Around the AFC West: KC Chiefs clinch the division (again!)
Let’s look at the AFC West now that the Chiefs clinched the division, the Chargers stay lurking, the Raiders win the craziest game and the Broncos exist.
Welcome back to another edition of Around the AFC West and frankly, this edition’s title is becoming a bit “ho-hum” don’t you think? Feels like I write this one every single year.
I’m kidding, but really, this is a week to celebrate something truly remarkable: the Chiefs, with their shaky win over the Texans, clinched the AFC West for the 7th straight year. This puts these Chiefs in elite territory with only the Patriots holding a longer streak. Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are truly great and we are lucky to have them.
But the Chiefs win was hardly the most exciting out of the AFC West, so let’s take a look at the rest of the division as they hope for wild card spots or look forward to next season.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers are playing for a wild card spot and faced probably their toughest remaining opponent on Sunday. The Tennessee Titans are still fighting for their division and lately have looked horrid having been trounced by the Jaguars last week. This matchup looked really difficult for the Chargers given their poor run defense and a mountain of a man running right up their gut in Derrick Henry.
This game was largely a defensive battle heading into the fourth quarter tied 7-7. The Chargers then jumped on top leading the Titans 14-7 when the Titans, behind the quarterback sneak of Ryan Tannehill tied up the game with just 48 seconds left in the game. This looked like it was headed to overtime, but Justin Herbert had other plans. He threw a laser to Mike Williams allowing the Chargers to get into field goal range.
In years past, we would have joked that just getting the Chargers into field goal range was enough to bring out the kicking woes of so many years, but the Chargers seem to have figured something out. With Cameron Dicker (Dicker the Kicker), the Chargers ended it on a walk-off field goal and kept their Wild Card chances high.
The Chargers are getting healthy heading towards January football and I don’t love the idea of seeing the Chargers then. Joey Bosa may be coming back, their wide receivers are looking unstoppable and Herbert looks great. That, combined with the fact that they are a division rival, and I would rather not have them come to Arrowhead. I don’t fear any teams with Mahomes at quarterback, but I am wary of divisional opponents in the playoffs. Division games are weird.
Setting aside potential playoff matchups, the Chargers look like they will have no issues securing a playoff spot and that Herbert will finally get to show his stuff in January.
Next week, the Chargers get to deal with the Indianapolis Colts who just blew the biggest lead in NFL history – how funny would it be if the Chargers lost this one? They won’t but it sure would be funny! I think the Chargers get a win for Christmas and get closer and closer to that 6 seed.