the Bills lose against the New England Patriots (9-0) on Monday Night Football.
The nationally televised game on ESPN will have a captive audience out of One Arrowhead Drive.
“We’ll watch it tonight, for sure,” coach Andy Reid said during Monday afternoon’s conference call with Chiefs beat writers. “That’s what we do.”
There is more at stake for the Chiefs outside of Monday night’s results, of course.
The Chiefs have a looming showdown against the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 12, and the next 24 hours provide opportunities for scouting and game-week preparation.
“It’s not like the old days where you had to go collect the film,” Reid said. “I mean, they get it in the computer fairly quick to the league office in New Jersey there at NFL Films, so we’re able to get the tape pretty quick and take a peek at it at least by early morning (Tuesday).”
While the Chiefs are in the playoff chase, Reid emphasized the team will not get ahead of itself with six game remaining on the schedule.
“I want to be clear on this,” Reid said. “You don’t get the fish in the boat until you win the game. That’s how those things work and you have to go through preparation.”
In an NFL where anything can and will happen on any given week, the Chiefs prefer to take care of matters the team can influence regardless of Monday night’s outcome.
“We always talk about one game at a time, one play at a time,” Reid said. “But if you want to break it down further, you just work on your fundamentals, your techniques and the game plan, and then you can roll from there.
“Get all those things down and that really allows you to take one game or one play and that whole thing at a time. That’s where we’re going to focus; those are the things you can control.”
Herbie Teope is the lead Chiefs beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and The Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @HerbieTeope.