The Denver Broncos will play a late afternoon game on New Year's Day against the Kansas City Chiefs because the Chiefs couldn't get things done against the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. Had the Chiefs won that game, this Sunday's game between Denver and Kansas City would have been a winner take-all for the AFC West, a sure-fire selection for NBC's Sunday Night Football, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
However, the Raiders won in overtime and created a cascading effect. The Chiefs were eliminated from the playoffs while the Raiders stayed in it. The Chargers had also lost, which meant that the division came down to the Broncos and the Raiders.
However, the Broncos have three ways to make it into the playoffs as the AFC West champions. The only way they are out is if they lose and the Raiders win. The NFL would have a dud on its broadcast if the Raiders lose earlier in the day. As a result, King points out, NBC wouldn't want that. Instead, they took the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants because that is a win-and-in for either team while the rest of the division is already eliminated.