KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The way the AFC playoff picture is shaping up, it seems likely that the Chiefs will wind up the No. 5 seed, meaning they will travel in the first round to play at the No. 4 seed.
And right now, that No. 4 seed projects to be Indianapolis, the opponent this week for the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
But as tempting as it might be to hold back from the playbook or game plan this week to save something special for the return matchup in the playoffs, Chiefs coach Andy Reid won’t be doing that.
“I don’t think you do,” Reid said Monday. “We’re far enough in the year where you have enough in the playbook on both sides of the ball and in special teams to play it normal. I don’t think there’s any reason to (hold back), plus the season is still alive.
“You give it your best shot. It’s what I told you when we played Denver. We played them, gave it our best shot. Then you play them again (in two weeks) and you give your best shot again. That’s how we approach it.”
It might help that there’s still at least some doubt where the Chiefs end up in the seeding. They are tied with Denver atop the AFC West but would lose out on the tie-breaker.
Still, it has been a crazy NFL season and there’s still a possibility that Denver could get upset by Houston or Oakland, and the Chiefs could win two more. That would give the Chiefs the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout.
That kind of incentive should keep the Chiefs motivated.
“I guess it does,” Reid said. “(But) this team is wired a little different. I never sensed at any time or heard them talk about, ‘Hey, New England won or lost’ or ‘Miami won.’ I haven’t heard any of that going on.
“I think they’re going to finish out strong no matter what (the standings are). As a coach, you tell them to ‘Go get ’em’ and they do that. They’re wired that way.”
But the coaches, now that a playoff spot is locked up, may soon start to consider resting some of the Chiefs’ stars, namely Jamaal Charles, who has been the workhorse all year.
Charles has battled minor injuries all season but finally seems to be over the painful blisters that slowed him a bit earlier.
“We got him to wear a couple of pairs of socks to finally heal up,” Reid said, smiling. “He takes great care of himself. He’s got a routine he goes through every day. As you know, that’s a demanding position.”
Resting Charles or anyone else won’t be an option this week, though.
“We’re comfortable with the way guys are healing up,” Reid said. “We’re not forcing anyone into a game that isn’t ready.
“So if a guy can play, physically, he’ll play. We haven’t put guys in a position to reinjure themselves. That’s not how we roll.
“The rest of the season is just as important to us as the beginning of the season was. We’re not (holding) anything back here.”
The Chiefs certainly didn’t hold back in Sunday’s 56-31 thrashing of Oakland, though there was a moment of concern after the Raiders pulled within 35-31.
That’s when Reid said he was most proud of his team.
“You could say that the momentum definitely switched, but I don’t feel like we felt that way on the sideline,” Reid said. “Our guys just kind of dug in and said, ‘Hey, we got to recapture this and finish it the right way.’
“It’s just about refocus. You see this in baseball and the NBA, and it’s the one thing that kind of carries throughout these sports — it’s that a team gets a big lead and there’s always one push back. And then if you can kind of shut that push down, you got it.
“I thought Oakland did a heckuva job and they made that push, and then we put the clamp down. That’s important.”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.