NFL Playoff Picture: Chiefs, Raiders meet in key AFC matchup on Sunday Night Football


With the NFL season at its halfway point, the playoff picture is beginning to take shape. On Sunday, the Chiefs and Raiders will meet in Las Vegas on Sunday Night Football for a matchup that will have major implications in the division and the conference. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America. The match-up will also be available via live stream on Peacock.

Let’s look at where teams stand in the postseason race.

How close is the playoff race in the AFC West?

The AFC becomes increasingly competitive each week as 11 of its teams have five or more wins. The AFC West specifically is a tight race through nine weeks.

The Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders are tied for the division lead with a 5-3 record. The Denver Broncos (5-4) and Chiefs (5-4) are one game behind in the division. The Chargers, led by QB Justin Herbert, look poised to make a playoff push despite a struggling defense while the Raiders and Broncos have both shown flashes of promise.

The AFC West is up for grabs due to the Chiefs’ offensive and defensive woes this season.

For the past six seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs have dominated not only their conference, but the division. The Chiefs have advanced to the playoffs in six straight seasons and have won five consecutive division titles.

But issues on both sides of the ball have limited Kansas City’s success in 2021. The Chiefs have scored just 36 points in its past three games and former-MVP Patrick Mahomes has not looked like himself. Over the past five weeks, he is ranked 28th in quarterback rating, 29th in completion percentage and 31st in yards per attempt.

The Chiefs also lead the league with 19 turnovers and Mahomes himself has fumbled in four consecutive games after not fumbling once during the first quarter of the season. The defense has performed better recently, allowing just 16 points per game over the last four games. But the unit’s slow start to the season still has the defense ranked in the bottom 10 of the league in yards allowed per game and total points allowed.

Why is the Sunday Night Football game between the Chiefs and Raiders so important?

Because the AFC West is wide open, the Chiefs and Raiders are both fighting for playoff position in this week’s Sunday Night Football matchup.

When the two teams met last season, the Raiders handed the Chiefs their first loss of the season in Week 5, winning 40-32. The loss was just one of two dropped games by the Chiefs in all of last season. In the second meeting between the two teams, the Chiefs rebounded to win, 35-31 on Sunday Night Football. This season, the Chiefs are 0-2 in Sunday Night Football matchups.

Sunday night’s contest is the first between the two division foes this season. The second game is scheduled for Week 14.

RELATED: How to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs Las Vegas Raiders – Live stream, TV info, kickoff time for Sunday

Who else is competitive in the AFC?

The battle for a playoff spot extends beyond the AFC West into the AFC North. Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens lead the division with a 6-3 record despite losing a shocker to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football to kick off Week 10. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals each have five wins and are within sight of first place in the division.

Joe Burrow and the Bengals looked the team to beat after Cincinnati put together a statement win against the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 7. But the Bengals lost their second-straight contest last week, falling to Cleveland, 41-16.

Meanwhile the Tennessee Titans, who have strong control over the AFC South with a 7-2 record, have the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff race entering Week 10 of the season. Even without star running back Derrick Henry, the Titans surged to a 28-16 defeat of the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football.

Not far behind the Titans are the Buffalo Bills. The Buffalo Bills entered Week 9 as the No. 2 seed in the AFC, but lost a shocker to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 9-6. The Bills looked like the favorite to win the AFC when they defeated the Chiefs in Week 5 to improve to 4-1. But they have since dropped two of their last three contests.

During that time, the New England Patriots have found some momentum. Bill Belichick’s team has won its last three games and boasts a 4-1 record in conference matchups following a statement win over the Chargers in Week 8.

RELATED: Patrick Mahomes – I’m going to continue to take shots downfield

Current AFC Standings

Tennessee Titans (7-2)

Baltimore Ravens (6-3)

Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)

Buffalo Bills (5-3)

Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)

New England Patriots (5-4)

Kansas City Chiefs (5-4)

Cleveland Browns (5-4)

Cincinnati Bengals (5-4)

Denver Broncos (5-4)

Where do things stand in the NFC?

The NFC is more top-heavy in comparison to the AFC, but the race is just as competitive.

The Arizona Cardinals improved to 8-1 and moved back into the No. 1 spot in the conference following a win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 9 despite having to start backup quarterback Colt McCoy in place of Kyler Murray and missing DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt. Their only loss this season came against the Green Bay Packers in Week 8.

The remaining top seeds in contention are as follows: Packers (7-2), Buccaneers (6-2), Cowboys (6-2) and Rams (7-2).  The Packers dropped into the No. 2 position following a loss to the Chiefs in Week 9 – a game in which first-round pick Jordan Love made his first career start under center.

The Cowboys dropped in the standings following a 30-16 loss to the Denver Broncos last week, snapping a six-game winning streak.

Sean McVay and the Rams dropped to the No. 5 seed when they fell to the Titans, 28-16, at SoFi Stadium in Week 9. Before this game, the Rams had won four straight contests, albeit all against teams with losing records.

In the remaining weeks, all five of the top teams in the NFC are set to jockey back and forth for the top spot in the conference.

Current NFC Standings

Arizona Cardinals (8-1)

Green Bay Packers (7-2)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

Dallas Cowboys (6-2)

Los Angeles Rams (7-2)

New Orleans Saints (5-3)

Atlanta Falcons (4-4)

Carolina Panthers (4-5)

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NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

13. Dak Prescott (DAL)

12. Kirk Cousins (MIN)

11. Daniel Jones (NYG)

10. Matthew Stafford (LAR)

9. Deshaun Watson (CLE)

8. Aaron Rodgers (NYJ)

7. Jalen Hurts (PHI)

6. Trevor Lawrence (JAX)

5. Lamar Jackson (BAL)

4. Justin Herbert (LAC)

3. Josh Allen (BUF)

2. Joe Burrow (CLE)

1. Patrick Mahomes (KC)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!