The Kansas City Chiefs have left themselves little for error if they hope to land the AFC’s No. 1 seed.
For now, at least, KC is the conference’s No. 4 seed following Sunday night’s 27-19 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Miami (9-3), Baltimore (9-3) and Jacksonville (8-3) aren’t far ahead, but they’re outpacing KC (8-4) for now.
And while the Chiefs’ schedule isn’t crazy-difficult from this point on, they might need to run the table if they hope to get back in front of the race for home-field advantage and a first-round bye.
This loss will sting. KC’s offense had a chance, down five, to rally in the fourth quarter, but some miscommunication between quarterback Patrick Mahomes and receiver Skyy Moore on a fade route led to an overthrow and Keisean Nixon’s interception with 5:14 left.
The Packers offense nearly ran out the clock from there, adding a field goal before the Chiefs received one more possession with 1:09 left.
Mahomes nearly drove the Chiefs all the way down the field, but the Packers appeared to get away with a pass-interference call against Marquez Valdes-Scantling that would’ve given KC the ball at the Green Bay 5.
Without that, Mahomes had one last chance at a Hail Mary with 5 seconds remaining from the Packers’ 33, as a jump-ball to Travis Kelce was deflected and went incomplete to end it.
KC fell behind early in a super-low-possession first half.
The Chiefs were impacted by multiple injuries, including to linebacker Drue Tranquill, who went down on the first possession after getting hit in the head. He was later diagnosed with a concussion and didn’t return.
With Nick Bolton (wrist) already out, KC was down to its third-string middle linebacker in Jack Cochrane, a second-year undrafted player who’d only been in for 35 defensive snaps all season.
The Packers’ Jordan Love took advantage of the Chiefs’ misfortune. He orchestrated a pair of clock-eating, 75-yard touchdown drives, helping the Packers to a 14-6 halftime lead in an opening half where Green Bay had the ball three times and KC only had two non-kneel-down possessions.
Love was plenty efficient early, completing 13 of 16 passes before the break for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chiefs offense with Mahomes, meanwhile, had some success between the 20s before stalling twice in the red zone. Each of KC’s first two drives ended with third-down sacks by Green Bay before Harrison Butker knocked through short field-goal attempts.
Later, in the third quarter, Chiefs safety Bryan Cook suffered a left ankle injury that was so gruesome that NBC’s broadcast declined to show a replay. Cook, who was in tears as he was carted off the field, was later ruled out of the game.
Isiah Pacheco rushed 18 times for 110 yards with a touchdown for the Chiefs. He later was ejected after throwing a punch during an on-field fight late in the fourth quarter.
Love, meanwhile, finished 25 for 36 for 267 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Chiefs will play at home against the Buffalo Bills at 3:25 p.m. Central Time on Sunday, Dec. 10.