Chiefs could clinch playoff spot Sunday; Kelce out due to COVID-19 protocols

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Josh Gordon (19) celebrates after scoring a touchdown with...
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Josh Gordon (19) celebrates after scoring a touchdown with tight end Travis Kelce (87)during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Peter Aiken)(Peter Aiken | AP)
Published: Dec. 26, 2021 at 11:01 AM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KY3) - The Kansas City Chiefs could become the first AFC team this season to clinch a playoff spot Sunday, but their first chance will come without one of their key players.

Tight end Travis Kelce has not cleared COVID-19 protocols as of Sunday, so he will be ineligible to play. This will be the first game Kelce has missed this season.

Kansas City has dealt with several COVID-19 cases following last week’s Thursday Night Football win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The extra time between games, compared to a usual seven days, has allowed the Chiefs to activate key players on both sides of the ball. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill cleared COVID-19 protocols Saturday, while defensive pieces Chris Jones and Charvarius Ward are also expected to return from the COVID-19 list.

Kelce, linebacker Nick Bolton, and right tackle Lucas Niang were unable to clear protocol Sunday morning to play in the home finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With a win Sunday, the Chiefs could clinch a playoff spot and possibly the AFC West division title. Here are the clinching scenarios for Week 16:

Chiefs clinch the AFC West title with:

  • Chiefs win + Los Angeles Chargers loss or tie
  • Chiefs tie + Los Angeles Chargers loss

Chiefs clinch a playoff berth with:

  • Chiefs win
  • Chiefs tie + Buffalo Bills loss
  • Chiefs tie + No tie in Week 16 Cincinnati Bengals-Baltimore Ravens game

With three weeks of regular season remaining, the Kansas City Chiefs currently hold the top spot in the AFC with a record of 10-4.

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