The Kansas City Chiefs’ eight-game win streak came to an end in Week 17, and they were also de-throned as the No. 1 seed in the AFC courtesy of the Tennessee Titans. Now entering the regular-season finale as the No. 2 seed in the conference, Kansas City will face the division-rival Denver Broncos.
If Kansas City wins in Week 18 and the Titans lose, then the Chiefs can re-claim the No. 1 seed in the AFC entering the postseason. However, depending on how the games for the Chiefs, Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, and Buffalo Bills play out, the Chiefs could finish anywhere between the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds entering the playoffs.
The Titans close out their regular season facing the Houston Texans, who are coached by David Culley, a longtime staffer of Andy Reid’s. So, Big Red could use some help from a friend in a massive way in Week 18 so the defending AFC champions can start the postseason with a bye week.
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Culley’s NFL Tenure in Philly
After beginning his coaching career as a wide receivers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1994-95) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1996-98), Culley then joined the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff with the same job title in 1999, which is the same season Reid became the head coach of the Eagles, per Pro Football Reference.
Culley would remain on Reid’s staff for 13 years in Philly before jumping ship with Big Red in 2013 to join him on Kansas City’s coaching staff as an assistant head coach and wide receivers coach. After four seasons with the Chiefs, Culley then ventured on to be the quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills (2017-18), and the assistant head coach/wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens (2019-20) before becoming the head coach of Houston in 2021.
This season, the Texans have a 4-12 record, which ranks third in the AFC South. They began the season 1-8, however, they have won two out of their last three games, most recently beating the Los Angeles Chargers 41-29 in Week 16.
Depending on how the regular season plays out for Texans, they could have a draft pick anywhere between the No. 3-5 overall picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, as they currently hold the same record as the New York Jets and New York Giants.
Broncos Limping Into Week 18
The Broncos are preparing for third-year quarterback Drew Lock to be under center against Kansas City, as Teddy Bridgewater was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week after suffering a gruesome concussion on December 19 against the Cleveland Browns.
Lock has struggled this season; in five games played he has completed 63% of his passes for 625 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, per Pro Football Reference.
Due to Lock’s underwhelming efforts this season, the Broncos’ offense will likely be stagnant in Week 18, which may lead to an early, commanding lead for the Chiefs and could result in some of Kansas City’s starters being pulled before the game is over.
Despite the underwhelming season Denver has had, and the fact that Kansas City is 12-0 against the Broncos over their last 12 matchups, quarterback Patrick Mahomes thinks the Chiefs will be dialed in for the regular-season finale.
“Yeah, I think guys are ready to go. We understand that we can still go out there and do whatever we want to do, it’s just going to take us being better and better each and every week,” Mahomes said during his press conference on Tuesday, January 4. “We know it’s still going to be a tough game this week in the Broncos, playing in Denver. It’s always a tough game so we’re just going to focus on trying to win this week, and we’ll let the playoffs handle itself.”
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