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Last year’s victory over Denver was critical in Kansas City’s AFC West title run.

The 10-6 win at Arrowhead ended Josh McDaniels’ coaching tenure in Denver and helped the Chiefs hold strong atop the AFC West despite San Diego’s late push for the division. It was the Chiefs third win in a row after being blown out in Denver, and falling to 5-4, just three weeks prior.

A victory against Denver this weekend could end up being another significant moment for the Chiefs.

C Rushing offense The Chiefs might be flying high again if they still had Jamaal Charles. But they don’t, and this thing is teetering without him. Jackie Battle’s ability to step in as the featured back was a nice development for a while, but his effectiveness has decreased with each game.

D+ Passing offense Other than big games against Minnesota and Indianapolis, it has been ugly at times. In his last three games, Matt Cassel is barely completing 50 percent of his passes, with four interceptions and just one touchdown. We also can’t forget his costly pick in the loss at San Diego.

“It’s been a different set of encyclopedias from the start, and everybody has had the same challenges with the lack of offseason and some of those things,” Haley said. “Everybody’s had to deal with those challenges, but I think it has led to a unique year thus far. I said in training camp that I thought it would be a wild ride, and it hasn’t disappointed. Just a lot of different variables and we’ve got a team that is still developing and still getting better and still a work in progress.

“Consistency is a key to being a good team and a great team. Very rarely do you see a team that’s inconsistent be one of the last teams standing.”

The timing of Jones’ slow season hasn’t helped the Chiefs. Charles, of course, tore a knee ligament in the second week of the regular season, and Dexter McCluster has been ineffective as a rusher. A backfield once packed with talent has suffered from bad luck, time and circumstance; the team has three rushing touchdowns in eight games, including one each from cornerback Javier Arenas and fullback Le’Ron McClain.

Jones, though, sees the hope, not the disappointment. The running backs who hang around always seem to.

“Obviously we’re doing some good things,” he said. “For me, I just try to take advantage of opportunities when they come and be a leader on the team and make sure I’m doing the right things and showing the other guys how to do the right things.”

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