With their win Thursday Night, the San Diego Chargers accomplished three things. First they defeated the Denver Broncos on the road. Secondly, they became a factor for the final wild card spot. But lastly, with a win Sunday against the Raiders, the Chiefs can regain a share of first place in the AFC West.
There was no shock by this writer the San Diego Chargers upset the Denver Broncos on the road. With the victory, the third place AFC West team moves to 7-7 and has ten days to prepare for the Oakland Raiders at home.
Ironically the Chiefs travel to Oakland this Sunday afternoon to play the hapless Raiders. With the Broncos loss to San Diego, means a Chiefs victory against Oakland would find Kansas City tied for first place with Denver.
Now before we get too giddy about the Chiefs getting a first round bye or even better home field advantage in the playoffs, that scenario only brings jot to Chiefs fans, if the Broncos stumble in one of their two remaining regular season games.
Next weekend Denver will face the turbulent Houston Texans who just fired their head coach a week ago. After that, they face the Raiders in Oakland. Kansas City faces the Indianapolis Colts a week from Sunday but ends the season at San Diego.
I said in November the Chargers likely would be the team that determines the winner of the AFC West. Offensively there one of the top teams in the NFL. Defensively they leak quite a bit but showed some mental toughness against the Broncos that leads me to believe beating the Chiefs at season’s ends in San Diego is a strong possibility.
As the Chiefs hit the practice field on Friday; suddenly they have some extra incentive to whip up on the Raiders. The Chiefs, despite the fact they’ve lost three of their last four games, have found their groove offensively.
If they can make adjustments defensively, the Chiefs become the team to beat in January when the playoffs begin. Granted that’s a glass is half full statement but Kansas City is getting better in an area that was a concern months ago. But no other potential post-season team has the talent the Chiefs possess on offense, defense and special teams.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs will have Linebacker, Justin Houston, rested and healthy when the playoffs begin. With the injury to his elbow healing nicely, the fact he’s still in great shape, he’s going to be refreshed and itching to make his mark when he returns to the line-up.
For the most part, the Chiefs haven’t taken advantage of their opportunities this season, which could have created separation from Denver. Granted with a win Sunday against the Raiders they would be tied for the AFC West division lead. But the Broncos have the head to head tiebreaker over Kansas City.
Still by defeating division rival Oakland, the Chiefs put the pressure on Denver to win at Houston. That might not be so easy. I could argue, despite the long losing streak, the Texans defense is far better than the Chargers.
If the Chiefs take care of business against the Colts at home and the Broncos continue to play perplexing defense and lose to the Texans, it’s possible the season finale at San Diego, could mean the Chiefs have an opportunity to win the AFC West and get a two week rest before the playoffs begin.
The Chargers gave the Chiefs an incredible gift Thursday Night. What Kansas City does with that gift is up to them.
I guess on Sunday afternoon we’ll find out.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Would you be shocked if the Broncos stumble down the stretch?
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