(TNS) — Andy Reid has been through this before.
Three of the Chiefs coach’s former Philadelphia Eagles teams finished with the best record in the NFC and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. He knows how to manage the off-week activities expectations ahead for a team in the Chiefs’ position.
“We’re all-in on that,” Reid said. “I don’t mind that. I always feel like there’s a bull’s-eye every week. That’s OK. We’ve earned the right to be in this position. What’s important is how you handle it.”
By beating the Oakland Raiders 35-3 on Sunday, the Chiefs finished 12-4 and became the AFC’s top seed in the NFL playoffs for the first time since 1997.
They’ll open the postseason on Jan. 12 with a 3:35 p.m. kickoff against the team with the worst remaining seed. The potential opponents are the fourth-seeded Baltimore Ravens, fifth-seeded Los Angeles Chargers and No. 6 seed Indianapolis Colts.
They’ll all be scouted, and it’s a bonus that the Chiefs are familiar with two of those three, having played the Ravens and Chargers in December.
“Luckily we just played two of the teams we could play,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said.
Mahomes said he’s confident the Chiefs can separate the sense of accomplishment of winning the AFC West for the third straight year with the urgency of the playoffs.
“Every possession counts, every play counts,” Mahomes said. “You have to find ways to win at the end.”
Which is something the Chiefs have mostly not accomplished in the postseason under Reid. The Chiefs are 1-4 in playoff games since Reid arrived in 2013. The last two losses have been particularly painful, with both coming at Arrowhead Stadium.
After 2016, the Chiefs were the No. 2 seed and drew the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round. The Steelers never reached the end zone but six field goals were enough to top the Chiefs 18-16.
The next season, the Chiefs held a 21-3 halftime lead in the wild card-round game against the Tennessee Titans. But the Chiefs were held scoreless in the second half and lost 22-21.
Mahomes was a rookie last year and didn’t play in the postseason. But remembered the lost opportunity.
“We had chances to win last year,” he said.
The playoff game next week will be Mahomes’ first, and Reid said the quarterback who surpassed 5,000 passing yards and threw 50 touchdown passes, becoming just the third man in NFL history to reach 50, will be ready.
“Every is a little faster than in the regular season,” Reid said. “But at the same time, he’ll be himself and continue to play like he has,” Reid said. “I don’t think he’ll have a problem with that. He’s wired the right way.”
How did Reid’s previous teams fare with the top seed? In 2002 and 2003, the Eagles won their division-round game and fell in the NFC title game. In 2004, the Eagles won both of their playoffs games until the Super Bowl, then lost each time to the New England Patriots.