The Chiefs clinched the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a clean victory over the Raiders on Saturday, finishing the season 14-3.
Kansas City has won at least 12 games in every season since Patrick Mahomes became the team’s starting quarterback and this year finished No. 1 in points and total yards.
All this after trading Tyreek Hill and integrating several new receivers.
After Saturday’s game, Mahomes said clinching the conference’s top seed and its only bye week starts with the culture set by the organization and coaches.
“It was started before I was even here. And so, you get a lot of guys in here that learn how we do things,” Mahomes said in his press conference. “We have a lot of veterans on our team, and when you bring in new guys you just show them by the way you act. Luckily for us, [G.M.] Brett Veach and coach [Andy] Reid brought in a lot of guys that were ready to work and wanted to get out there as quickly as possible. And I think you’ve seen as the seasons gone on, those rookies are getting better and then the veterans are starting to hit the right moment going into the playoffs.”
The prevailing thought in the 2022 offseason was that the AFC West was going to be the league’s best division, based on the personnel moves of the three other teams. But Kansas City was still 6-0 in the division, and is now 27-3 against AFC West opponents since Mahomes took over as the starter in 2018.
Mahomes said divisional games “for sure” mean more to him.
“That was something that was instilled with me right when I got here. We were going to focus on AFC West opponents,” Mahomes said. “We believe we have one of the best divisions, if not the best division, in football. And so, we know if we can handle business and AFC West, it’s going to put us in the position to be where we want to be at the end of the year.
“Like I’ve said a lot, our first goal is win the AFC West. Second goal is to get home field advantage, which we’re in a weird spot there, but now we’re going to get this bye now and get back to the playoffs. Get a home game at Arrowhead and try to handle business there against what will be another great football team. If you look at the AFC in general, every single team one through eight or nine can make a run to the Super Bowl. We know we are going to get a good test no matter who it is.”
The Chiefs will face the lowest-remaining seed in the AFC in the divisional round, which will be the No. 4 Jaguars, No. 5 Chargers, No. 6 Ravens, or No. 7 Dolphins.