Chiefs not out of AFC West race


When the Kansas City Chiefs were 1-5, it appeared the only reason to watch them was to root for another loss and a higher draft pick. It was ugly, and it was sad.

Fast forward one month, and the Chiefs are now giving an entirely different reason to watch them. At 4-5, Kansas City is not only in the midst of the wild card race but soon could be pushing the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. It sounds insane, but at three games back, the Chiefs find themselves in decent position.

Kansas City has the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL. While it is not likely, the Chiefs might run the table. There is not a game left which they will be the underdogs. Meanwhile, Denver is folding like a cheap suit in the rain.

It seems many Broncos fans are happy that Brock Osweiler is starting on Sunday at Solider Field against the Chicago Bears, and that is understandable. Peyton Manning has been terrible this season, throwing nine touchdowns against 17 interceptions. Still, Osweiler might be a lateral move, or even a downgrade.

People tend to believe that what they have not seen is better than what they have. It is rarely the case. Osweiler was a second-round draft pick made four years ago, and this is his first start. Beyond being rusty as all hell, he was not a great prospect when he got drafted. He lacked consistency at Arizona State, along with a mediocre arm and middling accuracy.

If Manning is out for weeks and Osweiler plays like Jimmy Clausen, the Broncos could be in absolute freefall. In fact, if Denver loses this week, its next game is a Sunday Night Football matchup against the New England Patriots. The Broncos will be 7-4, and if the Chiefs beat the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, they will be one game back before we even hit December.

Look, would I bet on Kansas City overtaking Denver? No, but that is more about my own fears of the Chiefs than it is a vote of confidence for the Broncos. I don’t think Denver wins more than 10 games regardless of the quarterback, and if that is the case, Kansas City has a legitimate shot.

If the Chiefs somehow win the division, it would be the most un-Chiefs thing in the history of the franchise. While it remains a longshot, the gap can close once more this Sunday. Hold on.