Tyreek Hill Kansas City Chiefs
Tyreek Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs. Getty Images

The New England Patriots are heavy favorites to reach Super Bowl LI, but their path through the AFC playoffs might not be as easy as some expect. Waiting for them in the conference championship game could be a matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are the AFC’s No. 2 seed.

Clinching the AFC West title in Week 17, the Chiefs earned a first-round bye. With four AFC teams in action on Wild-Card Weekend, three could potentially visit Kansas City in the second round.

Only the Miami Dolphins have no chance of facing the Chiefs in the divisional playoffs. A win for the Dolphins against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday would guarantee them a matchup with the Patriots next week.

A win for Pittsburgh would send them to Kansas City in the second round, and that appears to be the most likely result. The Steelers are 10-point favorites over the Dolphins, who will probably start Matt Moore at quarterback for a fourth consecutive game.

Kansas City would be a heavy favorite over any other possible opponent, though that won’t be the case if the Steelers play at Arrowhead Stadium. Pittsburgh was dominant when they hosted the Chiefs in Week 4, winning 43-14. The Steelers enter the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak.

If the Steelers lose, Kansas City will host the winner of Saturday’s contest between the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans. The Raiders defeated the Texans earlier in the year, but Oakland will be without starting quarterback Derek Carr. Oakland is a road underdog, despite finishing the regular season with three more wins than Houston.

Kansas City has already faced all three of their potential opponents at least once this season. The Raiders went 12-3 with Carr as their starting quarterback, but two of those losses came against the Chiefs. The Texans defeated the Chiefs by a touchdown in Week 2, though that game was played in Houston as the now-injured J.J. Watt recorded 1.5 sacks.

This is the third time in four years that the Chiefs are in the postseason. Kansas City was defeated by seven points at New England in the second round last year, and they haven’t hosted a playoff game since 2011 when they lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Wild-Card Weekend.