The Kansas City Chiefs need to have a ‘must win’ mindset
The AFC West
The Kansas City Chiefs enter tonight’s game with the Chargers with control of the AFC West still in hand. The Oakland Raiders pulled even with the Chiefs in terms of their record on Sunday with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals. However, the Chiefs hold the tie-breaker over them because of their win in Oakland earlier this season. That wouldn’t be the case if the Chiefs lose to the Chargers on Monday.
With a Chiefs loss, the Raiders would take over sole possession atop the AFC West because they would have one less loss than K.C. Then the Raiders would play the 3-7 New York Jets next week. Assuming the Raiders could win that game they would enter the match-up with the Chiefs a full game ahead at 7-4 to the Chiefs 6-5.
If that is how things transpired, the Chiefs could beat the Raiders and would still be even with them in the win/loss column. While K.C. would own the tie-breaker, they would be in danger of losing that lead the very next week when the Chiefs travel to New England to face the Patriots while the Raiders host the Titans.
A loss to Los Angeles on Monday would also energize the Chargers and give them hope in the division. They would be 5-6 and just a game back of the Chiefs with a head-to-head win over K.C. and another game to close the season in Week 17. Simply put, a loss to the Chargers tonight puts the Chiefs in a position where they will have to fight tooth and nail for the division the rest of the season.
On the hand, if the Chiefs can find that intensity and focus and take care of business the next two games, they can put a stranglehold on the division. A win over the Chargers tonight would put Los Angeles three games behind K.C. in the division with the Chiefs holding a win over them and their remaining game against each other in Arrowhead. It would basically put the Chargers out of the running in the AFC West.
If K.C. would then follow up the Chargers win with a home win over the Raiders after the bye week (even with an Oakland win over the Jets) the Chiefs would be a full game ahead of the Raiders in the standings and having swept the head-to-head matchup. So the Raiders would have to make up two games over the final four weeks of the season in order to take the division from the Chiefs.
The bottom line is that if the Chiefs want to reestablish themselves as the clear front runner in the AFC West so that they can turn their attention to the overall standings in the AFC, they have to win these next two division games against the Chargers and Raiders. Period.
Now let’s take a second to look at where KC stands in the overall AFC picture.