it's official: San Diego is back in the AFC West picture. The Chargers on Monday Night Football held off the Denver Broncos, 35-14, turning the AFC West into a three-man race. Here's what we know: 6-4 Chiefs are in first place, while the Chargers and Oakland Raiders are tied for second place at 5-5. The Broncos are essentially out of it at 3-7.
The Chargers go on a midseason run it seems like every year and right now, yep, it's the midseason and, yep, the Chargers are on a run. They've won three consecutive games and have no signs of slowing down offensively. As a Chiefs fan, the Chargers are now a major concern.
The Raiders are 5-5 and who knows where they stand. They'll win three of four including a victory over the Chiefs and then they'll lay an egg and get their best player suspended against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Raiders are a threat to win the AFC West right now but their inconsistency puts them lower on my radar.
The Chiefs are 6-4 and siting in first place.They've got arguably the easiest remaining schedule and they're coming off of a good win, like the Chargers. There are reasons to think KC will keep up their run, especially if they run the table at home.
With such a tight race, 2010 schedules matter. The Raiders and Chargers both had a harder schedule when we looked at things prior to the season. The Chargers are on a first place schedule and the Raiders are on a third place schedule while KC works off their 2009 finish -- last place. Here are the remaining games for each team:
Chiefs: at Seahawks, Broncos, at Chargers, at Rams, Titans, Raiders.
Raiders: Dolphins, at Chargers, at Jaguars, Broncos, Colts, at Chiefs.
Chargers: at Colts, Raiders, Chiefs, 49ers, at Bengals, Broncos.
I see three very important AFC West games on that schedule.
Dec. 5 Raiders vs. Chargers: These teams could very well be tied in two weeks and this would be a major game. Whoever loses this game hits their sixth or seventh loss of the season with another four to go so I'd imagine the loser is nearly out of it.
Dec. 12 Chiefs vs. Chargers: San Diego has two consecutive home games against division opponents and they're big ones. This, in my mind, is shaping up to be the biggest game of the year for KC. It looks like these two are on a crash course. Whether the Chargers can beat the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday or not will determine whether the Chiefs are trying to hang with the Chargers in this game or if they're trying to put the final nail in the coffin.
Jan. 3 Raiders vs. Chiefs: The season finale at Arrowhead Stadium. This game will definitely mean something but will the Chiefs be fighting for a playoff spot, for the division or for home-field? Or for nothing? Whatever it is, this game will mean something.